Nigeria Moves To Restore 4 Million Degraded Forest

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The Honourable Minister of State Environment Chief Sharon Ikeazor

The Federal Government said it will soon move to restore 4 million hectares of degraded land forest and landscape, which is inline with its commitment to the Africa Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative, (AFR100).

It however said that this would only be achievable through stakeholders’ collaboration that would create an enabling environment for the exchange of information relating to successful implementation through its various engagements.

The Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, disclosed this at the Formal Inauguration of the AFR100 National Stakeholders Platform on Degraded Forest and Landscape Restoration in Nigeria, held in Abuja on Thursday.

Ikeazor said the AFR100 would accelerate achievement of food security, increase climate change resilience and mitigation as well as combat rural poverty.

The Minister added that: “This will not only contribute to the UN decade on ecosystem restoration but will also deliver on the objectivities of the three global Multilateral Environmental Agreements, that is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, UNCCD and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, UNCBD.”

She noted that landscape restoration is not limited to planting trees, it is about restoring the whole landscape and involves several sectors such as agriculture, livestock, forest and the environment, town planning and housing, water and sanitation, energy, tourism and land use planning.

She said that “the platform would serve as a framework for exchange of experience, sharing of results and dissemination of information on the restoration of forest and degraded landscapes in Nigeria to track and monitor progress thereby subscribing to the Bonn challenge barometer.”

She added that: “After more than four years since Nigeria joined the AFR100 imitative, the government through the Federal Ministry of Environment with the Department of Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought Management as the focal department for the AFR100 initiative is here to inaugurate the AFR100 national stakeholder’s platform to foster collaboration among MDA’S public and private Oragnisation, CBO’s, NGO’s, as this would enhance coordination of restoration activities and strengthen partnership.”

She claimed that collective commitment towards sustainable land management practices would help conserve and restore the Nigeria environment and make the country vulnerable to climate change.

Ikeazor said each year, 13 billion hectares of forest are lost to land conversion for agriculture uses such as pasture and cropland.

She lamented that: “This has detrimental effects on regional water availability, soil fertility, biodiversity, and climate change. More than 70% of all natural ecosystems have been transformed to produce food and animal, illegal logging is threatening forest worldwide, home to several indigenous people, communities and wildlife.”

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Environment, Mr Hassan Musa, said the AFR100 stakeholder platform would create awareness, promote sustainable practice, and serve as frame work for the exchange of experience as well as sharing of results and dissemination of information on restoration activities in the country.

It would also present an opportunity for public and private sectors to demonstrate large scale of transformative action to restore degraded land.

He said; “A national stakeholder’s platform for forest Landscape Restoration was convinced to help harmonise and integrate various interventions on restoration in the country, to accelerate restoration practices towards achieving the commitments to the African Forest Initiative, AFR100 and the Bonn challenge.”

He also commended the development partners especially the United Nations Development Program UNDP for sponsoring this meeting to foster collaboration amongst stakeholders and hasten the restoration of degraded forest and landscapes.

AFR100 Regional Coordinator for West Africa, Dr Oluseynou Ndoye commended the Nigerian government for taking the decision to restore 4m hectares of degraded land forest and land by 2030, being the second largest engagement in West Africa.

He noted that exceeding the objective of the initial commitment, 33 technical partners and 12 financial partners support the initiative.

“The AFR100 Initiative responds to the Africa Union mandate to restore 100million hectares of degraded forest and land by 2030. It is a contribution to Agenda 2063 which is the African continents strategic framework for an inclusive and sustainable development, ” Dr Ndoye added.

The Africa Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative, AFR100 is a country led effort to restore 100m hectares of forest and degraded landscape across Africa by 2030, to date 32 countries have pledged to restore 128million hectares thus surpassing the commitment goal.

It is a pan Africa initiative aimed at restoring 100m hectares of degraded forest and land by the year 2030.

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