United Purpose (Up) and NGO Coalition for Environment (NGOCE) Kick-Off IMFOMALN Project
United Purpose (UP) and NGO Coalition for Environment (NGOCE) – two NGOs based in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria, have begun the implementation of The Integrated Mangrove Forest Management and Livelihood in Nigeria (IMFOMALN). The Project is being implemented in the Cross River section of the Niger Delta mangrove forest. The Niger Delta mangrove forest is part of the Guinean Forests of West Africa (GFWA). GFWA is a biodiversity hot spot extending across the southern part of West Africa and into Central Africa, North of the Congo wilderness area. The hot spot covers 621,705 km square.
IMFOMALN project is funded by the joint initiative of the Critical Ecosystem Partner Fund (CEPF) with I’Agence Francaise de Developpement, Conservation International, European Union, the Global Environmental Facility, the Government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and World Bank, whose guiding principle is “Protecting Biodiversity by Empowering People”.
Coastal habitats across the Niger Delta region are under heavy population and development pressures. Mangroves have been particularly vulnerable to exploitation because they contain valuable wood and fisheries resources, and occupy coastal land that is easily converted to other uses. This is the case in most mangrove communities in southern region of cross river state who depend solely on the mangrove for their livelihoods. In the words of Chief (Mrs.) Atim Eyo Okon, “the mangrove forest is where we get food to eat, if we do not manage it well, we may not see food to eat again and our children and grandchildren will surfer more”. These are some of the reasons why mangrove conservation activities need to kick-off in the region.
The project which is focused on Mangrove conservation alongside providing alternative livelihood to mangrove dependent households has the following benefiting local Government Areas (LGA) and communities:
Akpabuyo LGA: Esuk Mba, Akwa Esuk Eyamba, Ikot Ekriba, Nkakat Eyamba, Ikot Onono-Iba, Ikong Nkok Anie;
Odukpani LGA: Efut Ifako, Efut Abua, Akim Akim, Mbarakom, Adak Uko, Otung and;
Calabar South LGA: Ikot Okon Etim Ewa, Ikot Ewa Effiom, and Esuk Effiom.
During the state-level inception meeting and launch of the project, the project Advisor, Mr. Tony Attah highlighted some of the deliverables of the project to include:
Development and Validation of 3 Sustainable Forest Management Plans;
Formation and registration of 15 pro-forest cooperatives;
Establishment of 15 pro-forest businesses;
Establishment of woodlots for fuel wood extraction;
Enrichment planting/regeneration in mangrove degraded areas and;
Increased awareness on mangrove conservation.
It is hoped that at the end 30 months, most of the communities benefiting from the project will be models for other mangrove communities in Nigeria and beyond to follow.