The United Nations Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP26) which is centered on the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Dialogue has facilitated the collaboration of over 20 countries to commit to protecting the world’s forests and natural habitats from destruction.
The 23 countries including Nigeria, European, Asian and Latin American countries have vowed to work together to ensure the preservation of the world’s forest and also enhance agricultural productivity.
In a statement signed by the Press and Public Affairs Officer of the British Deputy High Commission, Lagos, Ndidiamaka Eze, she said the FACT dialogue brought together key countries which buy and produce products such as beef, soy and palm oil hence leading to agreement on how those products can be traded more sustainably.
“The landmark is the result of collaborative action on an issue that is complex but also critical to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and limiting a global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“International trade in agricultural commodities like palm oil, soy and beef, is worth over $80b yearly. Globally, 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods, many of them in developing countries,” Eze said.
She further noted that Nigeria is a producer and consumer of forest risk agricultural commodities. While Nigeria produces her cocoa and palm oil, she also imports palm oil from Southeast Asia, Eze added.
She further stated that forests are the largest natural carbon sink and a vital harbor of biodiversity but are fast disappearing.
According to her, Nigeria has one of the highest rates of deforestation globally as it loses approximately 350,000 – 400,000 hectares yearly.
She, however, added that via programmes such as Investments in Forests and Sustainable Land-Use (IFSLU), the UK government is supporting a shift to sustainable supply chains for agricultural commodities associates with deforestation, creating new investment opportunities in sustainable land use through a public-private partnership.
“The UK Government is keen to intensify our partnership with Nigeria to ensure an inclusive vision and effective action for sustainable agriculture, forests and land use economy, these areas have the potential to address major barriers to development around poverty, food and nutrition insecurity, unemployment, environmental degradation and instability,” she said.
COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma in his remark said: “The FACT Dialogue has much work ahead to deliver on its objectives as we move towards COP26. But the publication of today’s joint statement marks a highly important first step in laying the foundation for our work.
“To have brought so many countries together, both producers and consumers, and to plan a way forward on sustainable trade is a fantastic start. I am confident that this is just the beginning as we work to protect trade and development, and our biodiversity-rich forests, in equal measure.”
Also, British High Commissioner, Catriona Laing said: “In Nigeria, the UK is working with the Federal Government, the private sector and with local communities across the country to promote investment in climate-smart practices and business models that will help reduce emissions, increasing productivity and build climate resilience.
“Nigeria’s active engagement in the COP26 FACT Dialogue and their endorsement of the joint statement is very welcome. We look forward to more collaborations like this as we continue to work together towards a common goal of sustainably producing agricultural commodities.”