Abuja, 20/07/2022: Nigerian Stakeholders Call for Cross-sectoral Actions to Address Land Degradation and Deforestation


Stakeholders from Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of the federal government of Nigeria, Civil Society Organisatiuons, Youths, staff of the National Assembly, the private sector, media, and international funding agencies have taken a stand on the actions they must initiate to urgently address Nigeria’s menacing land degradation and deforestation issues.

This was at a stakeholders’ workshop convened by Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment(GLOBE) Nigeria at Reiz Continental Hotel, Abuja on July 20, 2022. 

Welcoming participants to the one-day high level event, the President of GLOBE Nigeria, Rep. Sam Onuigbo, charged the stakeholders to take seriously the conversation bearing in mind that their resolutions will be critical in addressing significant issues such as food insecurity and shortages, the Sahel conflicts, and ultimately position Nigeria on a path of food security while also helping in the mitigation of climate change. 

Speaking on the focus of the workshop, National Coordinator of GLOBE Nigeria, Nnaemeka Oruh, who pointed out that about 670 million people globally may face hunger and 750 million people displaced in Africa by 2030 due to drought and loss of arable land, said the workshop gives the stakeholders the chance to identify pathways for the rehabilitation of degraded lands and afforestation in Nigeria and also prescribe specific responsibilities of stakeholders in line with the recommendations of GLOBE GGWI and REDD+ diagnostic reports.

Mr Oruh pointed out that in its bid to drive for the implementation of the recommendations of the knowledge products launched on October 14, 2021 by GLOBE, the organisation is currently working with the National Assembly to pass the following amendments and Bill: amendments to the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (Establishment) Act 2007, the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act, National Agency for the Great Green Wall Establishment Act, Environmental Impact Assessment Act, and a new Bill for Natural Capital Accounting

There were presentations on “Addressing Nigeria’s Deforestation and land degradation issues: REDD+ and the Role of Stakeholders”; “Addressing Nigeria’s land degradation issues: The GGWI Pathway and the Role of Stakeholders”; and “The ACReSAL Project in Nigeria”.

In a remark made by Dr Iganya Joy Agene, Senior Environmental Specialist, World Bank (Nigeria), she commended the Federal Government of Nigeria on the steps taken towards addressing land degradation and deforestation issues in Nigeria. According to her, the stakeholders’ workshop organized by GLOBE is an opportunity for the federal government and her partners to discuss the critical role of stakeholders in addressing land degradation and deforestation issues in line with the country's commitment to restore 4 million hectares of land by 2030.  She stressed on the need for the World Bank to work jointly with GLOBE in a deliberate collaboration to address land degradation and deforestation in Nigeria as part of the World Bank’s efforts in supporting Nigeria's commitment of 40 restoring million hectares of degraded land by 2030.

The meeting rose with a communiqué by the stakeholders:

Position Paper by Stakeholders on Nigeria’s Drive to Address Land Degradation and Deforestation at the end of GLOBE’s Workshop on the “Critical Role of Stakeholders in Addressing Nigeria’s Land Degradation and Deforestation Issues” Which Held at Reiz Continental Hotel, Abuja Nigeria on July 20, 2022. 

There is a manner in which Nigeria can address the issues of food insecurity, land degradation, deforestation, and climate change mitigation through sustainable and nature-based pathways which harp on conserving Nigeria’s biodiversity. 

This is the position of stakeholders from Ministries, Departments, and Agencies of government, Civil Society Groups, Youths, staff of the National Assembly, the private sector, media, international funding agencies, at a one-day workshop on the role of stakeholders in addressing Nigeria’s land degradation and deforestation issues convened by Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE) Nigeria on July 20, 2022, in Abuja, Nigeria. 

The stakeholders, at the end of the workshop developed and agreed to the following which must be monitored and pushed for implementation by them: 

·        That GLOBE’s knowledge products namely Readiness Study on Nigeria's National Capacity on REDD+ Governance and Legislation and Diagnostic Study of the Legislative and Institutional Framework of the Great Green Wall and its Activities in Nigeria contain salient recommendations on how to strengthen the country’s REDD+ programme and the GGWI. 

·        That the REDD+ programme, the Great Green Wall Initiative in Nigeria, and recently, the Agro-climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) are critical nature-based pathways through which land degradation which has led to loss of livelihood for agro-communities and food shortages for the country at large can be addressed in the country. Moreso, the restoration of degraded lands and afforestation drives of these programmes can serve as means of mitigating climate change and adapting to it and of enhancing Nigeria’s biodiversity. In fact, if properly designed and implemented, they can be the practical mechanisms through which the objectives of the three Rio Conventions and many of the nature-dependent Sustainable Development Goals can be delivered in synergy.

·        That government must create an enabling environment for communities and citizens to freely express themselves around issues on land degradation and deforestation leveraging the FOI Act.

·        That it is the responsibility of government to promote synergy at all levels of Governance (Federal, State, LGA) on land degradation and afforestation issues.

·        That government must intensify efforts on wildlife management and biodiversity conservation in line with international and domestic obligations and standards. 

·        That efforts must be made by government to create alternatives to deforestation through price reduction for clean energy, effective regulation, and promotion of sanctions.

·        That there is need for partnerships by all stakeholders—private sector, public, CSO, CBOs, the international community, FBOs, etc. 

·        That grassroots participation must be encouraged through public education, engagement, and awareness creation programmes.

·        That manufacturers should make their activities climate-smart by operating within the provision of green policies and standards and where they default, enabling laws must be handy to enforce compliance.

·        That the private sector must invest in private forestry— afforestation exercises, land restoration exercises— as part of their corporate social responsibilities.

·        That CSOs will also serve as monitoring and evaluation organs for all degradation and deforestation in Nigeria— a watchdog sort of.

·        That there is an all-round necessity for openness and information sharing both by the MDAs, private sector, and the CSOs.