By Asmau Ahmad
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has supported 29 states in tackling environmental projects across the country, through the Global Environmental Facilities and Small Grants Programme (GEF-SGP).
The GEF-SGP National Coordinator, Mrs Ibironke Olubamise, who made this known in an interview with newsmen in Abuja, said that the organisation supported over 170 projects in about 200 communities in the 29 states.
She said that the environmental challenges addressed by the organisation include climate change, land degradation, chemicals and international waters.
“As a strong development partner, from 2009 till date, the GEF/SGP implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has continued to support community environmental initiatives.
“The support is focused mainly in remote communities through Civil Society Organisations. The UNDP GEF/SGP is the only development support agency that has reached more remote communities in Nigeria.
“The organisation has supported over 170 community projects in over 200 communities in 29 states and tackles the different focal areas of biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, chemicals and international waters,” she said.
The national coordinator said that the organisation had also intervened on protection and restoration of over 800,000 to one million hectares of land respectively, with over 800,000 direct beneficiaries.
She noted that the GEF/SGP had impacted on some specific projects which include development of community seed bank to conserve indigenous plants species.
She said that the organisation has trained over 2,000 teachers and students as climate change champions in 70 government schools in the FCT.
Olubamise said that the organisation also protected some endangered monkey scattered in Akwa Ibom and supported over 25 community forest management projects in Cross River.
According to her, the organisation promotes leaf used in the wrapping of food, restore biodiversity and reduce plastic pollution in Osun as well as advocates for the first river in Africa to achieve a rights status in Delta.
“Others are establishment of orchards; enhancing traditional knowledge of species; nurseries and tree planting, training of over 20 community forest scouts for forest management among others,” he said.
The national coordinator added that most of the environmental initiatives had attracted national and international attention, adding that over 17 awards have been recorded so far.
She said that one of the awards was the “UNDP equator award,” which honoured local and indigenous groups that were charting a path toward sustainable development.