The nine-member countries of the Niger Basin Authority on Wednesday pledged to commit $274 million to implement the Programme for the Integrated Development and Adaptation to Climate Change in the region.
They made the pledged at the end of the Expert Meeting of the Extraordinary Session of the Council of Ministers in Abuja on Wednesday.
Stakeholders say deliberate programmes must be implemented to protect the over 130 million basin population.
The Executive Secretary of the NBA, Toupta Boguena, called on member countries to endeavour to endow the common institution with the human and material resources necessary for effective implementation of the programmes.
Boguena said the degrading level of the ecosystems in the region had reached an alert level, adding that the consequence of the population growth was also alarming.
She said the effects of climate change had led to an increasing frequent drought and flooding periods, adding that this had led to a drastic reduction in the vegetation cover.
Boguena said the challenges of increasing populations and climate change were of concern to the Authority, adding that the challenges were affecting the developmental goals of the authority.
“It is in this light that it is imperative to scale up our strategies and policies in order to ensure better livelihoods for our populations,” she said.
She said the authority, with support from its development partners, would bring no fewer than 350 investments aimed at improving the ecosystems of the Niger River.
The executive secretary said about 59 per cent of PIDACC’s financing has been pledged by financing partners such as the African Development Bank, Global Water Partnership, European Union and the World Bank.
Nigeria’s Minister of Water Resources and Chairman, NBA Council of Ministers, Suleiman Adamu, said the PIDACC programme would go a long way to improving the lives of the basin population.
Adamu noted that Nigeria, being a pioneer member of the organisation, had actively promoted the basin’s natural resources in a sustainable manner to improve living standard of people of the basin.
He urged member countries to live up to their financial responsibilities by paying up their dues regularly to enable the secretariat exercise its functions.
The mandate of the authority includes promoting cooperation among member countries in the areas of energy, water, agriculture, livestock development and fish farming.
The member states of the organisation are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria.