Requirements and Realities of REDD+ Implementation in Nigeria
Author(s): Udeme Olayinka Olaniyan, Paul Dargusch, David Wadley
Negotiations and decisions of the 2007 and 2010 Conference of the Parties (COP) sessions at Bali and Cancun enabled participants to develop pilot projects leading into a national strategy on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) ‘Readiness’. REDD+ provides incentives for countries to receive payments for restraining greenhouse gas emissions through forest conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks. The overarching Warsaw Framework on REDD+ set at COP19 in 2013 provided guidelines for how countries can work towards eligibility for results-based payments for carbon savings from REDD+. It included seven points covering governance issues, approaches to reference emissions level estimation, forest inventory and reporting obligations. In this paper we examine the case of REDD+ in Nigeria by assessing how effectively that nation has implemented the Warsaw Framework requirements. We determine that the country’s over-ambitious political motivation for REDD+ affected not only the practical design of its National Strategy but also distracted management from establishing adequate safeguards for the program. Lack of capacity in advanced modeling hindered the establishment of the forest emissions reference level. That step was essential to enabling payments for reported and verified emission reduction outcomes. We reveal that national circumstances like forest governance, capacity, and political factors significantly influenced the effectiveness of pilot programs. From the Nigerian case, we maintain that effective REDD+ pilot programs should ensure that there is: full and active engagement with relevant stakeholders; a comprehensive review of forest management policies and regulations to establish a reliable forest reference level; a rigorous and robust national forest monitoring system; and safeguards to assist implementation and distribute carbon benefit-sharing rights.