Nigerian forest communities act to reduce carbon emissions
An IDRC-funded research project helped forest communities in Cross River State, southeastern Nigeria, identify the conditions necessary for programs to successfully reduce carbon emissions in their communities. The study was also a means to inform local decision-makers about what communities needed to improve their livelihoods in a sustainable way.
The collaborative project between One Sky Canadian Institute for Sustainable Living and the African Integral Development Network assessed the perceptions of local communities about carbon emissions offset schemes. Researchers encouraged forest communities to voice their views on ways an international initiative known as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) might be implemented locally.
Under REDD, stakeholders in developed countries are looking to offset their carbon emissions by paying poorer forest communities to conserve and protect their own forest resources. Supporters of the initiative believe that it can compensate vulnerable forest communities whose livelihoods are affected by carbon emissions. In 2011, the United Nations officially recognized Cross River State as “REDD-ready.” The state government has since been considering REDD as a possible strategy for forest conservation and sustainable livelihoods.
Researchers identified a set of rules and conditions necessary for REDD to enhance forest communities’ livelihoods. Research findings were shared at a stakeholders’ forum that brought together local leaders, government officials, and civil society representatives. At the forum, officials, representatives, and REDD advocates heard first-hand the communities’ perspectives on the scheme.
Nigeria’s UN-REDD National Program was officially launched in August 2012 by the Minister of the Environment, the Governor of Cross River State, and UN representatives. Findings from the IDRC-supported research are expected to inform the implementation of the program in Cross River State.