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Nigeria Signs its REDD+ Readiness Programme

On 22 February 2011, following two successful workshops with stakeholders and hard work and effort by the REDD+ team of Nigeria, a debriefing meeting was held with the Minister of Environment, His Excellency Mr. John Odey; the Governor of Cross River State, Senator Liyel Imoke, and the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Daouda Toure. They signed a declaration (see Request for Submission) endorsing the submission of the Nigeria REDD+ Readiness Programme to the UN-REDD Policy Board document and reinstated the continued collaboration and advancement of REDD+ in Nigeria among them.

Previously during the UN-REDD mission in Nigeria, workshops were held in Calabar and Abuja, on 18 February and 21 February 2011, respectively, to review and validate the core aspects of Nigeria REDD+ Readiness Programme document. Each of the workshops had over 100 key stakeholders of REDD+, including government officials, NGOs, forest community representatives, academia and the media.

The workshop in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, was opened by the Governor,  who spoke about the great potential of REDD+ in Cross River State., This was followed by presentations about the progress of REDD+ in Nigeria and Cross River State;   REDD+ in post-Cancun; the UN-REDD Programme and the drafting process for the Nigeria REDD+ Readiness Programme Document. Afterwards, the participants split up into working groups to discuss key issues and sections of the document, including MRV, drivers of deforestation, safeguards, and stakeholder engagement. Stakeholders had the opportunity to discuss and debate current forest issues and provide comments, feedback and input that were vital to advancing the drafting of the Programme document. At the conclusion of the workshop, participants agreed upon, and signed a Statement endorsing the document and the continuation of work towards REDD+,  as well as providing key recommendations and guidance for REDD+ to advance satisfactorily (see CRS Stakeholders’ Statement).

At the National Validation Workshop held in the capital of Abuja, there was a similar set of presentations as occurred in Cross River State, with welcoming words from Mr. Janthomas Hiemstra, UNDP's Deputy Country Director. As in Calabar, participants divided up into working groups to look at the key issues for REDD+ and at certain sections of the document. Stakeholders had lively discussions about the issues of safeguards, guiding principles for REDD+, structuring better stakeholder engagement at the national level, and MRV and monitoring. At the close of the meeting, participants drafted and endorsed a Communiqué expressing interest in REDD+, offering comments and insights for the document, and approving the submission of Nigeria’s REDD+ Readiness Programme (see Communiqué). After the official close of the meeting, enthusiastic stakeholders even took the opportunity to initiate meetings towards consolidating a national Stakeholder Forum to inform the REDD+ process as it moves forward.