18 May 2006

Liberia: Forest Protection Pricks Govt's Attention

The Liberian government has given its full pledge to protecting Liberian forest in order to instill its dignity.

Making the pledge in a statement during activities marking National Tree Planting Day, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said her government would work in all direction to protect and guide its citizens on the protection of the forest.

In the statement delivered on her behalf by the Finance Minister Antoinette Sayeh, the Liberian leader indicated that the rain forest of Liberia, like those of other tropical developing nations, is acknowledged as a major critical element for minimizing environment deterioration, including soil erosion, water resources exhaustion and global warming. These impediments are said to be resulting from depletion of the ozone layer.

According to the Liberian leader, the indiscriminate destruction and abuse of the natural resources especially Liberian forestry is a major concern to her administration.

She disclosed that the government is initiating steps and programs to safeguard the natural resources through "environmental stabilization and the creation of relevant funding mechanisms for projects that create jobs for people." "While the government explores avenues for improving the forestry programs, the government remains committed to working with international organizations and other international partners to reform the forestry sector of the country," she said.

She added that in pursuit of this objective, "my administration recently endorsed the recommendation of the review of all forest concessions in Liberia through the Executive Order No 1." President Sirleaf said what her government seeks in this review is not just to correct "imbalances in contract language and benefits, but also to undertake reforms that will ensure sustainable management of our forests." In his statement, Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Managing Director Johnny T. Woods said the entity was getting equipped for the task of protecting the forest.

In order to achieve this, he said about 164 staffs of the FDA have been trained in forest law enforcement, while some have been trained in modern accounting software application.

"Twenty-six rangers have also benefited from training in scaling and grading for chain of custody system administration. Twelve got training in conducting forest inventory using GPS equipments, and all secretaries at FDA headquarters have been given attitude test and internal training courses to upgrade their standards for better performances," he said.

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