The Cross River State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the European Union Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS EU) on forests management and conservation.
The State Commissioner for International Development Cooperation, Inyang Asibong, made this known when the EU team visited her on Tuesday in Calabar.
She said the partnership would also promote a healthy climate for both wildlife and other endangered species in the state forests.
Asibong said the Cross River rainforest was an asset not only to the state and the country, but the West African sub-region at large.
She said under the Governor Ben Ayade led-administration, the wildlife and Green Canopy provided by the Cross River rainforest had enabled Nigeria to be a member of the Global Climate Change Cooperation.
The commissioner enjoined the EU Wildlife Conservation Society to protect the forest communities, just as the state government had been doing over the years.
“According to the United Nations Environmental Programme, the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity released in May 2019, states that we are in danger of losing one million species to extinction, including migratory species if we do not step up our actions.
“Cross River Government takes the report seriously and has stepped up action to conserve species, protect ecosystems and make meaningful progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Ms Asibong said.
Earlier in his remarks, the Director of the European Union Wildlife Conservation Society, Andrew Dunn, said their work in the state would focus on National Park, Afi and Nde Mountains.
Dunn proposed to provide the state with technical support with a request to have a ‘political buy-in’ through the signing of an MoU with the state Government to provide a framework and their terms of operations in the state.
“We will continue to set the bar for science, conservation and education that has driven our successes in protecting wildlife for over a century.
“We hold ourselves to the highest standards, adhering to core values of respect, accountability and transparency, innovation, diversity and inclusion, collaboration and integrity,” he added.
According to him, Cross River and Bauchi States remain choice places in Nigeria where they have worked for more than 15 years, having signed an MoU with the Federal Government to work in the two states.
Newsmen reported that Cross River houses more than 50 per cent of the Nigeria rainforest located at Afi and Nde Mountains in Ikom Local Government Area.
It also houses the National Park in Akamkpa, Boki and Obanliku local government areas of the state.