L-R: Amakiri Ekine of Sabatoru Community; Ifiola Robert; Iselema Gbaranbiri, commissioner for Environment, Bayelsa State; Tijjani Zakirai, Rep of the Nigeria REDD+ and Jegede PraiseGod , Otakeme community women leader at a recent community engagement in Bayelsa state.
Bayelsa State has made significant progress towards its inclusion in Nigeria’s national REDD+ programme, a strategy launched by the country at COP26 to reduce emissions and save the Nigerian forest.
The effort is championed by the African Centre for Climate Actions and Rural Development Initiative (ACCARD) and Terra Global Capital – a US-based climate finance investment organisation aimed at promoting forest and biodiversity conservation and enhancement of livelihood for forest-dependent communities in Bayelsa.
Moses Ama, national coordinator and Nigeria’s REDD+ focal person, during the community engagement held recently in the state commended the Bayelsa state government for its readiness to kick-start a REDD+ programme.
Ama who was represented by Tijjani Zakirai said the action of the state government will enhance conservation efforts, sustainable management of forests, and forest carbon stocks development, noting that the impact will have far-reaching benefits for the state, especially the Edumanon Forest Area Communities.
He stated that the state’s commissioner had disclosed earlier to officials of the National REDD+ that the stakeholders’ engagement was in continuation of ongoing REDD program enlightenment activities led by ACCARD, Terra Global Capital, and the Bayelsa government within Edumanun forest reserve on the importance of the forest conservation program.
He urged stakeholders and the communities involved to take the program seriously, adding that when it commences, it would not only tackle climate change but also create green jobs, provide them with alternative livelihoods, and boost tourism in the state.
Speaking also, Iselema Gbaranbiri, commissioner for Environment, Bayelsa state reiterated the commitment of Gov. Douye Diri to protect the ecological environment and biodiversity of the state.
Also, he stated that the governors unwavering support for the forest conservation program is aimed at sustainable forest management and mangrove protection in the state forests for future generations and fight against the effects of climate change caused by deforestation.
The commissioner added that as part of the government’s commitment to forestry matters, a new forestry protection bill has been drafted which will be passed into law in a matter of weeks.
Freeman Oluowo, the founder of ACCARD Initiative, Ere Wakedei, director of climate change, and Festus Egba, director of forestry in the Ministry of Environment, spoke on the importance of the forest and trees to human life and the urgent need to support the effort to conserving forest diversity through the proposed Bayelsa State Jurisdiction REDD program.
Freeman in his concluding words asked the associated communities to manage their immediate expectations by looking at the multi-benefits of the project in the future.
Erica Meta who spoke virtually on behalf of Terra Global Capital provides useful insights on Terra Global, the REDD+ investments plan, and the international standard with which the organisation operates and layout the stage-by-stage financing plan for the Bayelsa State Redd+ program.
REDD+ is an international framework that stands for ‘reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation of existing forest carbon stocks, sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.