FDA officials and guests at groundbreaking program in Tubmanburg, Bomi County.
The Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and the World Bank on August 22, 2019 broke grounds for the construction of a regional office for region one (Bomi, Cape Mount, Gbarpolu and Montserrado counties). According to an FDA press release, the complex valued at an estimated cost of US$330,000 when completed, will co-host FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The complex is funded through the Liberia Forest Sector Project (LFSP) funding being provided by the government of Norway and managed by the World Bank.
Moreover, 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 for region two (Voinjama, Lofa County), and region Four Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County will be constructed based on the availability of funds.
FDA Managing Director, C. Mike Doyen, lauded the governments of Liberia and Norway for the invaluable support to build the capacities of the FDA; the project implementing entities and community dwellers, as well as civil society organizations (CSOs) for the successful implementation of the project.
Mr. Doyen said that it is time for Liberia to control its forest resources by developing the forestry sector with the support of partners. He added, "Our vision is to have the FDA as the back bone to the economy by ensuring that the forest remains standing in generating revenue."
He said that the FDA moving forward will focus on carbon trade preparation for the submission of its Forest Reference Emissions level to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This, Doryen said will be done in January 2020 through the EPA.
He has meanwhile announced that with 180,000 hectares under concession, the FDA is no longer prepared to give out additional forest for commercial logging activities.
He then extended thanks to the Government of Norway and the World Bank for the funding and management of the project.
For his part, 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 of the nation.
He said 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 portions of their forests cover to land use changes," Nr. Nthara said.
Dr. Nthara said 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 the Ministry of Agriculture to enable the teams support communities collaboratively and work as single inter-agency teams for efficacy and cost effectiveness.
Dr. Nthara commended the FDA and the EPA for recognizing the need to co-locate, and called for the example to be emulated by similar agencies of the Liberian government.
He commended the government through the FDA and the World Bank Task Team for reaching such a significant milestone in the country.
National REDD+ Coordinator, Saah A. David, extended thanks and appreciation to the support partners and informed the audience that the project is beyond the civil works.
He also said that the project is also providing livelihood support for community dwellers and strengthening institutional capacity of the Project Implementing Entities.
It can be recalled that 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+).