LR FDA MD Darlington Tuagben, REED+ Coordinator Saah A. David and top officials of FDA at turnover ceremony in Paynesville

Road map drafted to remove illegal occupants from the SAPO National Park

The Forestry Development Authority (FDA) last Tuesday received equipment, including communication devices, valued at US$71,806 from the REED+ Forest Project.

FDA managing director Darlington Tuagben told a news conference yesterday that a 17 count stakeholders road map has been drafted for the removal of illegal occupants from the SAPO National Park in Sinoe County.

The road map is aimed at restoring complete sanctity and dignity to the country’s national reserve, Director Tuagben said. The  road map also calls for an agreement with the ministries of Internal Affairs and Justice, forest stakeholders, and local leaders for the immediate departure of illegal occupants and demarcation of the park’s boundary. The draft document also provides for the provision of alternative livelihood support for communities and community development in the affected areas.

Today, he added, officials must take pride for a job well done, but they should move quickly to ensure the full implementation of the outcome of the SAPO Conference in order to restore calm to the nation’s heritage. “We wish to call on all stakeholders, especially the affected communities, our local and international development partners, ministries and agencies to help ensure the sustainability of the management of our national park,” Tuagben urged.

The FDA stakeholders’ conference was held under the theme, “Promoting Sustainable Management of Sapo National Park for Current and Future Generations” at the port city of Greenville.  It was intended to encourage local and national stakeholders to work together to develop and implement a road map to strengthen conservation and effective management of the park and its useful biodiversity as well as ecosystems of nearby communities.

Tuagben thanked the ministers of Justice and Internal Affairs, superintendents of Sinoe, Grand Gedeh and River Gee counties for their positive roles during the conference while urging civil society organizations and the media to ensure the sustainable management of the SNP and its vital ecosystems and rich biodiversity.

At the presentation of the forest equipment to the mainstream leadership of the FDA, REED+ National Coordinator Saah A. David Jr. noted that the gesture was in fulfillment of an initial commitment made for the capacity building component of REED+ Liberia, adding that the equipment included four base radios, laptops, uniforms and boots for forest rangers.

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