By Kayode Aboyeji
As the coast appears clear for implementation of Nigeriaâ€™s pilot Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in Cross River State, a financial analyst, Kwame Awere-Gyeke, has made a case for the establishment of REDD+ specific Fund at the national level.
Such move, he argued, would enable the country to receive and channel all the potential finances from the various sources- public, private, domestic, regional and international into the Fund.
Essentially, he stressed, the fund should be operated by an existing bank of repute such as the Central Bank of Nigeria. Besides, to ensure transparency and accountability, the fund should be managed by a multi-stakeholder body comprising representatives from government, private sector, civil society and communities among others.
Awere-Gyeke in a presentation on Financing, Incentives and Benefits Sharing, at the validation workshop on Integrated Analyses for a REDD+ Strategy in Nigeria held in Calabar, Cross River State recently, explained that the fund should also be audited by an independent group of reputable auditors annually and the audit findings wide publiscised. â€œThis is with a view to rid the fund of corruptions among other potential malpracticesâ€.
He went further, â€œWith the plethora of financing sources available to implement REDD+, Nigeria may need to make strategic choices in other to raise finance for investment into REDD+ activities, e.g she will have to blend finance from various sources to achieve a kind of crowed funding to generate sufficient funding for implementation. Nigeria will also have to strategically mobilize and use public finance to leverage private sector investments in REDD+ activities.
â€œThere are many opportunities for resource mobilization but equally there are many challenges. Existing climate finance, both bilateral and multilateral, appear to offer a lot of opportunity for REDD+ implementation but the analysis has showed that Nigeria has not accessed most of the existing climate finance and may need to build capacity for that purpose. She also needs to develop an integrated financing strategy early in the process to guide resources mobilization which should be a systematic activity within the REDD+ initiative,â€
Awere-Gyeke added that a National Carbon Fund should be established at federal level to receive funds from international and domestic sources for distribution as incentive to deserving stakeholders for the implementation of the REDD+ initiative.
He suggested that a Carbon Registry to index and document all carbon projects and transactions should be established at federal level.
It would be recall that the Federal Government, reinforced by pioneering efforts from Cross River State, began to engage in REDD+ in 2009 and signed an agreement with the UN-REDD programme in August 2012.
The programme is an international effort to create a financial value for the carbon stored in forests through offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development.