The private sector and other stakeholders in Nigeria’s REDD+ programme have lamented the absence of a strong legal backing to the country’s drive towards fully implementing the Reducing Emissions through Forest Degradation and Deforestation Programme. The stakeholders made this known during a two-day “Policy Level and Private Sector Interactive Meeting on Improving Nigeria’s REDD+ Strategy” which held on the 11th-12th of November, 2020, at Top Rank Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria.
The high-level policy meeting which was called at the instance of the Nigerian National REDD+ office had participants from Total Oil, the National Assembly, the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), representatives of the REDD+ states in Nigeria— Cross River, Ogun, Ondo, Nasarawa, Edo, Osun, Kaduna, and Plateau— , Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment(GLOBE) Nigeria, and other technical consultants.
In their respective presentations, representatives of the private sector and State Coordinators of REDD+ lamented the fact that the absence of strong laws that stipulate clearly the roles each person or institution must play has made the attainment of the objectives of the project weak especially as actions taken are shrouded in uncertainty since they can be overturned on the whims of anyone especially after a change of personnel in government.
They therefore called for support from members of the National Assembly to enact new laws and amend existing ones in order to give the programme the needed legislative backing.
In his speech, the Acting National Coordinator of GLOBE Nigeria, Mr. Nnaemeka Oruh pointed out that part of the activities lined up by GLOBE for the next year, as part of the implementation of its GLOBE-UNEP-GEF project “GLOBE Legislators Advancing REDD+ and Natural Capital Governance Towards the Delivery of the 2030 Agenda” was the mapping of relevant laws that relate to REDD+, Natural Capital Accounting, and the Great Green Wall Initiative, with the aim working with GLOBE Legislators to amend them and where necessary, enact a new law. Mr. Oruh stressed that this will only be possible after building the capacity of the Legislators which is something GLOBE plans to do by next year. State coordinators while applauding the plan, called for such plans to be scaled down to state legislatures as most of the issues surrounding REDD+ are on the concurrent list in Nigeria.
In his response, the National Coordinator of REDD+ Nigeria, Dr. Moses Ama expressed his happiness at the nature of the work being done by GLOBE and pledged to continue to work with the organization to achieve the REDD+ objectives in Nigeria.
Highlight of the meeting was the agreement that GLOBE Nigeria should send a draft copy of the Climate Change Bill which the President of GLOBE Nigeria is sponsoring, to the REDD+ national secretariat so that at least a section on REDD+ can be included. The Climate Change Bill has passed second reading at the house of Representatives and has been committed to the Committee of the whole.