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Nigeria loses about 86,700 hectares of forest

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Land degradation, drought, and desertification persist for a long time.

Iziaq Adekunle Salako, the Minister of State for Environment, has revealed that Nigeria saw a loss of 86,700 hectares of tropical Forest from 2010 to 2019. He shared this information in a statement marking World Environment Day, which is observed on June 5 each year. According to him, Nigeria has been grappling with significant challenges such as land degradation, drought, and Desertification for a long time. Deforestation has been a continuous problem over the last ten years, as shown by Global Forest Watch data indicating the loss.

Research findings indicate that without prompt intervention, about a quarter of the remaining forest will disappear by 2060, transforming a significant portion of the nation into barren and lifeless land. Preventing this outcome is imperative. Nigeria’s goal to achieve net-zero Emissions by 2060 was analysed in both the Deep Decarbonisation Report and the Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategy. These reports revealed that the AFOLU sector in Nigeria was responsible for the highest percentage of emissions, which is 30%, surpassing the oil and gas sector by 29%.

Nature-based solutions are valuable against climate change.

The minister emphasised the country’s focus on utilising nature-based solutions as a key strategy in tackling global warming, strengthening resilience to climate change, alleviating poverty, and driving Sustainable Development. This approach was in line with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda and the eight key areas of presidential priority. He emphasised the importance of Nigeria focusing on Renewable Energy to achieve its goal of Net Zero Emissions by 2060, stating that this transformation is essential not only for the energy sector but also for the AFOLU sector.

This strategic approach will enable Nigeria to grow its Economy while upholding its Sustainability objectives. Nigeria has made significant strides in utilising NbS to combat Climate Change. The current administration is dedicated to pushing boundaries by implementing nature-based solutions like ecosystem restoration and sustainable management to tackle problems like land degradation and climate change on a larger scale and faster. Salako mentioned various initiatives the country was utilising, including the REDD+ programme, the HYPREP mangrove restoration in Ogoniland, the Great Green Wall Initiative, natural capital accounting and the ACReSAL project as part of their efforts.

Financial support for initiatives in developing nations is essential.

He emphasised the importance of considering that climate impacts do not stop at borders, and efforts in one region can affect others. Investing in Nature-based Solutions (NbS) should be seen as a valuable contribution towards the global battle against climate change. Therefore, it is essential for wealthy nations to allocate substantial climate funding to promote NbS, not just in Nigeria but globally. Instead of considering them as acts of charity, these contributions should be seen as strategic investments, such as engaging in carbon trading.

Through these investments, the necessary financial support for initiatives in developing nations will be secured within a reciprocal arrangement. This rationale is a key factor in Nigeria’s participation in COP29 in Azerbaijan. Nigeria is focusing on enhancing its NDCs in 2025, prioritising the inclusion of NbS as a crucial component. It not only helps in mitigating change but also plays a significant role in meeting the livelihood needs of citizens, especially those in rural areas, addressing food insecurity, and attracting essential Climate Finance.

Related Article: Addressing Nigeria’s deforestation issue

Lastly, Community Engagement and participation play a vital role in the success of nature-based solutions in Nigeria. Involving local communities in decision-making processes, implementing sustainable land management practices, and promoting awareness about the importance of preserving natural ecosystems are key factors in ensuring the long-term success of conservation efforts. Taking ownership of conservation initiatives benefits the environment, encourages sustainable development, and enhances resilience to climate change impacts. By fostering a sense of stewardship among communities, Nigeria can ensure the preservation of its natural resources for future generations while promoting a harmonious relationship between people and the environment.


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