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REDD+ work in Nigeria has received a major boost with the first sub national level Strategy for Cross River State (CRS) almost finalized as well as a National REDD+ Framework Strategy. Both Strategies are critical components of an innovative two pronged approach of State and Federal level implementation of REDD+ in Nigeria and efforts towards the implementation of the Warsaw Framework. 

The National Framework Strategy will provide the overall enabling and guiding framework for REDD+ in Nigeria, while the CRS Strategy is specific to the State with interventions that aim to have impacts on the ground in forestry, agriculture, energy and land use planning including for minerals, quarrying and infrastructure development. The strategic objectives for both Strategies not only call for activities grounded in dealing with forest and land management but also draw out the requirements needed for policies and measures that touch on institutional strengthening, clarification of State and Federal roles, cross-sectoral planning and action in order to address the drivers of deforestation and the barriers to sustainable management of forests. An important outcome is to ensure that these activities result in social and environmental benefits at both local and State level. The Strategy integrates the principles and criteria developed through an interpretation of the Cancun Safeguards at the sub national level, as well as elements drawn from ongoing work towards the submission of the Cross River State Forest Reference Emission Level (FREL).

nigeriaIn November 2016, a workshop took place in Abuja which contributed to the consultative process and led to the refinement of the document with members of the National Technical Steering Committee and a contingent of the Cross River State Technical Committee thoroughly engaged. Two additional stakeholder meetings have been held since to refine and to conclude the REDD+ Strategy development.

The next steps are to secure high-level political buy-in, to mobilize investments and finance for the CRS Strategy, and strategic partnership building. A high-level dialogue and launch marking this important milestone is planned for early 2017. 

Ensuring that the REDD+ Strategy and overall REDD+ readiness receives the high political support at the ministerial level of Federal Government, a meeting was held with H.E Amina J. Mohamed, Federal Ministry of the Environment, the Permanent Secretary for the Minister and the REDD+ team. The Minister was excited to be moving from readiness to implementation, but cautioned ‘not be in a hurry to fail’, emphasizing the need to have all stakeholders on board with the adequate level of ownership and commitment to implement REDD+. This would include ensuring that linkages with gender, energy and water were made, bringing on board the other relevant sectoral Ministries and demonstrating the contribution of REDD+ to Nigeria’s overall vision of growth and sustainable development.

Nigeria is currently discussing its national environmental policy which will provide an enabling framework for all the sectors including forests -which will be used as a barometer to determine whether measures are effective.  In this regards there are exigencies that need to be taken into account with and a strong emphasis on safeguards, capacity and political will to respond adequately to social and environmental impacts assessments across the board. 

The Minister concluded the meeting with UN-REDD Programme team by stating that ‘’We have negotiated the impossible and now need to implement the ambitious’’ which translates into coming to terms with the ambition of achieving the SDGs. In the same vein, Nigeria is poised now to work towards implementing the Cross River State Strategy as part of the country’s implementation of key sustainable development goals and objectives its people and the economy as well as for the environment. In moving from readiness to implementation, a transitional plan to move towards seeking investments for activities is currently under development by the Government with the support of the UN-REDD Programme.

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