AT THE IMPLEMENTATION COMPLETION AND RESULTS REPORT MISSION OF THE NIGERIA EROSION AND WATERSHED MANAGEMENT PROJECT (NEWMAP).
INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION CENTER, AWKA – APRIL 12 2022
I welcome you all to Anambra State, the Light of the Nation.
We are extremely delighted to host our distinguished guests from 23 states of Nigeria and all parts of the world, at our newly constructed International Convention Centre (ICC). It appears that Anambra State had NEWMAP in mind when we decided to invest in this facility a little over 2 years ago.
The significance of the choice of Anambra State to host this august mission is not lost on me. As the erosion capital of Africa, it is apt that the Federal Government of Nigeria and the World Bank made this wise decision, and we thank them immensely for the befitting honour.
This mission signals the closure of the NEWMAP project across all the implementing entities and line MDAs at the state and federal levels. The theme of the mission speaks volume as to why we are gathered here. After 10-years of hard work, it is time to look back and review results of the uncommon dedication and commitment demonstrated by the men and women gathered here today. I want to congratulate all of us for these great accomplishments as on-the-ground results across Nigeria can only be described as transformational… living evidence of our combined efforts, battles, victories, and successes. These transformational achievements have caused NEWMAP to be described as a “Game Changer”.
I want to recognize that NEWMAP’s interventions continue to support government’s development agenda and vision for environmental sustainability, providing a platform for addressing the greatest existential threat to humanity. By its design and how it was implemented, the project has contributed significantly to Nigeria’s climate change response and support for our collective obligation under the Paris Climate Agreement, to which we are signatory.
With an innovative and wholistic approach to watershed management, NEWMAP took cognizance of the people whose lives and livelihood were devasted by gully erosion. Therefore, not only has the project reclaimed landscapes and restored lives, it empowered people at the grassroots, including women and children, bringing hope and renewed faith to the most vulnerable people in our communities. While doing so, it entrenched a culture of gender equity, providing equal access to resources and respect for diversity and inclusion in all our endeavors.
From Nnewi to Malumfashi, Auchi to Ikot Awatim, Ogugu to 9th Mile, Kajola to Mabera, Umu Ezukwu to Yansabo…. NEWMAP has left indelible streaks across the landscapes of this great country. One that we are very proud of.
Besides the number of hectares reclaimed, PAPs resettled, trees planted, houses saved, people empowered, we have made tremendous progress in areas we often fail to recognize or remember. We have developed life-long friendships, built bridges and created a community-of-experts we can rely on for help. With the training and exposure received under NEWMAP, we are better equipped to support our communities in different capacities.
Distinguished Participants, as NEWMAP-1 interventions across the 23 states, including Anambra, is gradually coming to an end, I encourage you to thoroughly review all the activities carried out, share ideas, document lessons-learned, share a drink or two and enjoy the signature hospitality that Anambra is known for. While at it, do not forget to chart a clear pathway for the sustainability of the achievements recorded because the adverse impacts of climate change are more present now than ever before.
In Anambra, we are ready for NEWMAP-2 because we have created institutions and templates for erosion and climate change intervention based on international best practices. We have trained personnel and created enabling policies to attract the much-needed funding and technical assistance to support these urgent needs. This is all aimed at creating sustainability for the great work of the past 10 years. I know the other 22 states have done the same and are ready too.
I know that you have a long day ahead of you, so I will not end without thanking His Excellency the President and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, for his ownership and effort at ensuring the success of this project. I thank the honourable ministers of Environment and Finance for their commitment to this important mandate. I thank my brother governors of the respective NEWMAP states for their leadership and oversight and congratulate them for these great results. We owe immense gratitude to the World Bank, Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) for supporting the implementations that gave us these results. We are proud to be your partners in development. Lastly, the respective State Project Management Units deserves our commendation for the hands-on work that produced these transformational results. I understand that since inception, NEWMAP has not recorded any case of fraud or ineligible expenditure. I salute your individual and collective strength of character.
A wise man once said that the reward for good work is more work and I know that the World Bank is a listening bank.
I hereby declare this mission open.
God bless you. God bless Anambra State. God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Prof. Chukwuma Charles Soludo, CFR.
Governor of Anambra State
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