Ecology: Zonal Eco-Fair Communique

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3rd STAKEHOLDERS FORUM/ZONAL ECO-FAIR HELD AT REVERTON HOTEL, LOKOJA, KOGI STATE FROM
14TH TO 15TH AUGUST, 2014

COMMUNIQUÉ

1.0 PREAMBLE

A two-day Stakeholders Forum/Zonal Eco-fair for the 19 Northern States was organized by Ecological Fund Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.  The Forum took place at the Reverton Hotel, Lokoja, Kogi State and was attended by participants drawn from Government Agencies at both Federal, State and Local Governments levels. Also in attendance were the representative of the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris I. Wada, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation represented by the Permanent Secretary, EFO, the Honourable Minister of Environment, State Legislators, Honourable Commissioners, Federal and State Permanent Secretaries and Directors of Environment matters, the Academia and Research Institutes, Traditional Rulers, Private Sector, students, Non Government Organizations and the Media, as well as Contractors and Consultants handling EFO funded projects in the region.

The theme of the Forum was “Effective Partnership Towards Sustainable Ecological Projects Management.”  The  objective of the Forum was to facilitate interactions among various stakeholders on the management of ecological issues peculiar to the Northern States of the Nigeria. It was also aimed at sharing experiences on best practices including benchmarking of ecological projects.
Opening Ceremony

The Forum was declared open by the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Captain Idris Wada, represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Yomi Awoniyi.  In his opening remark, the Governor appreciated the imperative of the forum which was required to find solution to the myriads of environmental challenges confronting Northern Nigeria in general and Kogi state in particular.

The Hon. Minister of Environment presented the welcome address. This was followed by goodwill messages from the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and the Chairman, Kogi State House Committee on Environment. The Permanent Secretary, Ecological Fund Office, gave the vote of thanks.

A total number of 583 participants took part in the 3rd Northern Stakeholders’ Forum/Zonal Eco-Fair held in Lokoja, Kogi State.  A gala nite was held at the Glass Hall, Government House, Kogi State in honour of the participants.
Plenary Session:

The forum had two plenary sessions during which papers were presented and interactive discussion held on the following themes:
?“Alternative Source of Energy as  Panacea for Desert Encroachment and Deforestation” by Dr. Lawal Yakubu.

?“Sustainable Environmental Management in the Northern States: Issues and Challenges” by Prof. H. K. Ayuba.

?“Checkmating Desertification and Deforestation: The Role of Community and Civil Society Organisation” by Ibironke Olubamise.

?“Combating Land Degradation and Desertification for Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Community-based Development in Northern States” by Prof. Emmanuel Oladapo.

?“Integrating Ecological Awareness and Stakeholders Participation in Project Management” by Associate Prof. Ibrahim Baba-Yakubu.

2.0 OBSERVATIONS, RECOMMENDATIONS AND FOLLOW-UP ACTIONS

From the presentations at the forum, the following observations, recommendations and follow-up actions were made:
2.1 Observations

The Workshop observed that:
(a)The problem of ecological degradation in Northern Nigeria continues to impact negatively on socio- economic development of the region.

(b)The Forum recognizes the current efforts of the Federal Government especially the Great Green Wall Project and other initiatives in tackling the menace of ecological degradation in Northern Nigeria.
(c)There is limited awareness on the part of many stakeholders on their roles in addressing the complex and multidimensional nature of ecological problems in Northern Nigeria.

(d)Funding continues to be a major constraint to long term sustainable management of ecological problems in Northern Nigeria.

(e)Current sectoral and short term approaches towards reversing the ecological problems are limiting the integrative approach required to appropriately address the challenge.

(f)Relevant laws and regulations are not properly enforced.

(g)Climate Change is aggravating the situation particularly the natural resource conflict.

(h)There is limited Community Ownership in ecological projects

2.2 Recommendations and Follow-Up Actions

(a)An awareness strategy should be developed and implemented in all ecological projects being supported by States and Federal Governments.

(b)The implementation of the Great Green Wall project should be continuously reviewed to provide alternative livelihood for youths, women and other vulnerable groups.

(c)Ecological projects should be continuously and sufficiently funded on a long term basis to be able to reverse the degree of degradation in the region including institutional based capacity building and strengthening.
(d)Inter-sectoral and long term approaches should be considered in the design and implementation of the ecological projects in the region.

(e)Relevant laws and regulations should be properly harmonized and enforced.

(f)Ecological Fund Office (EFO) should continue to support Early Warning Systems (EMS) for appropriate monitoring and implementation of ecological projects.

(g)Stakeholders participation should be ensured from the  design through to the implementation of ecological project in the region.

(h)The concept of gene bank of indigenous plants should be developed in the afforestation programmes.

(i)An inter-state technical Committee on ecological problems should be formed and used for effective monitoring, reporting and synergy in the Federal and States.

(j)EFO should continue to ensure effective monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of all projects funded with ecological fund.

(k)The role of research and NGOs/CSOs in the implementation of ecological projects should be enhanced

(l)Partnership with Private Sector for environmental sustainability of the region should be encouraged.

Held on the day of 15th August, year 2014.


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