The Commissioner for Climate Change and Forestry, Dr. Alice Ekwu has lauded the Non-Governmental Organisation Coalition for Environment (NGOCE), on the successful launch of her Strategic Plan and described it as apt and in tandem with global trend.
She made the commendation recently at the launch of NGOCE’s Strategic Plan, held at 520 Kolanut Hotel, Calabar.
The Climate Change and Forestry Commissioner noted that the initiative was a way of lending the Organization’s quota towards climate change mitigation which is also a core mandate of her Ministry.
Dr. Ekwu expressed gratitude to the State Governor, Senator (Prof.) Ben Ayade, for creating the Climate Change and Forestry Ministry, reiterating that Cross River state habours over 58% of the tropical forest in Nigeria, making it a big carbon sink for Nigeria.
She added that NGOCE has been an active partner of the Ministry and therefore pledged the Ministry’s support to ensure that the programmes and themes of the plan are implemented.
Also speaking, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, NGOCE, Mr. Odigha Odigha informed that the organization which is twenty five years old was formed to campaign against the destruction of Nigeria’s last surviving tropical high forest.
According to him the ten year strategic plan will focus on governance and market reform programs supporting environment sustainability and natural resource management adding that NGOCE will also facilitate improved knowledge, policies to drive climate smart agriculture.
Mr. Odigha maintained that the strategy document is a means of engagement with donors as the opportunities identified call for collaboration with other stakeholders like government, private sector, communities.
He stated that one of their partners CUSO international had expressed intention of engaging actively with NGOCE and would also train 12000 youths as entrepreneurs in the sub-sector of natural resources.
The optimistic Chairman, Board of Trustees also informed that NGOCE in collaboration with Cross River State, through the Ministry of Climate Change and Forestry, hope to reduce substantially, the drivers of deforestation which had been identified in the UN-REDD+ strategy document.
In the same vein, the acting Executive Director, NGOCE, Mr. Martin Oji Nsan explained that the strategic plan is the road map of where the organization intends to be in the next 10 years from 2018 to 2028, adding that a mid-term review of 5 years will be carried out.
He stated that the plan focuses on six key programmers which are Environmental Sustainability, Natural Resource Management, Sustainable Livelihood, UN Sustainable Development Goals, Organizational Capacity Building and finance Administration/New Business Development.
Identifying youth entrepreneurship development as one of the focal points of the programme, Mr. Nsan noted “We need to train youths, groom them and produce entrepreneurs that are mindful of their environment.”
Non-Governmental Organisation Coalition for Environment (NGOCE), established in 1995, was borne out of the desire to bring sustainable management of the Cross River State rain forest through effective participation of relevant stakeholders like the government and forest-dependent communities.
Other notable dignitaries that graced the occasion included the Country Director, CUSO Nigeria, Ebrima Sonko, represented by the Cross River State Programme Officer, Mr. James Odey, the State Programme Manager, FHI360, Dr. Henry Egbe Ayuk and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Climate Change and Forestry and also the Chairman, UN-REDD+ Technical Commitee in Cross River, Mr. Timothy Akwaji.