In a bid to effectively implement the National Initiative for Sustainable Climate-Smart Oil Palm Smallholders (NISCOPS) in Nigeria, an advisory body known as NISCOPS Nigeria Forum (NNF) has been inaugurated. The body will serve as an advisory platform that will support the implementation of NISCOPS programme in Nigeria. The advice and inputs by the NNF for the programme will enable both implementing partners (Solidaridad and IDH) to achieve the set goals for the Programme in Nigeria.

The members of NNF include representatives from the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of Agriculture, Environment, Industry, Trade and Investment and their State level counterparts in agriculture (Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo, Enugu, Kogi and Ondo); agriculture and environment-focused Civil Society Organizations (CSOs); Farmer Organizations; Private Sector Partners; Finance and insurance institutions, the Media; Universities and Research Institutions.

During the inauguration, all members of the NNF agreed to work towards implementation of the programme in the country for the improvement and transformation of the oil palm sector.

According to Dr. Samson Samuel Ogallah, Solidaridad’s Senior Climate Specialist for Africa, the focus of NNF are: to advise on the implementation of NISCOPS’ Key Performance Indicators in the areas of adaptation, mitigation, and productivity; to advise Solidaridad and IDH on evidence-based policy dialogues and advocacy steps; also advise both implementing organizations on key national policy issues, alignment of NISCOPS’ objectives with relevant policies and development priorities, and any other related issues deemed necessary for the implementation of the programme.

Dr. Chris Okafor, IDH’s Senior Programme Manager in Nigeria, in his message stated that the multi-stakeholder partnership approach adopted in the NNF is due to the cross -cutting nature of the Programme. He emphasized that certain activities by actors across the oil palm value chain tended to negatively impact on the environment, hence the need to involve stakeholders in the implementation process. He posited that “The interaction of the different federal and state-level MDAs, farmer groups, and CSOs will bring out the best in the implementation of NISCOPS in Nigeria”.

Enechukwu Onukwube, Solidaridad’s Program Manager, Oil Palm Nigeria, said that the NNF is necessary to ensure effective implementation of the NISCOPS programme in the country. In his view, the forum would reinforce NISCOPS’ implementation pathway in the country. “We want to see that NISCOPS is contributing to national and state priorities and not running parallel to them. We also want to ensure that there are regular feedbacks from the stakeholders in government, farmer groups, CSOs and other members of the forum,” he said.

NISCOPS is funded in Nigeria by The Kingdom of the Netherlands. Solidaridad in presently implementing the programme in the states of Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Enugu, and Kogi, while IDH is implementing the programme in Ondo and Edo state.

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