Nigeria has restated its commitment to protecting the world’s forests and natural habitats from destruction, in view of the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP26).
This initiative, centered on the Forest, Agriculture and Commodity Trade (FACT) Dialogue, has taken steps to bring together over 20 countries from Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Press and Public Affairs Officer, British Deputy High Commission, Lagos State, Ndidiamaka Eze, disclosed this recently stating that the dialogue brings key countries, which buy and produce such as beef, soy and palm oil together to agree on how these can be traded more sustainably.
According to her, 23 countries have pledged to work together to protect the world’s precious forests, while also promoting sustainable trade and supply chains of agricultural commodities.
“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 $80 billion yearly. Globally, 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihoods, many of them in developing countries,” Eze said.
She noted that Nigeria is a producer and consumer of forest risk agricultural commodities adding that it produces cocoa and palm oil but also imports palm oil from Southeast Asia.
In her words, “Nigeria, has one of the highest deforestation rates globally and it loses approximately 350,000 to 400,000 hectares yearly. Logging, agriculture and collection of fuelwood are the leading causes of forest loss in Nigeria.”
She added that through 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 associated with deforestation, including palm oil and cocoa, and creating new investment opportunities in sustainable land use through public-private partnerships.
“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,” Eze stated.
In his remark, COP26 President-Designate, Alok Sharma stated, “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.”