Ecuador, not Nigeria, grabs $4m UN-REDD fund
Nigeria’s high expectations at accessing funds to effectively kickstart its National Programme for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) were somewhat dashed last week in far away Da Lat, Viet Nam, where a gathering of experts took stock of the climate change mitigation strategy.
But an innovative interim funding grant to the nation along with hopes for a better tomorrow seems to serve as a welcome consolation to the beleaguered delegates.
Upon the completion of a Draft National REDD Readiness Programme (DNRRP) last month in Abuja and Calabar, officials of the nation’s REDD Programme were optimistic that the document would scale through at the forthcoming UN-REDD Programme’s (URP) Policy Board Meeting (PBM).
However, during its sixth PBM that held from Monday to Wednesday, last week, the URP instead approved $4 million in funding for Ecuador, apparently after the country’s sixth presentation.
Submissions by the URP Communications Officer, Cheryl Rosebush, indicated that Nigeria might not have been in consideration for funding approval as, according to her, the country’s representatives, rather, made a presentation on Tuesday on how they had fared.
“During the second day of meetings, Nigeria presented progress in preparing its National REDD Programme, which the country will seek to present to the UN-REDD Programme Policy Board for funding approval at its next meeting,” she stated.
The seventh PBM will take place in October in Berlin, Germany.
The Nigerian delegation to Viet Nam comprised Salisu Dahiru, National REDD Programme Coordinator, who presented the DNRRP to the Policy Board in Da Lat; Odibo Ochuko, Special Assistant to the Environment Minister; Gebon Kataps, Taraba State Environment & Urban Development Commissioner, Odigha Odigha, Cross River State Forestry Commission Chairman; Peter Ikwem, Obudu Forest Community Leader, Cross River State and Tunde Morakinyo, Consultant to the Cross River State Government.
Kataps, a lawyer, however, shed some light on what transpired in the Nigerian camp during the three-day forum.
He said, “Nigeria’s DNRRP presentation to the Policy Board was received with great enthusiasm. Every country commended Nigeria for the speed, as well as the innovative approach that Nigeria intends to pursue, consisting in a blend of national and sub-national process in synergy.
“The Policy Board members look forward to a detailed reading of Nigeria’s programme and will provide comments to help with the finalising of the document.”
The finalisation of the document took longer than expected and the UN submitted with a slight delay. The UN-REDD secretariat had proposed that an electronic approval could be granted. However, a Policy Board member, based on past bad experiences, did not accept this option and proposed Nigeria to get approval at the next PBM.
“However, Nigeria was allowed to present the document but was given a concession to continue working on the document by incorporating all comments and recommendations made by the Policy Board. In addition, Nigeria was assured of priority consideration at the next PBM.
“This will not affect the Nigerian REDD Programme as the Policy Board has requested interim funding support to Nigeria from UNEP, UNDP and the Global Programme which is a new funding arrangement that was approved just yesterday. Nigeria is the first country to be granted this opportunity.
“The budget proposal of $4 million was retained as the official request of Nigeria and this will be accessed at the next PBM coming up in October in Berlin. This is a win-win situation for us since we are getting more money and more time. And there are no gaps in our road map.”
Nonetheless, an elated Marco Chiu, Undersecretary of Climate Change for Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment, stated that the financial and technical contribution of the UN-REDD Programme would allow Ecuador to match other sources of cooperation to finalise its REDD readiness phase.
He said, “Significant readiness components, including effective stakeholder engagement, are key elements of the UN-REDD Programme for Ecuador. The implementation of REDD constitutes a clear contribution to one of the environmental goals set out in Ecuador’s National Development Plan which is to reduce deforestation in the country.”
The $4 million Ecuador funding brings the total amount of approved funding for UN-REDD National Programmes to $55.4 million. In addition, a rather robust global package was endorsed at the PBM, providing further support to countries’ action on REDD.
According to Rosebush, these funds support the capacity of national governments to prepare and implement REDD strategies with the active involvement of all stakeholders, including Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities.
“The ultimate goal of these country-led REDD efforts is to contribute to the global fight against climate change. With this most recent funding allocation to Ecuador, the UN-REDD Programme is now providing direct support to 13 countries while also working with 16 other partner countries across Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean,” she stressed.
URP countries receiving direct support to National Programmes include: Bolivia, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ecuador, Indonesia, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, Tanzania, Viet Nam and Zambia.
Besides Nigeria, other partner countries are: Argentina, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Central African Republic, Colombia, Costa Rica, Gabon, Guatemala, Guyana, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Republic of Congo, Sri Lanka and Sudan.
The Policy Board welcomed Japan’s first funding commitment to the Programme of $3 million for the UN-REDD Global Programme, and a first-time funding pledge from the European Commission of approximately $14 million (€10 million). Norway affirmed its continued support to the UN-REDD Programme, pledging at least $40 million in new funding for 2011-2012.
The UN-REDD Programme Policy Board’s new co-chairs, Alexander Müller, Assistant Director-General of the Natural Resources Management and Environment Department at the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and Yetti Rusli, Senior Adviser to the Minister of Forestry on Environment and Climate Change in Indonesia, began the meeting with a statement expressing deep sympathy and condolences on behalf of the entire UN-REDD Programme for the government and people of Japan over the devastating earthquake and tsunamis that hit the country on 11 March.
“We wish the Japanese people strength and courage as they deal with the loss of life and severe damage in their country,” Müller had said.
At the start of the first day of the meeting, the Policy Board received introductory comments from Viet Nam’s Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Hua Duc Nhi, as well as the Chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee of Lam Dong Province, Hu?nh Ð?c Hoà, and the UNDP Country Director of Viet Nam, Setsuko Yamazaki. All three guest speakers underscored the remarkable inroads Viet Nam has made in designing and implementing it’s REDD strategy.
Also on the first day, the Policy Board endorsed the UN-REDD Global Programme’s five-year framework document, which details specific technical and targeted support to countries to further strengthen their action on REDD design and implementation.
Similarly, members and observers were briefed on progress so far made on UN-REDD programmes worldwide from the last PBM in Washington DC to Cancun and the Viet Nam PBM, including preparations for COP 17 in Durban, South Africa.
On the second day, the seven UN-REDD Programme partner countries currently implementing their National Programmes (Bolivia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Panama, Tanzania, Viet Nam and Zambia) engaged in an informative panel discussion, sharing progress and lessons learned to date.
The PBM was attended by 122 participants from 24 countries, including representatives from the Programme’s partner countries, Indigenous Peoples representatives and civil society organisations.
Representatives from donor countries – Norway, Denmark, Spain and Japan – as well as the European Commission were in attendance along with permanent observers from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Global Environment Facility, three Indigenous Peoples representatives and three civil society organisation representatives from Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean. Guest observers included representatives from Australia, the Bank Information Centre, Finland, Liberia, The Nature Conservancy, Uganda and the United Kingdom.
The URP is the United Nations collaborative initiative on REDD in developing countries. The Programme was launched in 2008 and builds on the “convening power and expertise” of the FAO, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The URP supports nationally-driven, nationally-led REDD processes and promotes the informed and meaningful involvement of all stakeholders, including Indigenous Peoples and other forest-dependent communities, in national and international REDD implementation. The programme also works to build international awareness and consensus about the importance of including REDD in a future climate change agreement.
Nigeria’s journey towards REDD readiness began in November, 2009 when the country requested to join the UN-REDD Programme as a partner. Nigeria was granted observer status in February, 2010.
The country then drew up a five-stage roadmap, even as a scoping mission was held in October 2010 in Calabar and Federal Ministry of Environment, Abuja.
A couple of weeks ago, Taraba (one of Nigeria’s 36 states) inaugurated its REDD Technical Committee in Jalingo, the state capital, and set out to draw up a six-month REDD readiness plan, to toe the path of Cross River, the nation’s first REDD pilot state.