Like many regions around the world, Gombe State has seen its economic growth and development hampered by headwinds resulting from climate change, including flooding, degradation of arable land, air pollution and deforestation. The Gombe State Environmental Sanitation & Protection Agency, overseen by the state’s Ministry of Environment and Forest Resources, has been tasked with addressing the negative impacts of climate change in the face of a rapidly growing population.

In 2023 the state government allocated nearly N12.3bn ($29.2m) for the environment and the provision of safe drinking water, reflecting the importance of sustainability in the government’s Gombe State Development Plan 2021-30. The plan is seen as a roadmap for tackling environmental obstacles, creating employment opportunities as well as supporting the local economy.

Flood & Waste Management

In 2022 Gombe State witnessed floods that negatively impacted agricultural production. To prevent future climate-related impacts, key objectives include improving waste disposal, developing a comprehensive drainage system and controlling soil erosion. Revamped waste-disposal mechanisms can limit the spread of disease across communities, and better drainage infrastructure can help protect arable land from flooding.

The Gombe State Environmental Sanitation & Protection Agency has identified the need for 32 drainage systems to address flooding at nine critical flood-prone areas. As of early 2023 the construction of 18 systems was ongoing. The local government has also partnered with the World Bank to implement the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project, which has identified 40 areas in the state prone to erosion. As of early 2023 intervention projects were in progress at 18 sites across the state.

Action Plan

The Gombe Goes Green (3G) project was launched in August 2019 in an effort to help the state become more sustainable, in line with the global green transition. Key objectives include restoring biodiversity to the region and supporting wildlife regeneration by growing endangered indigenous tree species, promoting sustainable development, creating jobs in the sector and reducing air pollution.

Under the 3G project, the state government – in partnership with the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria – aims to plant 4m trees by the end of 2023 to combat desertification, deforestation and other climate challenges. Between August 2019 and July 2020 eight 20-ha woodlots were established across nine local government areas and 20,000 trees were planted along major roads in the state. In 2021 the government provided 10 watering tricycles to the 3G coordination office for the irrigation of tree seedlings across the state. The project has also helped raise public awareness about climate change and engage youths in reforestation projects.

Sustainable Initiatives

In addition to the 3G project, the establishment of a green energy industry in Gombe State could contribute to the government’s Gombe State Development Plan 2021-30 goals. The Nigerian Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy aims to develop several different sustainable energy areas, including establishing a biofuel industry. Targets include improving the link between the agriculture and energy sectors, promoting the blending of biofuels with fossil fuels for transport, and incentivising biofuel project development through benefits funded by carbon credits.

The use of biowaste as feedstock to manufacture biofuel could improve waste disposal and support the development of a green energy industry. In January 2021 the state government established a committee to hold discussions with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation about the feasibility of a sugarcane ethanol project, though further updates on the project had yet to be announced as of early 2023.