Stakeholders from relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Nigeria, with their counterparts from the National Assembly administration were convened by GLOBE Nigeria in Abuja, the nation’s capital, to identify and adopt urgent legislative legislative actions to take, to help drive the country’s efforts at achieving the objectives of its REDD+ programme, the mainstreaming of environmental economic accounting, and the activities related to the Great Green Wall Initiative.
The stakeholders included delegates from the Federal Ministry of Environment, the National REDD+ Secretariat, National Agency for the Great Green Wall, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the National Bureau of Statistics, the bureaucracy of the National Assembly and private sector representatives.
Speaking at the commencement of the meeting, the National Coordinator of GLOBE Nigeria, Mr Nnaemeka Oruh, explained that the organisation had called all stakeholders together so that as a team, they reviewed the recommendations from the knowledge products launched at the National Assembly of Nigeria on October 14, 2021; identified the low-hanging legislative recommendations, and moved towards effecting them expeditiously. He explained that this should be the focus of all stakeholders committed to the project for the remainder of the project cycle.
The President of GLOBE Nigeria, and originator of Nigeria’s Climate Change Act, Rep. Samuel Onuigbo, called on the stakeholders to take seriously the task before them as Nigeria is now on an irreversible path to climate-resilience, biodiversity and forest conservation, and all-round evolution into a green and sustainable economy. He promised that as always, he and GLOBE legislators will work relentlessly to ensure that whatever legislative actions adopted by the group as urgent, will be given undivided attention.
Responding on behalf of the stakeholders, the National Coordinator of Nigeria’s REDD+ Programme, Dr. Moses Ama, applauded GLOBE Nigeria for the efforts made to ensure that for the first time, REDD+ in Nigeria was given legal backing in Nigeria’s Climate Change Act. He urged all the stakeholders to take seriously the meeting as he has seen that GLOBE always delivers on its commitments.
The review meeting identified amendments to existing Acts and requested for the drafting of a new Bill for Natural Capital Accounting in the country. Some of the amendments requested include: amendment of Section 61 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act to include biological offset planting as part of mitigation measures; provision of another section which mandates the Federal Ministry of Environment to publish the National State of Environment Report every five years and provide a template for the States and Local Government Areas to do the same and establish and host a National Environmental Impact Data System as public records on the environment sector.
Follow up with the committee on Environment to confirm if proposals made for inclusion in the Forestry Act amendment in view of the recommendations of the REDD+ study have been included and galvanize GLOBE Nigeria legislators to push for prompt passage. This will require to review the draft of the National Forest Policy Bill which is with the Ministry of Environment and ensure that it is overarching, and then galvanize GLOBE Nigeria legislators to push for its introduction to the National Assembly for passage. Nigeria’s National REDD+ Secretariat will run point on this.
As regards environmental economic accounting, in addition to earlier recommendations for the amendment of Section 5 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (EIA), it is important to do the following: i. Amend Section 61 of the Act to include biological offset planting as part of mitigation measures; ii. Provide another section which mandates the Federal Ministry of Environment to publish the National State of Environment Report every five years and provide a template for the States and Local Government Areas to do the same and establish and host a National Environmental Impact Data System as public records on the environment sector.
These must be included quickly and pushed through. GLOBE Nigeria secretariat is to liaise with the Committee on Environment on this. In addition, it is important to look at the interpretation section of the Act and amend as adequate.
As regards the enhancement of regulatory framework of the Great Green Wall and of biodiversity conservation more broadly, it was agreed to focus on:
1. Amending Section 3(1)(e) of the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (Establishment) Act 2007 by indicating that the three other persons to represent public interests to be appointed by the Minister of Environment shall be representatives of the environmental civil society groups, the academia and someone from the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).
2. Following up on the ongoing amendment of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act at the Ministry of Mines Steel Development and Solid Minerals to ensure that the amendments suggested in the Great Green Wall Readiness Study are effected. The amendments concern the inclusiveness, accountability and transparency in the State Minerals Resources and Management Committee; the exclusion of areas of high conservation value and high carbon stocks or endangered ecological communities and areas of critically endangered species beyond national parks; the removal of rights to cut down trees for domestic usage by holders of exploration licenses; the clarification of the meaning of 'forestry officers' and of the obligation to undertake offset planting.
The GLOBE Nigeria Secretariat and the Committee on Environment will follow up on the progress for the following Bills already laid at the National Assembly: “National Forestry Trust Fund (Establishment, etc.) Bill”, and “A Bill for an Act to Regulate the Profession of Forestry in Nigeria and for Related Matters”.