By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The GEF Small Grants Programme implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has since 2009 supported over 170 community projects in over 200 communities in 27 states.
The National Coordinator of the Programme, Ibironke Olubamise, disclosed this in her goodwill message at just concluded14th National Council on Environment in Abuja.
She said the the support addressed the different focal areas of biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, chemicals and international waters.
She said “As a strong development partner, the GEF Small Grants Programme implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), since 2009, has continued to support community environmental initiatives especially in remote communities through Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
“To date, the UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme is the only development support agency which has reached more remote communities in Nigeria. The UNDP GEF SGP has supported over 170 community projects in over 200 communities in 27 states addressing the different focal areas of biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, chemicals and international waters.
“Some of our national interventions and impacts include: the protection and restoration of over 800,000 and 10,000 hectares of land respectively; over 800,000 direct beneficiaries; implementation of the national Community Based REDD+; capacity building of over 120 CSOs for project design, proposal writing, implementation resource mobilisation, knowledge management amongst others.
“Some of our specific project impacts include development of community seedbank to conserve indigenous plants species and training of over 1,300 teachers and students as Climate Change Champions in over 60 state schools in FCT; protection of endangered Sclater monkey in Akwa Ibom State; support of over 25 community forest management projects in Cross River State.
Others are the promotion of leaf to wrap food to restore biodiversity and reduce plastic pollution in Osun state; advocacy for the first river in Africa to achieve a rights status in Delta state; establishment of orchards; innovative extraction of bio-gel from moringa olifera to address land degradation and food security in Oyo state; promotion of adoption of Liquefied Natural Gas and used oil recycling in Lagos state; enhancing traditional knowledge of species; nurseries & tree planting; fabrication of efficient cook stoves to reduce felling of trees for firewood; training of Community Forest Scouts for forest management; and supporting alternative livelihood activities amongst others.
“Many of these community environmental initiatives have attracted international attention and over 17 awards have been recorded so far. Amongst them is UNDP Equator award, which honors local and indigenous groups that are charting a path towards sustainable development.
She informed the Council of the new Country Programme Strategy (CPS) during the Operational Phase 7 (OP7) of the GEF.
“Having secured grant fund of about $2 million to address some specific areas including Community-based conservation of threatened ecosystems and species; Sustainable agriculture and fisheries, and food security; Low-carbon energy access co-benefits; Local to global coalitions for chemicals and waste management; Catalyzing sustainable urban solutions; Community-based Adaptation; and CSO-Government-Private Sector Policy and Planning Dialogue Platforms.
“The UNDP GEF SGP acknowledges the importance of grassroots solutions to the global environment and climate crisis and pledges continuous support to the federal government to address environmental challenges as we continue to work with Civil Society Organisations.”