Today international advocacy organization Global CitizenGovernor Dr.J. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State announced the state’s climate action commitments, as part of the recent Global Citizen LiveCampaign to address and prioritize climate challenges currently facing the region.
Ekiti has seen an increase in deforestation and other weather phenomena, including erosion, mining, deforestation and heat spikes.
Climate change has changed rainfall patterns and made it unpredictable when farmers can plant and harvest staple crops like yams and fruits. Deforestation has also led to erosion which has had an impact on local farming communities and increased the risk of flooding in urban areas. This degradation of ecosystems, particularly the loss of tree cover and forests, has contributed significantly, on a global level, to greenhouse gas emissions and nature’s capacity to store carbon.
On the local level, over the last century, Nigeria has had the highest average temperature rise of any country in Africa, and that is significant because Nigeria also has one of the world’s fastest rates of deforestation, having lost over 90% of its original forest resources in the same period. Many tree species once found in Ekiti are now threatened with extinction.
Changes to the local weather patterns are now affecting the health of the population. More people are being forced into poverty, more families are in conflict over whether or not they can afford to keep their last patches of forest, and more families are facing economic insecurity.
Governor Fayemi made the following pledges as part of the Global Citizen Live campaign to combat climate change in the region:
- Plant 500,000 trees in Ekiti before December 2022.Importantly, two-thirds will be rare and native trees that are natural to Nigeria’s environment. These trees have been almost extinct over the past 50 years.
- By December 2022, at least 5 rare and/or indigenous trees must be planted in every public primary or secondary school in Ekiti.-to focus young minds on Ekiti’s natural heritage, foster education and awareness of deforestation and the effects of environmental degradation, and contribute to education in the natural sciences.
- The Ekiti Forestry Commission will complete a comprehensive biodiversity study by December 2022This will identify wildlife and conservation hotspots, survey animals and trees, and enumerate the local natural heritage, with a particular focus on rare or endangered species. This will allow the community to designate key sites as protected assets.
- The State of Ekiti is completing a satellite image assessment of forest growth and forest coverage in Ekiti State by February 20, 2023.This will enable us to plan how private sector investors and we can best preserve the existing forest and create new afforestation or agroforestry opportunities.
- The Ekiti State Government is expected to produce a roadmap on forest conservation by February 2023So that we can plan for the future, we need a sustainable approach. This includes a comprehensive management plan for all Ekiti forest reserve forests.
Governor Fayemi said, “Climate change can have such a life-altering effect on the socio-economic wellbeing of our people. We must rise to the occasion, create a place where both people and nature can thrive together. There is undisputed evidence that better climate outcomes are linked to the wellbeing of our populations. “
Maimuna Maibe, Nigeria Country Director at Global Citizen, said, “The fight for our planet is one of the most important missions of our lifetime and this commitment by the Ekiti State government is another demonstration of how much we can achieve together.” “Global Citizen is proud to support the Ekiti State government in delivering the various elements of its commitment to deliver impact and value to the people of Ekiti State.”
Last September’s Global Citizen Live campaign was a month-long countdown ahead of the G20 and COP26 summits to address the pandemic, hunger, and climate challenges. Thanks to many dedicated partners and hardworking volunteers, the campaign saw over 1.1 million actions and 70 new announcements. The event was broadcast live on seven continents and featured Femi Kuti and Davido as well as Tiwa Savage and Made Kuti. It also featured announcements that aimed to increase equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations, urgent action against climate change, and address the growing hunger crisis.