UNDP implements 170 environmental projects in communities

By Vivian Emoni

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has supported 29 states in carrying out environmental projects across the country, through the Global Environmental Facilities and Small Grants Program (GEF-SGP).

The GEF-SGP National Coordinator, Mrs. Ibironke Olubamise, made this known in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.

Olubamise said the organization has supported more than 170 projects in about 200 communities in recipient states.

She said environmental challenges addressed by the organization include climate change, land degradation, chemicals and international waters.

“As a strong development partner, from 2009 to date, the GEF/SGP implemented by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has continued to support community environmental initiatives.

“Support is mainly focused on remote communities through civil society organizations. UNDP GEF/SGP is the only development support agency that has reached the most remote communities in Nigeria.

“The organization has supported over 170 community projects in over 200 communities in 29 states and tackles the different focus areas of biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, chemicals and international waters “, she said.

The national coordinator said that the organization has also intervened in the protection and restoration of more than 800,000 to one million hectares of land respectively, with more than 800,000 direct beneficiaries.

She noted that the GEF/SGP had had an impact on some specific projects, including the development of a community seed bank to conserve native plant species.

She said the organization has trained more than 2,000 teachers and students as climate change champions in 70 FCT public schools.

Olubamise said the organization also protects some scattered endangered monkeys in Akwa Ibom and supports more than 25 community forest management projects in Cross River.

According to her, the organization promotes leaves used in food packaging, restores biodiversity and reduces plastic pollution in Osun, and advocates for Africa’s first river to be granted rights status in the Delta.

“Others are the establishment of orchards; improve traditional knowledge of the species; nurseries and tree planting, training of more than 20 community forest scouts for forest management among others,” he said.

The national coordinator added that most of the environmental initiatives have attracted national and international attention, adding that more than 17 awards have been registered so far.

She said one of the prizes was the “UNDP Equator Prize,” which honored local and indigenous groups that were leading the way towards sustainable development.

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