National REDD+ Strategy/Action Plan (NS/AP): Nigeria developed a National Framework Strategy for REDD+ and a Cross River State (CRS) REDD+ Strategy. The national REDD+ framework strategy provides guidance for states intending to engage in REDD+ development. As a pilot, the CRS REDD+ Strategy is intended to inform the national strategy and serve as a model for other states, a learning platform for REDD+ implementation. To underpin the strategy, analytical studies were conducted through an iterative participatory process. The draft strategy was presented to the Federal Minister of Environment.
National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS): In 2016, the UN-REDD Programme supported the development of an NFMS Action Plan with institutional arrangements and a roadmap to facilitate the creation of legislation and laws governing NFMS implementation, in order to ensure sustainability and transparency. In CRS, a robust forest monitoring system has been established with a functional GIS laboratory and facilities. These facilities have contributed to building the capacities of stakeholders in the application of remote sensing and GIS capabilities to monitor forest change, generate and interpret activity data and perform multiple benefits mapping. In total, 80 sample plots have been established in 62 local communities to estimate carbon stocks and emission factors, and CRS has updated its measurement, reporting and verification database, including historic and realtime remote sensing. A Forest Carbon Inventory (FCI) Standard Operation Manual has been prepared, produced and printed.
Forest Reference Emission Level / Forest Reference Level (FREL/FRL): The construction of the FREL/FRL was initiated in 2016. After several consultations, Nigeria opted for a nested REDD+ programme in which CRS was selected as a state. The FREL is being developed at CRS level as an interim measure. The scope is based on activities, pools and gases included. For activities, only deforestation has been included in the present FREL/FRL. In the pools, the above-ground biomass constituting the main component or largest pool is included in the FREL/FRL. Finally, for the gases, only CO2 emissions are included in the present FREL/FRL.
Safeguard Information System (SIS): Four elements were implemented as part of the country’s approach to safeguards. First, the national safeguards working group considered a participatory analysis of the risks and benefits of a set of proposed policies and measures. Second, CRS assessed existing national and state policies, laws and regulations, in relation to the proposed policies and measures. This was followed by consultations with relevant stakeholders on the implementation status of policies, laws and regulations and safeguard compliance. The third element was the development of principles and criteria that interpret the Cancun safeguards according to CRS’s specific circumstances. The fourth was the application of the principles and criteria to the CRS REDD+ Strategy during REDD+ implementation through policies, laws and regulations and reforms (improvements/opportunities) at both state and national level.
The CBR+ programme approved and disbursed grants to 12 civil society organisations for 12 community-based projects in Cross River State. Civil society organisations, including nongovernment and community-based organisations, received training on how to design and implement projects linked to the REDD+ readiness process and build the capacities of forest-dependent communities to participate in the REDD+ process. As a result, the design of the various CBR+ projects provided a platform for community engagement and empowerment for active participation in the national REDD+ processes, particularly, in developing the REDD+ strategy for CRS. Together, the projects cover a range of issues, including i) sustainable forest management/biodiversity conservation; ii) developing capacity to engage in climate change mitigation processes, including REDD+; iii) sustainable livelihoods to combat poverty; and iv) energy. The Nigeria programme has faced some capacity support challenges, addressed through adaptive programme management by distributing key responsibilities to technical advisors and REDD+ teams. The discourse on the proposed superhighway that goes through the high forest in CRS was perceived as a potential risk to REDD+ implementation and took substantial time and effort in terms of organizing, facilitating and participating in discussions. Through concerted efforts by various partners including the UN-REDD Programme, the revocation order on a 10km buffer zone along the proposed superhighway has been rescinded by the CRS government.