The Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), C. Mike Doyen has told a gathering that with one hundred eighty thousand hectares under concession, the FDA is no longer prepared to give out additional forest for commercial logging.
Hon. Doyen made the comment on Thursday August 22, 2019 in Tubmanburg, Bomi County when FDA and the World Bank broke ground for the construction of FDA regional office for region one (Bomi, Cape Mount, Gbarpolu and Montserrado counties).
The complex valued at an estimated cost of US$330.00, will co-host FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Located on the outskirts of Tubmanburg, provincial capital of Bomi County, the project is being funded through the Liberia Forest Sector Project (LFSP) with funding from the Kingdom of Norway and managed by the World Bank.
It is one of two regional offices currently being constructed as part of the institutional capacity strengthening component of the LFSP.
The remaining two regional offices: Region Two (Voinjama, Lofa County), and Region Four (Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County) will be constructed based on the availability of resources.
Hon. Doyen hailed the Governments of Liberia and Norway for the invaluable support to capacitate the FDA, the project implementing entities and community dwellers, as well as civil society for the successful implementation of the project.
He said it is time for Liberia to leverage its forest resources to develop the forestry sector with the support of partners adding, “our vision is to have the FDA as the back bone to the Liberia economy by ensuring that the forest remains standing while generating revenue.”
World Bank Liberia Country Manager, Dr. Khwima Nthara, described the event as another significant step geared towards the sustainable use and effective management of Liberia’s forest resources and increased benefit sharing for communities in the targeted forest landscapes.
He indicated that Liberia’s forest is recognized globally based on its high biodiversity value and because it is the only remaining prime natural forest in the West Africa eco-region.
Liberia’s neighbors, Guinea and Ivory Coast, have lost significant portion of their forests cover to land use changes, the World Bank Country Manager said.
Dr. Nthara furthered that the Bank has recognized inadequate infrastructure and is thus supporting civil works as part of assistance for decentralized institutional strengthening in protected areas, FDA Regional offices, Forestry Training Institute, Park Headquarters and Rangers Outposts in the Gola Forest National Park and the Proposed Wonegisi Protected Area when it is formally gazetted.
He said the project envisaged co-location of staff of relevant agencies including the EPA and FDA and potentially the Ministry of Agriculture to enable the teams support communities collaboratively and work as single inter-agency teams for efficacy and cost effectiveness.
He hailed the FDA and the EPA for recognizing the need to co-locate and called for the example to be emulated.
National REDD+ Coordinator, Saah A. David, expressed appreciation and informed the audience that the project is beyond the civil works.
He also stated that the project is also providing livelihood support for community dwellers and strengthening institutional capacity of the Project Implementing Entities (PIEs).
In 2014, the Governments of Liberia and Norway signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the implementation of the Liberia Forest Sector Project through a grant funding of US$36.7 million provided by the Government of Norway and an additional grant of US$4.7 million from the Liberia Forest Landscape Single Donor Trust Fund.
The LFSP is being implemented by six government agencies: the FDA as lead entity, EPA, ministries of Agriculture and Mines and Energy, Liberian Land Authority (LLA), and Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-information Services (LISGIS).
The Project is aimed at improving the management of Liberia’s forest and increasing benefit sharing for communities in the targeted forest landscapes. The project supports Liberia’s readiness and, in part, implementation of Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation through sustainable forest management (REDD+).