As part of effort to document its activities on climate change, Cross River State governor, Senator Ben Ayade, has called on UN-REDD+ programme to establish a desk office in the state as a leading state not only in Nigeria but in Africa.
The governor made the appeal when he received the Chief Technical Adviser, Nigeria UN REDD, Mr. Allen Turner, in his office on a courtesy call.
Ayade explained that the state needed the agency’s inputs and advice on how to succeed on REDD+ because the state is ready to provide funds for the world to see it is doing its best in that regards.
According to him, “Africa has continued to bear the brunt of climate change in spite of the fact that her contribution has been minimal. Africa remains that little young child that is helpless, bearing the brunt of climate change in spite of the fact that they are not the major contributors.
I can imagine the effort that we are putting with over 600,000 hectares of forest as a state. It is disturbing because we are forest-dependent, we are starting a Green Police. We are putting in place so much to sustain the forest. We are starting a Green Festival and it has never happened before.”
The governor disclosed that the carnival which will be held during the 32-day Calabar Festival, is in the spirit of REDD with about 10,000 people carrying young plants, dressed in green which depicts a brand new forest of 10,000 trees and those who plant them will be encouraged to come back the following year to see they have grown after one year.
Ayade said the state will also sponsor a workshop in collaboration with UN REDD+ on how its programme could be successfully implemented in the state.
He, however, noted that “Of all of these efforts, we are still at the backdoor when it comes to funding, when it comes to access to funding, so it comes as a real shock to me that Brazil will be getting $1 million. Cross River should be encouraged with the men and materials as well as the roadmap to enable it show that it is committed to the programme.
Ayade averred that the only way the programme could succeed in the country is for REDD+ to establish an office in the state as it is prepared to sponsor a workshop which will drat its framework as operational guideline for it to succeed.
Chief Technical Adviser, Nigeria UN REDD+, Mr. Allen Turner, who analyzed the plan of the agency in the state, commended Ayade for his leadership role in ensuring Cross River becomes a model in Nigeria and Africa at large, thereby becoming a centre for excellence.
Turner further disclosed that the state will play host to the REDD+ Academy which will be attended by 25 countries later in October.
Senior Regional Technical Adviser for Africa on UN REDD, Elsie Attafuah, explained that REDD+ was complex and offers opportunities but requires new thinking to do it differently in order to leverage on the opportunities that come with it, advising that it should be seen as a development strategy and not something that the state should depend upon.
Attafuah said the programme was ready to partner the state as its importance could not be overemphasized to serve as livelihood to the host communities.
Attafuah said the state must show its readiness to have strategy, forest reference system and monitoring system in place