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Nigeria: 130 stakeholders endorse participatory monitoring as “the way to go” for REDD+
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The REDD+ mechanism is meant to promote and reward the conservation of forests, in a simultaneous effort for climate change mitigation, ecosystem protection, community development and poverty reduction. The “REDD+ University” held on 19-21 March in Calabar, Cross River State (the pioneer state in Nigeria for REDD+) was an event intended to foster understanding and multi-stakeholder dialogue on REDD+. The event attracted more than 130 stakeholders from Nigeria and beyond: community representatives, academics and students, government officials, civil society activists, journalists, private sector entrepreneurs and REDD+ stakeholders from other African countries.
Mutual trust and appreciation is crucial in order for governments and stakeholders to produce credible information on how governance and social safeguards are respected in the national REDD+ process. This advantage of participatory governance assessments (PGAs) over externally-led or single party assessments was greatly appreciated by participants during the University. PGAs for REDD+ emphasize the inclusion of various stakeholders (government officials, civil society actors, forest-dependent communities, national data and fiduciary control agencies, academia, and the media, among others) from the very beginning of the process, to ensure that there is a broad-based agreement on the governance indicator framework developed and on the methodology used to collect data.
As a diagnostic tool to help provide baseline governance information about the level of Nigeria’s preparedness in implementing REDD+; the PGAs will help achieve the following objectives, endorsed by the stakeholders who took part in the REDD+ University:
To assess the existence and implementation of adequate policies and legislations necessary for the effective implementation of REDD+ and more generally, for the sustainable management of forests;
To assess the institutional capacity of government agencies at federal, state and local levels to implement the REDD+ Programme and sustainable forest management (SFM) policies;
To assess the existence and effectiveness of an anti-corruption strategy specifically designed for REDD+;
To assess the existence and effectiveness of mechanisms established for meaningful participation by forest-dependent communities in the implementation of REDD+;
To assess the existence and implementation of the benefit distribution system for REDD+ in terms of its transparency and fairness in distribution of benefits to the concerned stakeholders.
The development of the PGA methodology for Nigeria will start in early June, and the first round of data collection in Cross River State should be completed by the end of 2012.