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Webinar: Framing Strategies for Ending Deforestation and Protecting Wildlife in the Cross River State Forest

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Concept Note

Cross River state is currently undergoing the highest spate of deforestation in the world. All evidence and reports show unrestrained and uncontrolled logging activities in the state. While paying lip service to climate change mitigation initiatives and promising ecological protection, the last administration in the state operated a policy that permitted and even promoted logging activities. Other policies of that government including the construction of a superhighway through the rainforest, the construction of a casino city inside the swamp forest, and the building of a deep seaport in the deep of the mangroves resulted in massive forest loss. However, the biggest disservice bequeathed to the forests by the last administration has been the weakening of all sanction for forest crimes. The result has been the emergence and growth of local and international logging cartels, and the cooption of law enforcement agents in the illicit business.

The emergence of a new administration in Cross River state presents an opportunity to close ranks and evolve a new forest management strategy. Civil society organizations have variously reached the new government with arguments for better forest and wildlife protection. However, the initial disposition of the government has not demonstrated outrage at deforestation. Ostensibly to stop deforestation, the government recently established a task force comprised of persons rumored to be notorious loggers. More recently, the state House of Assembly may have handed the leadership of its oversight committee on forests to a known logger.

These indicators threaten doom for the Cross River forests and the rich wildlife it houses. The red flags already noticed in the short span of the current administration suggests that deforestation may thrive in the coming years and probably become state policy.

Recently, there have been calls for the lifting of the 15-year ban on logging in the state’s forests. Supporters argue that the ban has been inefficient, and may have caused the escalation of logging. Other reason that if the ban is lifted, they may be an even faster wave of forest loss.

Without doubt, this is a critical moment for the Cross River forests. It is also an opportunity for civil society actors and other traditional conservationists to close ranks and craft new campaigns and strategies for forest and wildlife protection. To safeguard what remains of the forests, there is urgent need to establish cross cutting collaboration at the local and international levels, and bring pressure to bear on the state government to take immediate action to end deforestation. But this can only happen through a shared strategy and solid synergy. This webinar aims to drive a conversation around this.

More specifically, this webinar aims to do the following;

Objectives

  1. Share the true state of the Cross River forests to a wider national and international audience
  2. Develop multi-stakeholder approaches to pressuring the governor to end deforestation in Cross River State.
  3. Identify key interventions and timelines for stakeholders towards building pressure for executive action.

Proposed duration: 90-Minutes

Date: Friday, 21st July, 2023.

Time: 11:00 AM

Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMrcuyurD0iEt0046TNUVjlyCco1J0kxTyr

Target: CSOs, communities, environmental activists, international organizations, climate and environment donor organizations, academics, government institutions, etc.