The Federal Government in partnership with International Development Association (IDA), Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) is to begin implementation of the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) aimed at reducing vulnerability to savaging gully erosion in seven states in Nigeria.
Briefing journalists Monday in Abuja, the National Coordinator, Chikelu Nwune, said that the project would be financed through an eight-year Strategic Investment Loan (SIL) of $508.59 million, consisting of a $500 million IDA concessional loan blended with GEF and SCCF grants totaling $8,59 million.
According to Nwune, under phase 1 of the project, 21 sites have been declared bankable by the World Bank and would cost about N19 billion while more states would be incorporated.
He explained that the Federal Government would contribute about $150 million, stressing that while gully erosion is accelerating in the southeast, other forms of land degradation is also on the increase in the north.
Nwune said the amount comprises of a federal cash contribution of $70 million and in-kind contribution of $24 million for staff, office costs and payment of compensation for resettled people, and an in-kind contribution by each state of approximately $8 million (for each of the seven states totaling $56 million) for staff and office costs and pre-feasibility designs of intervention sites. States contributions to the project financing are agreed criterion for project participation.
The coordinator listed the participating states to include Abia, Anambra, Cross River, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu and Imo.
He pointed out that NEWMAP would primarily support state-led interventions to prevent and reverse land degredation that will be informed by lessons learned on the interlinked challenges of poverty, ecosystem services, climate change, disaster risk management, biodiversity, institutional performance and governance.
According to him, the sustainability of these investments would be reinforced by strengthening institutions and information services across sector and states, including support to improve governance, regulatory compliance, environmental monitoring, impact evaluation, watershed and land use planning.
He observed that the root causes of gully erosion are complex as soils in southern Nigeria are highly susceptible to water erosion.
Nwune noted that even though causes of gully formation differ by site, they are largely human as they can be caused by destructive and unsustainable land use practices, poor solid waste management in urban and pre-urban areas and improper road design and construction.
He added that the project is targeted towards moving about 2.2 million people out of poverty and will gradually reach 2.6 million by the closing of the project in 2020 and about 4.2 million by 2042.
This is a Special Intervention initiative aimed at addressing the problem of environmental degradation in some states in the South East and South South part of the country.