Participants at the just concluded meeting organised to validate Nigeria’s strategic document for the implementation of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) have called on the Federal Government to declare national emergency in the forest sector.
The group of multi-sectoral experts, who gathered in Abuja from Wednesday, April 14 to Thursday, April 15, 2021 during an event hosted by the National Secretariat of REDD+ to brainstorm on the future of forest management, said the call was necessary to help the nation reverse from her current pathway of economic destruction and seek other sustainable livelihood sources.
Even more alarming to the participants was the shocking revelation that Nigeria has already exceeded its emission target by 6MtC02 nine and half years earlier.
Speaking at the occasion, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Abel Enitan, told the stakeholders that in a bid to finalise this preparatory phase of the programme, it becomes imperative to validate the National REDD+ Strategy to reflect the nation’s true circumstances and national ownership.
The PS, who was represented by the National Coordinator of the REDD+ Programme, Dr. Moses Ama, said REDD+ forms part of the country’s long-term strategic plan for climate change mitigation, and will help to drive the growing investment in green economy, stop forest loss and degradation as well as expand the extend of forest cover in the country.
“It is our goal to ensure that through the REDD+ Programme, our forest ecosystem services are properly valued and paid for through appropriate policies and measures that will trigger new climate-smart investments, ensure ownership, attract benefits to incentivise and coordinate emissions reduction across sectors, generally contributing to the overall socio-economic development of the country,” he said.
Other members, who spoke at the parley, raised several issues bordering on community participation, weak institutions, low investment, security, and trust on the part of government to ensure that REDD+ is fully implemented across the country.
The consultant who compiled the REDD+ strategic plan, Mr. Atah Anthony, urged Nigerians to be more intentional about environmental protection to reduce the increasing impacts of climate change on sustainable economic growth.
“The impacts are obvious,” he said. “And for us to respond appropriately, we need high level policy intervention as well mobilisation at local level.”
Atah described REDD+ as the most credible platform to address the issues of deforestation and degradation in the country.
He advocated for the effective use of land, institutional capacity, and private sector investment to scale-up the success story of REDD+ in the country.
In his remarks, Mr. Odigha Odigha, who is famously known as the chief priest of the REDD+ family in Nigeria, expressed satisfaction at the level of progress achieved since the introduction of REDD+ in Nigeria.
He described the strategic document as a means to an end in the implementation of REDD+ project.
“The first issue we need to deal with as far as climate change is concern is the REDD+ programme,” Odigha disclosed.
The event was concluded after the stakeholders critically reviewed and adopted the new document which they all alluded to as best reflecting the nation’s climate realities.
By Etta Michael Bisong