Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria is set to hold its first-ever Climate Change Summit in 2016. This announcement was made by the Ibom’s governor Udom Emmanuel on December 15, 2015, while in Lagos. Against the backdrop of the Paris Agreement, the governor of Ibom State said they have developed a State Policy that will see the establishment of 10 Forest Reserves in Ibom over the next four years.
The governor made a keynote address at the Paris’s Climate Change Summit themed: ‘Climate Agreement at COP21: Success, Implementation & Implication for Africa & Nigeria,’ noting that State of Ibom will embark on a comprehensive survey and map out forest estates. The State will also develop a REDD + Readiness Plan. The governor also said that his State will raise some 20,000 seedlings to be used in the first phase of the climate change mitigation and REDD + strategies.
In a speech read on the governor’s behalf by the Commissioner of Environment & Mineral Resources, Dr. Iniobong Essien, he stated that in line with his government’s strategic plans, the Ibom State is going to establish Climate Change Desks in Line Ministries. At the same time, they will embark on capacity building in the Ministerial/Line Ministries Staff, NGOs/CBOs and the Media to address climate change challenges.
In his words, the governor said, “The planned Independent Power Plant (IPP) project will utilize the abundant natural gas in the state, which will also be made available for Industrial and domestic use.
The government has acquired additional 803 square kilometers of land for her afforestation programs. There are also stretches of old growth African Rainforest in difficult-to-access areas along the coast and boundary of Cross River State and the Cameroons. Protected forests under communities’ control exists in such places as Obong Itam (GEF supported), Ukpom Ikono and Ukanafun.
The pristine forest at Obong Itam and Stubbs Creek Forest Reserve are home to the endangered Sclatter Guenon, which is endemic in these areas. These ungazetted protected forests are estimated to cover about 1,368.4 km2 bringing the State’s total forest cover to 1,682.4 km2 or 20% of forested area.”
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