-Say VPA still on normal frequency
The European Union (EU) and the UK aid Department for International Development (DEFID) have officially transferred assorted assets to a number of key stakeholders in the Liberian forest sector, including the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Liberia Timber Association, the NGO Coalition and the National Union of Community Forestry Development Committees (NUCFDC), an FDA release has said.
The assets transferred, including office furniture (desks, chairs), office equipment (printers, scanners), desktop and laptop computers, communications devices, air conditioners, generators, motorcycles and technical forestry equipment (GPS, measuring devices), are worth several hundred thousand Euros.
These institutions are involved with the execution of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) signed in December 2013 between the Liberian government and the EU in the frame of the Forestry Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) platform.
Under the trade contract, the VPA aims to ensure that all timber and timber products intended for the EU market from a partner country must observe the principles and laws of that country.
According to the release, the ceremony climaxed the monthly multi-stakeholders meeting, which took place at the Shad Kaydea Board room in the FDA compound, Whein Town, outside Monrovia, on September 18.
In an official transfer statement, the head of the EU delegation in Liberia, David Palacios, assured the Liberian government and all VPA implementing institutions that the spirit and intent of the VPA remains cradled on its traditional frequency as long as the agreement exists.
He said that the transferred assets are intended to strengthen Liberia’s capacity to meet international trade requirements to access higher paying markets such as the European Union.
Palacios emphasized that standing trade agreement is neither a program nor a project with time limitation, adding: “VPA is not ending; it is a long process; only one aspect, the support unit, is ending.”
He then recapped the EU and DFID’s resolute commitments to ensuring an unhindered legal compliance in the standing trade agreement, while at the same time creating more economic opportunities for rural parts of Liberia based on the sustainable use of the forest as one of the most valuable natural resources in the country.
Now that these assets have been officially transferred, the receiving institutions shall assume or claim full responsibilities and ownership by making the necessary provisions for their maintenance and use for intentional purposes.
Earlier, the VPA/SU team leader, Abraham Guillien, said that the VPA/SU has successfully provided technical support to the VPA stakeholders in several areas during its tenure, and thanked them for their cooperation in the process that led to the successful transfer of assets by the EU.
Guillien then expressed the hope that the institutions would make better use of the capacity gained from the VPA/SU. In separate remarks, the recipients lauded the EU and DFID for the gesture, and promised to use the transferred assets in line with the intended determination.
They hoped the EU and DFID will continue to lid the light of the VPA in all terms and conditions so as to keep the pace of the progress made thus far in the forest sector.
The stakeholders meeting was chaired by FDA Deputy Managing Director for Operations, Joseph J. Tally, who commended other sister institutions on behalf of managing director C. Mike Doryen, who could not attend the ceremony since he was attending other important functions.
Mr. Tally encouraged other implementing institutions to work together for the good of the nation and, by extension, the forest sector of Liberia.