Thursday, 13 June 2019

Ayade gets commendation as CRS stakeholders strategise for UNREDD+ investment stage

Government News Source|13 June 2019 

To ensure effective implementation of the Governors' Climate and Forest Task Force (GCFTF) funded project for UNREDD+ investment phase in Cross River State, relevant Stakeholders have robustly engaged with the State REDD Technical Committee to identify and prioritize areas of intervention within the major drivers of deforestation. Just as Governor Ben Ayade has been highly commended for his contributions to climatic change development.

In an inception meeting held recently at Transcorps Hotel, Calabar, the Stakeholders discussed extensively and made group presentations on possible outline and content of the investment plan as well as identified opportunities and gaps in agricultural, forestry, energy, private and policy sectors.

Declaring the meeting open, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change and Forestry and also the Chairman, State REDD Technical Committee, Mr. Timothy Akwaji maintained that Cross River is the most blessed State in Nigeria, with rich forests that serves as carbon sink and a unique ecosystem that qualified the state as one of the biodiversity hotspot in Africa.

Mr. Akwaji stated further that as a renowned environmentalist, Governor Ayade has left no stone unturned in his climate change mitigation approach, stressing that the State has a strong political will to address environmental issues.

The Committee Chairman recounted conservation efforts of the State Government to include; the 5million annual tree planting mandate on the Climate Change and Forestry Ministry, the moratorium to curb illegal logging and the introduction of Green Sheriff to ensure appropriate protection of her environment. 

Emphasizing that the State is the most active member of the GCFT and also a member of the under 2 coalition, the Chairman called for more support from the international community in areas of alternative livelihoods to forest bearing communities, forests regeneration programme and funding.

The UNREDD State Coordinator, Mr. Patrick Coco Bassey noted that the meeting was to strengthen participation of the various stakeholders in the programme, harmonize policies, draw an investment plan and mobilize fund for the project.

He lauded the Technical committee for her consistency and sued for practical contributions from the various sectors.

Also speaking, the REDD+ National Coordinator, Mr. Moses Ama applauded the State's commitment towards the programme, adding that the State has all it takes to access available openings for funding and so should not relent on its efforts.

In a power point presentation, the UNDP coordinator of the GCFTF fund, Alexis Arthur highlighted the principles for the 400 thousand USD (window A) grant to include government-led projects, encouragement of local knowledge, content and foundation, long-term civil servant capacity building for implementation and innovation.

She assured that the second phase of the grant (window B) will come up after the window A has been concluded and expressed utmost satisfaction at the hospitality accorded her as well as the serene environment of the Cross River State.

Similarly, the UNREDD+ Regional Technical Adviser, Wahida Shah commended the inclusive involvement of stakeholders in the State technical committee. She encouraged that while expecting the Green Climate Fund and other financing partners, the State should take advantage of the Governors' Climate and Forest Task Force fund to implement the investment phase of the programme.

Also speaking, the immediate past commissioner for Climate Change and Forestry, Dr. Alice Ekwu informed that Cross River State has been declared the centre of excellence because of its commitments at all levels.

She expressed happiness that the State was kick-starting the REDD investment stage after carrying out series of awareness creation activities in the readiness stage. 

UNREDD Consultants who also made presentations include: Mr. Tony Attah, Dr. Adedoyin Simon and Barr. Sylvester Okonofua. 

The participants comprised stakeholders from all sectors: the State Government, Federal Ministry of Environment, Traditional rulers, Civil Society, Local Government Councils, Academia, the private sector, Cocoa farmers Association, Timber dealers association and financial institutions.

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