The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has called for improved partnership and collaboration among stakeholders to restore and preserve forest reserves in the state, so as to reverse land degradation and desertification.
The governor gave the charge in commemoration of the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, marked yearly on June 17, by the United Nations and its sister organs.
Obaseki, who identified human activities and climatic variations as the lead cause of land degradation, urged for the support of all stakeholders to tackle the trend and prevent future exposure to new zoonotic infectious diseases like COVID-19.
“We all need to collaborate and work together to protect our lands and make it safe for the existence of mankind. We must become even more innovative and take decisive actions to reverse land degradation, bearing in mind that healthy land is the basis for our own health and survival,” he charged.
According to the governor, “an improved collaboration, as well as a carefully planned and sustained investment in land restoration will ensure food security, tackle poverty and reduce the risks of unwanted migration and insecurity.”
He noted that, as part of the forestation plan to ensure land restoration, the government has partnered with investors and forestation experts to execute an elaborate programme to break the record in tree planting.
The governor further reassured that his administration has put various measures in place to restore the ecosystem through various ongoing reforms and programmes.
According to the UN, “Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. It occurs because dryland ecosystems, which cover over one third of the world’s land area, are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and inappropriate land use. Poverty, political instability, deforestation, overgrazing and bad irrigation practices can all undermine the productivity of the land.
“The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed every year to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. The day is a unique moment to remind everyone that land degradation neutrality is achievable through problem-solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels.”