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Document finalised, $4m REDD+ programme implementation to commence

The implementation of the Nigeria REDD+ Readiness Programme has received the go-ahead, following a recent stakeholder-wide reassessment of the plan in Abuja.

Chairman, Cross River State Forestry Commission, Odigha Odigha (left); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director, Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje (middle); and National Coordinator, Nigeria REDD+ Programme, Salisu Dahiru (right), during the REDD+ Readiness Plan Local Project Appraisal Committee (LPAC) meeting, in Abuja

Having previously undergone an intensive check to incorporate the comments of the UN-REDD Policy Board, the approved national programme, in line with the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) management procedure, required a critical analytical review of its design and formulation before the commencement of implementation.

Consequently, government, UN and civil society officials gathered at a daylong forum that featured Local Project Appraisal Committee (LPAC) as well as Technical Review meetings, aimed at assessing the REDD+ document.

During the LPAC gathering, UNDP Country Director, Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje, said that the event functioned to validate the REDD+ report prior to project implementation. She reiterated the UN body’s support for the nation’s REDD initiatives, expressing the hope that, besides being successfully implemented in Cross River, other states would eventually adopt the programme.

National Coordinator of REDD+ Programme, Salisu Dahiru, disclosed that Nigeria would attempt to unify the two REDD+ Programme implementations tracks – UN-REDD and Forest Carbon Partnership (FCP) – under a single platform. He added that a Readiness Preparation Proposal (RPP) requested by the FCP was being attended to.

Currently, the Nigeria REDD+ Readiness Programme, which seeks to build the REDD+ mechanism in the country using Cross River State as a demonstration model, is being promoted under the UN-REDD track, which comprises the UNDP, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

Nigeria has secured a $4 million funding for the two-and-half-year project, which will officially commence in September 2012 and come to a close in February 2015.

Dahiru, a forester, stated that co-financing would be sought to ensure a robust REDD+ readiness process and to expand REDD+ across other interested states, such as Taraba.

Chairman, Cross River State Forestry Commission, Odigha Odigha, emphasised that the state government has since 2009 consistently budgeted for REDD+ to, essentially, address the sacrifices arising from locking up the forest as well as measuring its carbon.

While expressing satisfaction with the report, participants however suggested the inclusion of areas related to further research, training of government officials and local people, and how other states can key into the project. The separation of REDD+ from the Federal Ministry of Environment’s Forestry Department was also questioned.

At the Technical Review meeting, participants underlined the need for emphasis and clarifications on awareness creation, role of civil society organisations (CSOs), separation of training from research, monitoring and institutional arrangements, as well as domestication and scaling down of issues and processes.

The gathering likewise appraised the objectives, outputs and activities; log frame indicators; management arrangements; as well as endorsement of: the project’s budget, management structure and terms of reference (TOR) for key project staff.

To develop and finalise the REDD+ proposal, the country had launched work on REDD+ streams like those on socio-environmental safeguards, multiple ecosystem benefits, participatory governance assessment for REDD+, and enhanced capacities for UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) reporting. Several months ago, a “REDD+ University” forum held in Calabar (capital of Cross River State) as part of the process of finalising the programme document, by building capacity and providing the basis for the programme’s public inception.

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