— On progress under legal timber trade agreement
The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between the Government of Liberia (GoL) and the European Union (EU) will hold its 5th Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) meeting in Monrovia from April 5 to 7, 2017, at the Monrovia City Hall, the European Union Delegation to Liberia has announced.
The VPA, a bilateral Agreement between the GoL and the EU was negotiated from 2009 -2011 and ratified by Liberia in 2013. This Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) aims to promote sustainable forest management by putting in place systems to verify the legality of timber, as well as strengthen forest governance.
“Since the ratification of the VPA, Liberia has made significant marks in managing its forest resources. In fact, the Country is currently at the implementation phase and gradually moving towards FLEGT Licensing,” the EU Delegation said in a press release.
The JIC, which comprises the Liberia Implementation Committee (LIC) and the EU representatives, seeks to provide oversight of the implementation of the Agreement. Hence, the LIC on the VPA comprises representatives from Ministries, Agencies and Commission (MACs) of GoL, the private sector, as well as civil society.
During the course of these three days, the JIC will examine progress in capacity building being carried out with Government, private sector and civil society stakeholders in the forest sector to enable them meet their obligations under the Agreement. Progress in the development of systems to verify the legality of Liberia’s timber exports will also be reviewed.
As part of the activities for the meeting, EU Ambassador Tiina Intelmann and guests, along with a team of Liberian journalists, will tour a sawmill, meet with the private sector and forest dependents in Grand Bassa and Rivercess Counties respectively. This trip will also assess the impact of the financial benefits accrued from forest operations in affected communities on people who live around the fringes of the forest.