EU Commits 1.5M Euro to Combat Wildlife, Forest Crime

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Participants keenly listening to one of the facilitators.

-WCF leads the implementation exercises

As part of its unrelenting consideration to support Liberia in her drive to promote and protect biodiversity conservation initiatives, the European Union (EU) has committed EUR 1.5 million, basically to combat wildlife and forest crime in Liberia, while at the same time strengthening local communities and the law enforcement network.

EU Ambassador Hélène Cavé, who gave a keynote address during the official launch of the project on February 14, 2019 at the Libassa Ecolodge in Kpan Town, Margibi County, expressed the organization’s readiness to establish a permanent dialogue between stakeholders, an FDA release has said.

The stakeholders include the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), whose task is to design a set of interventions that “delivers into our common priorities: biodiversity protection for the most environmentally valuable areas  and making people benefit from them in terms of jobs and wealth creation in traditionally derived areas.”

This, Madam Cavé said, squarely suits the Pro-poor agenda of the government.

Amb Cavé said that the project will also build partnership between the different actors in the security sector, and enables a more effective cooperation and coordination between stakeholders and countries along the illegal wildlife and Forest Trade Value Chain.

In his introductory statement earlier, FDA Managing Director C. Mike Doryen lauded the EU for the initiative, and pledged the entity’s collaboration, and cooperation to ensure that the 3Cs equation: conservation, commercial and community forestry programs, are upheld uniformly.

According to the release, Doryen highlighted the importance of the forest in the interest of today and future generation, but said FDA will remain unbent in the implementation of the law governing wildlife protection without fear or favor.

“Already, we have constituted a wildlife confiscation unit as part of our willingness to enforce the law against wildlife and forest crime. We anticipate that partners will empower this unit in all respects so that we can achieve our desired goal. The forest has commercial value only while it stands,” Mr. Doryen added.

He said it is shameful to be protecting the forest and all of its constituent elements, while at the same time witnessing the depletion of the wildlife population.

Doyern expressed the hope that the collaboration will be a sustainable one so that all of what is being desired and pursued as it relates to the conservation dream can be a reality.

The occasion was graced by British Ambassador to Liberia, David Belgrove and his German counterpart Hubert Jager.

Both men welcomed the initiative describing it as internationally worthy, while biodiversity conservation intervention was necessary.

They then encouraged stakeholders to hold together in unity so that the aims and objectives of the project can be realized.

The Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF) will lead the implementation of the project in partnership with the Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL), the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue and Protection and Libassa Wildlife Sanctuary.

It will also closely collaborate with the FDA, the Environmental Protection Agency, other members of the Law Enforcement Sub-Committee of the Liberia Species Working Group, the Forestry Training Institute, Interpol, the Transnational Crime Unit and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes and the Paynesville City Corporation.

WCF Country Director Dr. Annika Hillers, has earlier provided the project’s overview, including all of its components and how the partners will go about implementing them. During the workshop, EU Program Manager David Palacios, called on stakeholders to be ever more united to fulfill the dream saying, “let’s get together and run together to ensure that the project achieves it goal.”

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