Officials of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have commended Nigeria for its strides toward becoming a full-fledged “Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and forest project nation.
Marieke Sandker, FAO Forest Officer and Forest Reference Level (FRL) Technical Officer in Rome, gave the commendation at a workshop on ‘‘Reference Emission Level, Methodology and Submission’’ in Abuja on Monday, March 5, 2018.
She said participation in REDD+ Forest Reference Emission Level or Forest Reference Level was one of the elements countries needed to develop to partake in REDD+.
‘‘Nigeria and 34 other countries, which include Tanzania, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guyana, Mexico, Nepal, Mozambique and Ghana, have complied with the dynamic process.’’
Sandker lauded government and non-governmental stakeholders for reviewing the document, which she said had been submitted to the UN-REDD Policy Board (UPB) for further action.
She stated that the document was being examined to determine what inputs to generate the needed level of emission.
The officer noted that the review of the document had become imperative because it would be submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for further deliberation.
Sandker stated that UNFCCC had defined the FREL/FRLs as benchmarks for assessing each country’s performance in implementing REDD+ activities.
The UNFCCC is an international environmental treaty adopted on May 9, 1992 and opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from June 3 to 14, 1992.
Mr Jonathan Robberts, Forest Expert, FAO, noted that Nigeria had been pro-active in meeting the country’s obligations to the UNFCCC.
He recalled that the United Nations adopted the Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992, “with the realisation of the potential dangers of global warming and the consequent socio-economic implications to the whole world.
‘‘The objective of the Convention is to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with climate system,” he stated.
He added that, due to the implications of the convention’s decisions, REDD+ had enumerated five eligible activities that developing countries must implement to reduce emissions and enhance removals of greenhouse gases.
The activities include reducing emissions from deforestation, reducing emissions from forest degradation, conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.
Roberts explained that the workshop was working toward submitting a clean note to the UNFCCC.
Mr John Fonweban, FAO Forest officer, REED+ Programme, said that FAO was determined to develop a National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS) capable of measuring the status and evolution of forest resources in compliance with the requirements of the UNFCCC for Nigeria.
He said that the goal of FAO on the programme was to enable Nigeria to contribute to climate change mitigation through improved forest conservation and enhancing sustainable community livelihoods.
Fonweban said the organisation had embarked on this by using Cross River as a demonstration model with the building of a REDD+ mechanism in the state.
‘‘The programme is structured in four outcomes; two at the federal level and two focusing on Cross River State,’’ he said.
He said the workshop was designed to improve the institutional and technical capacity at the national level.
According to him, FAO had supported the Federal Government to develop its REDD+ readiness process by expanding the process initiated at Cross River through a UN-REDD Programme to Nassarawa and Ondo states.
Fonweban disclosed that parts of the readiness funds had been allocated to undertake forest land cover/land use mapping and change detection for the entire country.
He gave assurance that FAO would continue to support the implementation of the activity through a Technical Assistance Agreement signed with the Federal Government.
Stakeholders across the country are expected to generate activity data and create national mosaic for Nigeria.