National Forest Policy Advances Renewable Natural Resources Management – Ikeazor

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Barr. Sharon Ikeazor
The Minister of State for Environment, Barr. Sharon Ikeazor.

The Minister of State for Environment, Barr. Sharon Ikeazor, has said Nigeria’s National Forest Policy (NFP) advances renewable natural resources management.

She made this assertion during the recently celebrated International Day of Forest (IDF) held in Abuja. She said the 2006 NFP sets out strategies for growing the sector including provision for sustainable management and utilisation of the forest resources, public and private sector enhanced participation, ecosystem goods and services, equitable and fair benefit sharing and cross-sectorial engagements.

According to her, there is an increased awareness of the environmental, social, cultural and economic values of forestry, against the declining and unsustainably managed national forest resources, adding the national target of increasing the total forest cover from 10 per cent to 25 per cent by 2022 and the various international commitments appears a daunting task.

Ikeazor said the demand for forest goods and services is on the rise with the increasing population against an unsustainable supply regime, stressing that the forestry sector remains an important natural capital asset in the attainment of the national development objectives of Nigeria, particularly in the generation of economic activities, employment, poverty reduction, provision of goods and services and environmental security and sustainability.

She pointed out that there are also several international commitments relevant to sustainable management of the forest and its significance in addressing climate change.

“​In the light of the many emerging concerns and imperatives and the importance of the forestry sector to the people and our nation, the process for reviewing the 2006 National Forest Policy was initiated in 2017 and completed with the adoption and approval by the National Council on Environment (NCE) in November 2019. The policy was finally approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in July 2020.

“The revised 2020 National Forest Policy sets out strategies for growing the sector further and addressing emerging environmental issues like climate change resulting from the increased population with its attendant pressure on the forests and its resources. Contemporary development priorities dictated a revision of the policy; hence, presenting it to you today as a guide in the forest and other related sectors.

“The policy is guided by a vision of sustainable management of forest ecosystems, socio-economic growth, environmental sustainability and provision of goods and services for domestic purposes and export for the benefit of the nation,” she stated.

The minister averred that the guiding principles are centred on Sustainable Forest Management and National Development Agenda of Poverty Reduction improved livelihood, sustainable development, good forest governance, transparency and accountability, biodiversity conservation, sustainable provision of forest goods and services, as well as value chain addition and fulfilment of international commitments.

In his remarks, the former director, department of forestry, Mr. Igugu George said that the policy will encourage stakeholders to be involved in developing forestry in the country. He further said that without trees, we cannot have timbers and since it takes a long time for a tree to grow, trees should be planted, nurtured, protected and harvested for the benefit of man as trees are beneficial to everyone no matter your status or age.

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