Nigeria, UN Partner to Reduce Deforestation
The Federal Government and the United Nations agency, the United Nations Development Programme yesterday commenced efforts to check forest destruction with the inauguration of the National Technical Committee on Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Abuja.
Minister of Environment, Mr. John Odey, while speaking at the inauguration, said the major role of the committee is to develop roadmap for Nigeria’s Reduction of Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) framework and strategy.
He described the establishment of the committee as a milestone in the country’s efforts towards implementing concrete actions and programmes for mitigating the effects of climate change in Nigeria.
According to Odey, the REDD initiative is one of the major outcome of United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, last year, which Nigeria actively participated in drawing up the accord.
He said although the Accord fell short of expectations, it made progress on REDD, through its provision that “there should be immediate establishment of a mechanism including REDD+ to mobilize capital from developed countries for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and enhancing removal of greenhouse gas emission by forests”.
The Partnership is to support the implementation of REDD+ actions in developing countries with scaled up financial support from developed countries. Nigeria recognises that support to developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is a critical factor in the efforts towards developing natural strategies for climate change mitigation in our countries.
The Minister explained that the National Afforestation Programme is designed to address issues of carbon sequestration, bio-diversity and economic empowerment.
“It is important to note that the establishment of the National Technical Committee on REDD+ is the outcome of collaborative discussions Nigeria held with UN-REDD Agencies including UNDP, UN-REDD Secretariat, UNEP, Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, and several Development Partners, including Australia, Great Britain, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and United States of America”, he said.
The REDD Committee is expected to work closely with these Agencies and Development Partners in carrying out its assignments. Odey said the committee will among other things examine and make recommendations for the effective planning and implementation of programmes and activities of Nigeria REDD+ Initiative.
It wil identify and advise on institutional roles and mandates of relevant stakeholders for the implementation of REDD+ processes in Nigeria and coordinate national REDD+ activities and programmes, and how REDD+ can be integrated into National Development Programmes such as Vision 20-20-20.
The committee will also serve as liaison between respective REDD+ institutions, stakeholder groups, UN-REDD Agencies and Development Partners for effective planning and implementation of REDD+ activities in Nigeria.
The Minister charged the committee to ensure that Nigeria becomes a full REDD+ participating country in four months
The UNDP Resident Coordinator Mr. Daouda Toure said REDD+ is a proposed environmental finance mechanism to simultaneously address forest conservation and climate change mitigation within the framework of sustainable development.
He expressed concern that tropical forests like the ones in Nigeria are disappearing at an alarming rate globally, mostly due to farming, land use changes and logging, adding that deforestation and forest degradation contribute to global emissions of greenhouse gases and thus to climate change: the forestry sector, mainly through deforestation, accounts for about 17% of global greenhouse emissions, making it the second largest source after the energy sector.
Toure said UNDP has voted between $200,000 and $300,000 to fund the committee’s work. Therefore, addressing deforestation and forest degradation in tropical areas is relevant to various domains of the development agenda, such as the forest sector, poverty reduction and climate change.