Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Managing Director Darlington Tuagbean says the FDA under the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) will ensure to implement all legal formalities associated with the agreement in order to achieve the needed results.
Making the statement recently in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County while touring with EU Ambassador Tiina Intelmann and several EU officials, Mr. Tuagbean recalled that Liberia and the EU signed the agreement to “ensure legality and compliance with the forest law to make sure that logs are harvested from a legal source to give them good value in the market, especially the European market.”
Mr. Tuagbean said FDA receives an enormous support from the EU, and build the confidence that Liberia is in line with the agreement, the EU and FDA periodically tour areas where logs are harvested and they also have a joint implementation meeting every six months to give updates about the VPA.
He said the Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) meeting brings all stakeholders together to evaluate how the agreement is being implemented and how they can proceed by correcting pitfalls that occurred along the way.
Furthermore, the FDA Managing Director indicated that as part of the VPA implementation, they go out into the field; sit with local stakeholders to discuss successes and constraints, and then return to Monrovia, where issues raised will be discussed at the level of the JIC to find solutions.
“Support from the EU to FDA is meant to help provide benefit for our forest resources and to sustain it; and we are grateful to them for both the moral and financial support to the forest sector, said Tuagbean.
Mr. Tuagbean made the comment when he along with some FDA staffs took a tour with EU Ambassador, Tiina Intelmann and her officials. The tour was part of planned activities EU devised to evaluate the VPA to see how effectively it is implemented.
Speaking earlier, Ambassador Intelmann clarified that the trip to Buchanan and Rivercess was to assess impact of EU’s intervention in Liberia’s forestry sector.
“We signed an agreement with the Government of Liberia, and that is the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), which says how Liberia should manage its forests in a sustainable way. That means cutting the trees and exporting them must be done according to a set standard in the VPA that will enable Liberia to receive tax money, use the forest, but sustainably,” Ambassador Intelmann noted.
According to her, implementing the agreement is characterized by regular stock taking and Joint Implementation Committee’s meeting. This according to her is done every six months, and they are meant to step up the capacity to properly manage the forest.
Alberto Menghini, head of the Cooperation Section-Resilience, also added that there are two aspects which include the legality of timber harvested from the forest and distributing profits from logs to communities and government.
As required under the agreement, companies are monitored based on how and what kinds of trees to cut; and after cutting the logs, they are brought to stations for evaluation and certification before being exported.
Under the agreement, no uncertified log is allowed to be exported to any country, especially European Union countries.
Mr. Menghini said the community project in Yarkpa Town; Rivercess is one of the benefits the VPA wants to see along with marking and certification of logs.
During the tour, stations including the Liberia Timber and Trade Company (LTTC) sawmill, the Alpha Log Yard and Mandra were visited in Buchanan.
The LTTC sawmill is a station where temporary sawing is done to sell planks locally, while Alpha is a station where the Alpha Logging Company stockpiles logs for inspection, measurement, marking and certification for export through the port of Buchanan.
Mandra, which belongs to EJ&J and LTTC, is where logs are taken to go through the VPA required process.