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REDD+: Stakeholders adopt data collection tools, methodology for Nasarawa, Ondo

The data collection tools and the methodology for the strategic environmental and social assessment to enable the execution Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in Nasarawa and Ondo states have been adopted.

Participants at the workshop

This was the major outcome of a workshop on Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment (SESA) and Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) for Nigeria REDD+ Readiness held on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 in Keffi, Nassarawa State.

The result of this assessment, it was gathered, will be used to develop the Environmental and Social Management Framework to guide the implementation of REDD+ in the project states.

Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and the role of forest conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+) is an international Instrument of the United Nations under its Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to mitigate climate change through forest conservation, to enhance carbon sink and reduce the quantity of carbon in the atmosphere.

Organised by Darashaw and Company Private Limited and ECMC Engineers, the workshop was supported by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the World Bank and Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). The workshop was part of the activities under the SESA/ESMF project which aims at developing Environmental and Safety Management Framework to safeguard environmental and social benefits and minimise risks in the course of developing and implementing REDD+ programme in Cross River, Nasarawa and Ondo states.

Declaring the workshop open, the, Nasarawa Commissioner for Environment and Solid Minerals, Akaaka Gabriel, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, expressed the commitment of the Nasarawa State Government to preserve the environment from degradation, hence the choice of the state as one of the two additional pilot states in addition to Cross River, for REDD+ readiness programme.

Setting the background for the workshop, Mr. Odigha Odigha, erstwhile Chairman, Cross River State Forestry Commission, gave a background to the journey of the REDD+ readiness in Nigeria with Cross River State as a pilot State. According to Odigha, the country saw the asset it has in the massive natural forests in Cross River State, which it can use to enroll in the REDD+ programme to mitigate climate change while at the same time reaping social and economic benefits.

The Nigerian Government started to engage in REDD+ in 2009 when it requested for membership of the UN-REDD Programme, which was granted. In 2012, the Nigerian Government received a grant from UN-REDD to implement a project with the objective to build the REDD+ mechanism in Nigeria, using Cross River State as a demonstration model. The project had a two-track approach to achieve REDD+ readiness in Nigeria: to improve institutional and technical capacity at the federal level so as to give national policy direction to REDD+; and to build capacity of Cross River State for REDD+ so that state-level progress will inform the national process and guide other states interested in REDD+.

With the experience gathered from this project, the Nigeria again received grants from the World Bank and FCPF to extend the REDD+ readiness programme to two additional states – Nasarawa and Ondo.

On her part, Dr. Alice Ekwu, the Cross River State Commissioner of Climate Change and Forestry, narrated the experiences of the Cross River State Government in implementing the REDD+ readiness programme. The experiences, she said, have been compiled in a compendium to serve as learning materials for stakeholders and especially the new and potential states for the REDD+ readiness programme.

Then came Dr. Shilpy Gupta, Assistant Vice President of Darashaw and Company Private Limited who doubles as the Project Director for SESA/ESMF. She provided the overview of the SESA/ESMF project and the objectives of the workshop. According to Dr. Shilpy, the project aims to provide a framework for social and environmental management so that the design and implementation of national REDD+ strategy is sustainable, inclusive and equitable. The objective of the workshop, she said, was to review and adopt the data collection instruments and methodology that will be used for strategic environmental and social assessment in Nasarawa and Ondo states.

Following this, Prof. Francis Bisong of the University of Calabar presented the data collection instruments and methodology that were developed for the Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment in Nasarawa and Ondo states. The development of the data collection instruments and methodology, he said, was guided by the situational environmental and social assessment from literature which he earlier presented.

Participants at the workshop were drawn from civil society organisations, farmers, private sector players, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government at the federal level and in Cross River, Ondo and Nasarawa states.

By John Baaki Terzungwe

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