The World Bank has approved a $700 million credit from the International Development Association for the Nigeria Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) Project. The World Bank has approved a $700 Million credit from the International Development Association for the Nigeria Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) Project.
The project will increase the implementation of sustainable landscape management practices in northern Nigeria and strengthen the country’s long-term enabling environment for integrated climate-resilient landscape management, according to the latest statement from the World Bank.
“With communities and households that are most dependent on natural resources for their survival and vulnerable to desertification, this intervention will improve multi-sectoral watershed planning and investments to help about 3.4 million direct beneficiaries adapt to evolving dryland conditions,” says Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria.
The ACReSAL Project is a six-year strategic project prioritising actions within four components: Dryland Management, Community Climate Resilience, Institutional Strengthening and Project Management, and Contingent Emergency Response. It is expected to improve the capacity of the country’s adaptation to a changing climate, largely through enhancing multi-sectoral convergence (across the environment, agriculture, and water) and technology modernization, including improved use of data, analytics, and connectivity.
Chaudhuri noted Nigeria is faced with water scarcity and droughts which occur every five years, on average, with the potential to increase in frequency due to climate change. He added, “This scenario not only threatens food security, livelihoods, and productivity but also exacerbates fragility and increases the risk of violence.”
Joy Iganya Agene, Task Team Leader, ACReSAL, World Bank, said the project will specifically target the inclusion of vulnerable and marginalized groups, including women, youth, the elderly, persons with disabilities, internally displaced people, and ethnic and religious minorities using an integrated watershed approach across sectors and levels of governance.
“This will help reduce the vulnerability of millions of the extreme poor in northern Nigeria, strengthening their own role in the management of their natural resources while also addressing land degradation, strengthening climate resilience, and lessening livelihood vulnerability in dry, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid regions in the northern states,” Agene explained.
The World Bank’s report also explained how the productivity of major crops in Nigeria has been steadily declining over the past two decades, in part due to climate change, forcing an expansion of the area under agriculture and increased imports to meet the food needs of Nigeria’s growing population. “Persistent water shortages, especially in the extreme north, continue to exacerbate land degradation, desertification, and habitat loss,” the World Bank said.
The report explained how better environmental and water resources management and resilience against disaster and climate risks (largely water-related) are needed to sustain economic growth and protect the most vulnerable. The World Bank admitted that the federal government has established several initiatives in the agriculture sector to combat desertification including afforestation and reforestation programs, dissemination of proven agricultural technologies and sustainable agricultural practices, and promotion of efficient energy sources.