The United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, has facilitated the planting of 600 red mangrove trees across three communities in Bakassi local government area, Cross River State.
The tree planting exercise, which was undertaken by a local implementing agency known as Green Planet International, GPII, was in compliance with the United Nations Reduced Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation Plus, UNREDD+, initiative.
The Executive Director of Green Planet International, Godwin Ugah said “the agency decided to plant the trees in Edik Idem, Esuk Okon and Akwa Esuk Iyamba of Bakassi local government a rea as UNREDD+ pilot Communities”.
According to Ugah, “the project which is funded by the UNDP and Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program, but implemented by GPII to make sure a better climatic condition in these selected mangrove communities of Bakassi is restored to compliment the Conference of the Parties, COP21, protocols on climate change”.
Ugah hinted that the project would further enhance the five million trees goals of Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, noting that coastal communities in the State and Nigeria in general were affected by loss of the mangrove.
“Over the years, these communities have been exposed to unprecedented environmental challenges such as deforestation of the mangrove ecosystem through overexploitation of the forest for fire wood. All around coastal communities in Nigeria, there are cases of Nipa Palm invasion, flooding, water pollution from illegal oil bunkering, poverty and unemployment,” GPII boss remarked.
He explained that the agency was committed to promoting activities that would mitigate climate change as well as improve lives of community dwellers.
The tree planting exercise also featured the distribution of 300 energy saving stoves to families across the three villages.
The GPII leader, during the distribution at Akwa Esuk Iyamba village, said “our aim includes the promotion of integrated participatory mitigation measures and economically viable community development initiatives”.
Ugah stated that, “This serves as a catalyst to bolster the incoming of resources and capacity to the indigenous peoples and other forest-dependent communities thereby empowering them to engage in national REDD+ activities.”
He added that the stoves would enable the women use very little firewood, coal and briquette made from sawdust to cook rather than depend entirely on the mangrove forest for what he referred to as ‘kerosene firewood’ – wood that burns fiercely without use of accelerant.