From Scholastica Hir, Makurdi

Concerned about the impact of climate change, the Elim Christian Vocational Training Center (Elim CVTC), Environmental and Climate Change Amelioration Initiatives (ECCAI), and their partners have pledged to plant 20,000 trees across Benue State within the next year. This initiative aims to mitigate the effects of climate change on communities throughout the state.

This commitment was outlined in a communiqué issued following a symposium organized by the organizations to commemorate the 2024 World Climate Change Day in Makurdi. The symposium, themed “From Dialogue To Action,” also saw participants pledge to establish a sustainable tree planting and maintenance program.

Participants acknowledged the significant threat climate change poses to the environment, human health, and economic development in Benue State and Nigeria as a whole. They recognized the crucial role of tree planting and reforestation in mitigating climate change, highlighting Benue State’s vast potential for forest cover restoration.

“While calling on the government, private sector, and civil society to support and collaborate with them in the initiative, the organizers said, ‘We recognize the importance of community engagement, education, and awareness in promoting climate change mitigation and tree planting efforts. We agree to monitor progress, share knowledge, and adapt our strategies as needed to ensure the success of this initiative.'”

Elim CVTC and partners urged the Benue State Government to:

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  • Develop and implement a comprehensive climate change policy.
  • Increase funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives.
  • Establish a climate change commission to coordinate efforts.
  • Integrate climate change into the programs and policies of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs).
  • Support climate-resilient infrastructure development.

Private sector entities were encouraged to:

  • Invest in climate-friendly technologies and practices.
    Support climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and communities were called upon to:

  • Raise awareness and educate the public on climate change.
  • Persons with disabilities advocated for inclusive climate change policies and programs that address their needs and ensure their participation in decision-making processes.

Elim CVTC is a Christian non-governmental organization dedicated to disaster risk reduction and preparedness response, improving the lives of vulnerable populations, especially persons with disabilities, and building community resilience to disasters. The organization is currently implementing the Enabling Resilience to Climate Change Related Risks (ER2CC) project in Gwer West and Konshisha Local Government Areas, funded by the European Union (EU) and Christian Blind Mission (CBM). This project aims to build the resilience of communities to climate-related risks and hazards.

Welcoming participants, Elim CVTC Executive Director Mr. Emmanuel Egbodo stated that while climate change was once viewed as a myth, its effects are now undeniable. He expressed gratitude to the funders and partners for their support in making the project a success.

ECCAI Executive Director Victoria Esa emphasized her organization’s commitment to environmental sustainability, preservation, and conservation, including forest cover and tree planting awareness in communities. ECCAI has been planting trees for the past 20 years and hopes to collaborate further for the benefit of the state.