Committed to a carbon free environment, the Delta State Government yesterday expressed strong political will to partner with the United Nations’ program on Reducing Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD).
Addressing a delegation from the national team in Asaba, the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Chris Onogba, bemoaned the adverse effects of climate change and assured REDD of the state government’s commitment to a greener and healthier environment.
Not unmindful of the effects of deforestation on the environment, Onogba considered how communities dependent on forests for livelihood will survive, even as he agreed that saving the environment from further degradation was the responsibility of all.
“I can assure you of our political will, which will not be a problem. Everyone wants to be involved in mitigating the effects of climate change and we do want our forests to work.
“When the last tree dies, the last man dies and so we must do everything to preserve our forests. Let everyone take ownership of the responsibility so that we do not all perish,” he said.
Addressing the commissioner, the National Coordinator of REDD, Dr Moses Ama, said that Delta State was a potential candidate, out of seven others, to be selected among the three states in Nigeria to receive grant from the international community in forest preservation.
Ama said that though only two states (Ondo and Nasarawa) had qualified for the grants from the initial selection, Delta State was one of the seventeen which indicated interest and among the seven prequalified to make it to the last three states for additional financing.
“From the seventeen states, Delta State was prequalified but we still needed to cut it down and that is the essence of this visit so that we (REDD) can see and feel the political will from the state government” he said.
In her presentation, the Director of Forestry in the Ministry of Environment, Mrs Charity Ehimen, noted that the state had a rich ecosystem made up of rain forest, seasonal flood plain, fresh water swamp forest, mangrove forest and coastal vegetation belt interlocked with rivers and streams.
“In line with the SMART Agenda of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration to look beyond the oil sector, we now have budgetary provisions and approval towards the forestry sector” she stressed.