Nigeria Hosts Innovative "REDD+ University"
A new course at the University of Calabar in Nigeria's Cross-River State brought together an international group of experts to teach the basics of REDD+ to more than 200 participants from across the country.
Nigeria held a REDD+ University event on 19-21 March 2012, at the University of Calabar, in Cross River State, southeast Nigeria. The event was organized as a short course on the basics of REDD+, looking at its wide scope as well as its development dimensions. It was organized by the joint Nigeria REDD+ team, with technical and financial support from the UN-REDD Programme, with the leadership of Cross River State's Forestry Commission and the hospitality of the University of Calabar.
The objectives of the event were to: (i) enhance understanding on the REDD+ mechanism among Nigeria's stakeholders; (ii) to facilitate stakeholder engagement and dialogue around forest conservation and REDD+, with emphasis on Cross River State as the demonstration state for REDD+ in Nigeria; and (iii) to stimulate preparatory discussions and arrangements for the implementation of the Nigeria REDD+ Readiness Programme, including options for expanding the scope of REDD+ to other States.
The widespread interest in the event exceeded all expectations. More than 200 participants attended, drawn from the federal government, the Cross River State, Nigerian states interest in REDD+ and from other African countries already engaged in REDD+ (notably Zambia). Participants represented the full spectrum of stakeholders for REDD+, including government ministries and agencies, civil society organizations (particularly NGOs and community-based organizations), the academic community, private sector entrepreneurs, the media and local communities in Cross River State.
The event was designed around four themes, looking at: 1) the concept and meaning of REDD+; 2) REDD+ initiatives in Nigeria; 3) REDD+ in other countries; and 4) REDD+ related initiatives. While the first two themes were covered on the first day of the event, the last two were covered on the second day. A total of 24 speakers from Nigerian institutions and from abroad, including technical specialists, policy advisors, development practitioners, NGO members, private entrepreneurs in relevant sectors, members of academia and UN officials, led discussions on these themes. International speakers came from a wide range of countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, USA and Zambia. The third day of the event focused on group work and provided opportunities for presenters to clarify issues raised during the first two days.
The event was inaugurated by his Excellency Senator Liyel Imokealong, Governor of Cross River State, along with: Professor James Epoke, vice-chancellor of the University of Calabar; Janthomas Hiemstra, UNDP-Nigeria Deputy Country Director for Programmes; Salisu Dahiru, National REDD+ Coordinator; Odigha Odigha, Chairman of Cross River State Forestry Commission; Chief Samuel Olori , a community leader; and Josep Gari, the UN-REDD Programme advisor for Africa.
Further information as well as the presentations from the event will be available shortly on Nigeria’s page on the UN-REDD Programme website.