Conservation International (CI) and the Government of Liberia on May 22 launched the “Liberia Conservation Fund (LCF), the first of its kind aimed at providing sustainable, long term financing for Liberia’s protected areas. The fund was launched with an initial commitment of US$1 million, provided by CI’s Global Conservation Fund, with pledges made by the Government of Liberia through the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).
The fund will be directed to a range of conservation finance sources and set up multiple endowments to support individual protected areas throughout the country. For example, the East Nimba Nature Reserve (ENNR) is one of the five protected areas for which the endowment has been established.
“The Government of Liberia is committed to the mandate of the national Forestry reform law of 2006 by conserving 30 per cent of Liberia’s forest”, FDA Managing Director Mike Doryen noted.
He praised CI’s deep partnership in the area of conservation and stressed that the relationship has led to the LCF and reiterated the Liberian Government’s commitment to finding lasting solutions with partners, to conserve Liberia’s vast natural resources for current and future generations of Liberians.
CI-Liberia Country Director, Madam Jessica Donovan, intimated that Liberia’s protected areas are essential in maintaining the country’s rich biodiversity and ecosystem and help mitigate global climate change.
She said the establishment of the Liberia Conservation Fund means the country has a guaranteed source of funding for long-term conservation initiatives.
Donovan recounted that CI’s work in Liberia over two decades includes work in improved protected areas, incentives-based Community conservation, sustainable production, and national environmental policy support.
She said, CI aims is to demonstrate a sustainable development in Liberia through an integrated landscape approach that seeks to balance nature conservation, production and economic development for Liberia.
At the official launch of the LCF, the Deputy Minister for Operations at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, J. Emmett Reeves, Jr., on behalf of President George M. Weah, assured the government’s support to the CI and all national and local institutions that are involved in conserving and protecting Liberia’s forest. He thanked CI for the fund and promised that the Liberian Government through the FDA will work with CI to use the funds as planned.
Other dignitaries gracing the launch event were: Deputy Managing Director for Operations, FDA, Joseph J. Tally; Deputy Executive Director, Environmental Protection Agency, Randall M. Dobayou, II; Deputy Minister for Technical Services, Ministry of Agriculture, Cyrenius Cephas; Former Deputy Managing Director for Operations, FDA, Borwen Sayon; FDA Board Chair designate and Former Managing Director, Harrison S. Karnwea; Former FDA Managing Director, Darlington S. Tuagben; CI Senior Vice President for Africa Division, Mr. Michael O’Brien Onyeka; and CI Legal Advisor, Conservation Finance Division Mr. Andrew Schatz.