This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Nigeria Country Manager Peter Hansen
Environmental NGOs are certainly less pervasive in Nigeria compared to other Climate Scorecard Countries. However, there a handful of them that are doing the necessary work despite a severe lack of funding. The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) is a climate NGO fighting to protect the country’s environment. In fact, it was one of the Nigeria’s first environmental NGOs as it was founded in 1980 by the late Chief S. L. Edu.
NCF has a vision of “A Nigeria where people prosper while living in harmony with nature.” In order to accomplish this vision, NCF has three missions:
- Preserving the full range of Nigeria’s biodiversity which include species, ecosystems, and genetic biodiversity.
- Promoting sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of the present and future generations.
- Advocating for actions that minimize pollution and wasteful utilization of renewable resources.
NCF is regarded as one of the best environmental NGOs in the country. Currently, they have projects in 9 different states ranging from the Participatory Forest Management Project in Taraba State to the Lekki Conservation Center in Lagos State, which is actually where the headquarters are for NCF. Their best practice climate project would have to be the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) in Edo state.
The BAP is a “…pilot participatory natural resources management project and livelihood support programme for communities around Urhonigbe and Gele Gele Forest Reserves in Edo State” (NCF Website). The project was started in 2007 with funding from the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC). It is unsurprising that energy companies in Nigeria are funding projects like this one since it mitigates their detriment to the local communities and makes for good press. BAP focuses in on three areas: 1) forest regeneration, 2) livelihood enterprise development, and 3) community-based governance for natural resources management.
Forest regeneration efforts began by doing extensive surveys and delineating 36,300 hectares of land for the Gele-Gele Forest Reserve. They also started producing indigenous seedlings and now have over 50,000. Additionally, NCF planted 12.1km of trees bordering the reserve.
The livelihood enterprise development program has focused on growing environmentally friendly agro-based small-scale sustainable business enterprises. They have provided over 5 million naira to help start agrobusinesses. Additionally, they have donated a significant number of tree seedlings and cassava graters to cassava producers.
The community based governance program has been a great way to keep decisions being made on the Gele-Gele Forest Reserve in the hands of locals. The program has created a committee composed of representatives from 36 different communities that work to ensure the sustainability of the reserve. Each committee requires having a woman holding a leadership position.
The Biodiversity Action Plan in Edo state is a great way to move towards a more sustainable future in Nigeria. Although it was only a pilot program, its success signifies that it should be replicated in other areas of Nigeria and western Africa. It is also important to make sure when you are implementing these projects that you are not negatively affecting the Indigenous people in the area. By creating a decision-making governance program, it will keep the power in the hands of the people who deserve it.
Please reach out to NCF at email@example.com in order to ask why similar projects to BAP have not been implemented since BAP started in 2007. We have not seen anything similar since.