Nigeria: Groups call for participation in forest activities
The Nigerian government should actively engage forest community dwellers and civil society groups in the ongoing Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, (REDD), negotiation process; and adopt community forest management practices as one of the concrete solutions to climate change.
This was one of the ten point resolutions reached at the one day strategic meeting on REDD held in Calabar, Cross River State, organized by the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) in collaboration with Rainforest Research Development Centre and GREENCODE. Participants at the meeting, which aimed to build the capacity of critical stakeholders to understand, analyse, criticize, and as necessary, resist the REDD scheme prior to its adoption in Nigeria; were drawn from non-governmental organizations, representatives of civil society groups, forests communities and students from Calabar.
In his opening remarks, Nnimmo Bassey, the Executive Director ERA/FoEN and Chair, Friends of the Earth International, FoEI, said that forests in Cross River State have been targeted for the REDD in Nigeria hence the need for participants to examine the process embarked upon by government and what the impacts will be on community forests and the environment. “Forests in Cross Rivers State including some of the few remaining tracks of mangrove and rainforest reserves in the world targeted for REDD are in grave danger due to lack of critical engagement in the scheme,” were some of the observations raised in a communiqué released after the meeting. Others include the assertions that REDD does not aim to stop deforestation and may, in fact, promote deforestation and conversion of forests into plantations; amongst others.
In recognition of the fact that forests play a key role in human lives, the participants further resolved that forests and REDD must be taken out of carbon markets; government at all levels in Nigeria should take honest and practical steps aimed at stopping deforestation and tackling climate change instead of gambling and trading with our forests; government should conduct Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on REDD-targeted forest communities among others.