By Tosin Kolade
The German Government has pledged 20 million euros for the management of transboundary water resources and adaptation to climate change in the Niger Basin member countries for 2024.
The nine Niger Basin Authority (NBA) countries are: Niger, Benin, Chad, Guinea, Mali, Cameroon, Cote D’ivoire, Burkina Faso and Nigeria.
The German Ambassador to Nigeria, Annette Guenther, communicated this at the opening of the NBA Regional Steering Committee of Projects and Programmes on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to her, Germany has been supporting NBA member countries since 2017 through its German Development Cooperation and agencies such as GIZ, committed to regional and international cooperation.
Guenther, represented by Matthias Dold, said managing the basins’ shared resources was not an easy task, saying it required good organisation and monitoring.
She said regional cooperation was needed for adaptation mechanisms to climate change, especially in Water-Energy-Food Security nexus in the region, saying financial interventions was over 4 million euros.
“Since 2017, the German government has supported the NBA with 4 million euros and on top of that, a new project is about to start, beginning in 2024; and this project will be funded with 20 million euros for better coordination within member countries.
“This is to make sure that the water is used properly and adaptation to climate change is done in a good way so that people can make best use of the water,’’ she said.
On his part, the Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev, said achievements of projects and programmes in the Niger Basin were in line with the strategy to combat poverty and food insecurity.
According to him, the countries sharing the Niger Basin, make enormous investment efforts to preserve natural resources and promote economic and social development.
Utsev noted that NBA’s experience was the perfect example of the transition from national visions towards a transboundary vision, focused on a more rational management of resources.
“As a matter-of-fact, the Member Countries of the Niger Basin Authority took a decisive step, by showing their genuine political will to further form cooperation around the Niger River.
“I will like to urge you to propose relevant outcomes to facilitate the implementation of the various projects and programmes for the benefit of our people in view of the changing environment in our basin,’’ he said.
The minister thanked all NBA Technical and Financial Partners for their support, urging them to continue to work for the well-being of the people of the Niger Basin.
In his remarks, Mr Abderahim Hamid, NBA Executive Secretary, appreciated Nigerian Government for its commitment and financial assistance to the regional body.
He said issues relating to the management and preservation of natural resources, and particularly water resources, were the core concern of the basin’s authorities.
This, he noted was evident in various strategies and tools for implementing the Integrated Water Resources Management, developed in recent years by the NBA and its partners.
He said the project implementation had trained 470 technical experts from NBA member countries on techniques for interpreting and using climate data and information based on satellite imagery for decision-making purposes.
Hamid said the NBA had raised awareness of 700 water stakeholders at the national level on reducing risks and disasters linked to floods and droughts among others.
He, however, said the challenge of political unrest in Niger republic and NBA’s sanction was worrisome, calling on political actors to understand the vision of the authority as it was apolitical.
“There is the need for some countries to stop sanctioning the NBA; we are simply working for the population’s benefit,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NBA was established in 1964 by nine nations to basically promote cooperation among member countries and ensure integrated development of the Niger Basin and protect the ecosystem.
NAN recalls that continued dwindling of water flows observed over several decades is said to have contributed to widespread degradation of natural resources and worsening of water and wind erosion and river silting. (NAN) www.nannews.ng
Edited by Chijioke Okoronkwo