Features & Commentary
UN-REDD Mission to Nigeria
REDD National Coordinator, Salisu Dahiru, gives Nigeria's perspectives on the UN-REDD Programme's first scoping mission to the country last month.
The UN-REDD Programme's scoping mission, which was a part of Nigeria's national REDD+ roadmap, was held from 14-21 October, 2010 with the following objectives: to initiate the UN-REDD Programme's engagement in Nigeria; to provide key information and advice on the REDD+ mechanism and on REDD+ readiness processes, hence stimulating stakeholder engagement and dialogue; to discuss and enhance the REDD+ readiness architecture that has been established; to prepare a REDD+ readiness roadmap for the next six months, including capacity-building activities and consultations, which will culminate in the drafting and public validation of a national programme for REDD+ readiness. Nigeria's aim is to submit this national programme for financial consideration at the UN-REDD Programme's sixth Policy Board meeting in March 2011.
|Representatives from the Cross River State Forestry Commission brief the scoping mission team on a pilot plot site near Ekuri village.
The mission was comprised of UN-REDD Programme team members from each of the agencies, independent experts on community forestry, as well as staff and officials from various levels of the Nigerian government and the Cross River State Forestry Commission (CRSFC).
This diverse group of participants and other stakeholders involved in the mission was indicative of the seriousness in, and the very high expectations of the Nigerian government from REDD+.
The scoping mission was conducted in two parts, starting in Cross River State (in Calabar) and moving to the Federal Ministry of Environment (in Abuja). Activities held in Calabar included:
- Meeting with the officials of the (CRSFC)
- Informal consultations/interactive session with non-governmental stakeholders (including NGOs, Academia and Experts)
- Visit to conservation projects sites in Calabar
- Field visits to: Ekuri Forest Community and Afi Mountain Forest Community/ Wildlife Conservation Center
Field Visits to REDD+ Pilot Sites
|Part of the scoping mission involved visiting the longest rainforest canopy walk in Africa.
Arguably the most significant activity of the scoping mission was the three-day field visit to REDD+ pilot sites in community forests in Ekuri and Buanchor Community Forest in the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary.
At Ekuri Village, an informal meeting with a patiently waiting and welcoming community was held from 11:30 pm to about 2:00 am, in an atmosphere of warm friendship, great hospitality and high expectations. The Mission heard the success story of the community’s sustainable management and conservation of its forest over the last 20 years, its plan for the future, major challenges, and its confidence in, and expectations from, the REDD+ programme. Inspection of the REDD+ demonstration plot indicated a strong level of participation and capacity of the community in carbon measurement for MRV.
At the Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, mission representatives inspected the second and third REDD+ pilot sites, conservation programme for Drill monkeys, Cross River gorilla and chimpanzees, and plant nursery for propagation of indigenous tree species.
The first of two REDD+ stakeholder dialogue workshops was held on Monday, 18 October, 2010, while the second took place on Wednesday, 20 October, 2010, in Abuja. Both workshops were well attended and had a wide range of participants. In fact, the Abuja workshop was attended by more than 90 participants; yet another demonstration of the keen interest stakeholders in Nigeria have in REDD+. The workshops provided platforms for stakeholder information exchange and dialogue and were conducted in full participatory fashion.
At the end of the workshops, the following key points highlighted the participants’ understanding of REDD+:
- REDD+ is to help in protecting the forests, reducing carbon emissions and enhancing sustainable forest livelihoods;
- REDD+ is an environmental finance instrument
- REDD+ is a performance-based mechanism
- REDD+ is about reduced carbon emissions, within a context of biodiversity, poverty reduction, development and equality
- REDD+ is a policy process, as opposed to a project
- REDD+ entails a change of the development paradigm around forests and rural livelihoods
- REDD+ readiness shall conform to international agreements (post-Kyoto protocol) but adapt to country conditions
- Payments for REDD+ credits may come from an international fund and/or carbon markets (to be decided by negotiators and then countries)
- Distribution of REDD+ benefits needs to be fair and related to forest conservation and development
The UN-REDD Programme's first scoping mission to Nigeria was judged a success by all involved, as significant milestones were achieved. Special commendation must go to the Minister of Environment and Cross River State Governor for their leadership, determination, persistent interest and support for Nigeria’s REDD+ efforts. We feel that a REDD+ family has been created. Stakeholders also realized that indeed, it was possible to enjoy working on a very serious technical activity like the Scoping mission.
|Salisu Dahiru is the REDD National Coordinator for the government of Nigeria. |