In line with the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), the Liberia Chainsaw and Timber Dealers Union (LICSATDUN) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT), have completed a daylong leadership, and gender training for their members in Montserrado, River Cess and Grand Bassa counties.
Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) are a central element of the EU’s strategy in the fight against illegal logging.
Therefore, the training was aimed at reducing illegal logging of chainsaw by establishing, and formalizing groups for chainsaw operators to perform legitimate chainsaw milling operations in those counties.
The one-day event was held on Saturday, November 16, with a theme, “Pilot Testing Training of Chainsaw Operators in Association.”
The European Union (EU), Swedish Cooperation (SIDA) and the UK Department funded the training exercise.
The Chainsaw Project Coordinator, Alvin M. Kanneh, said Liberia’s VPA was ready to counter all domestic and export timber illegal activities.
In 2012, Kanneh said the government enacted the Chainsaw Milling Regulation (the CSM Regulation), and further revisited it in 2018, and as such, “we recognize the need to formally organize chainsawing training as a means to maximize the socioeconomic benefits accruing from this practice, while addressing and mitigating its negative environmental impacts.”
He told the participants that the union is the only chainsaw milling representative body currently operating in the country.
According to section 12 (e) “Any person, association, company of cooperative wishing to engage in Chainsaw Milling operations shall first complete an appropriate training to be delivered by the authority or a donor partner in a business development, including keeping books of accounts; and chain of custody system operations along with the Legality Assurance System (LAS) of the VPA,” Kanneh stated.
Despite its embryonic state LICSATDUN has a good potential to expand and group chainsaw millers and timber dealers under its structure.
As stated above, in order to legally operate under the CSM regulation, Kanneh added, chainsaw operators need to join an association.
By formalizing the chainsaw operators into affiliated associations, he said, “it is our hope that LICSATDUN will exercise more control over chainsaw milling operations, and current rules and regulations for chainsaw milling will be adhered to.”
Mr. Kanneh also said that the FAO EU-FLEGT program promotes the implementation of the FLEGT action plan by improving forest governance, providing technical assistance, and builder capacity through funding projects in eligible countries.
LICSATDUN River Cess County Coordinator, Isaac Grant, and Michael T. Kornor, and Williams Robinson hailed their officials for organizing such training. The individually promised to serve as ambassadors for the project to protect the forests from being illegally destroyed.