President Muhammadu Buhari writes in an opinion article in Scientific American – in which more than 150 Nobel laureates have been published – that the Nigerian government is taking action against the ecological breakdown that drives conflicts. He explains that planting trees is part of the solution, and the reason Nigeria is planting another 25 million, on top of the 1 million hectares already reforested.
The article comes ahead of the project launch later this month by the National Youth Climate Innovation Hub – the organisation mobilising youth in the tree planting exercise. In tackling these challenges, the government believes it is essential to involve young people in the decision-making processes on climate action because, ultimately, it is their future that shall be affected.
The tree planting is part of a larger project: a Great Green Wall
that shall stretch across the Sahel to hold back desertification. The president argues to achieve this goal, the project must be driven by communities, innovative climate financing solutions, and a methodical planting based in ecological research.
On the need to plant trees, President Buhari stated:
“Trees lend a base to build on. They aid water retention in the ground; they shield the land from erosion; and they enrich biodiversity, key for recycling the nutrients in the soil required to grow crops. In the process, they underwrite food security.”
On herder-farmer clashes, he added:
“Critically, ecological restoration reduces the threat of land disputes. In the dry season, barren—often drought-stricken—pastureland in the Sahel forces nomadic herders to drive their cattle further south to graze.”
On previous issuances of green bonds, he stated:
“Fortunately, these initial forays show a clear appetite for this sort of investment, and we are currently working on further issuances.”
On the approach of the project, he says:
“those who manage the systems should be the community on the frontline: the same people who will benefit from reforestation. We intend to mobilize the youth in the planting, breeding a sense of ownership of their region’s future and strengthening community bonds.”