NIGERIA: In Bauchi, the ACReSAL project starts for the protection of watersheds

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NIGERIA: In Bauchi, the ACReSAL project starts for the protection of watersheds©Fela Sanu/Shutterstock

Faced with the degradation of watersheds in Bauchi State, Nigeria, a programme implemented by local authorities aims at the sustainable management of landscapes in the face of human and climatic challenges.

In Bauchi State, north-eastern Nigeria, persistent water shortages are exacerbating land degradation, desertification and habitat loss, particularly in the watersheds. The ACReSAL (Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes) project launched on 22 February 2023 in the Nigerian state aims to increase the implementation of resilient practices in these geographical areas of surface water collection by a river and its tributaries.

In Bauchi, the ACReSAL project will start in the communities of Gololo, Kirfi, Duguri, Chelidi, Yakubun Bauchi, Gwaram and Sulaiman Adamu before expanding to 45 communities. The launch of the project follows the approval of a $5.9 million loan from the World Bank in August 2022. The local government will commit N1 billion (about $2.2 million) to the implementation of the project, including N500 million (about $1.1 million) in matching funds.

The Bauchi government plans to plant trees along roads in the senatorial districts of the state. The reforestation will help protect the soil and regulate waterways. At the same time, at least 6,000 biomass stoves will be distributed to communities in Bauchi to reduce the felling of trees, which are usually used for firewood or charcoal.

The ACReSAL project will also enable “strategic watershed planning, investments in special landscapes and ecosystems”. After Bauchi, the six-year project will expand to 18 other states in northern Nigeria. The initiative is financed by a $700 million loan from the International Development Association (IDA), approved by the World Bank’s Board of Directors on 14 December 2021.

Inès Magoum

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