The European Union (EU) has provided EURO 3.5 million to the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) through the Government of Liberia (GoL) in support of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), a trade arrangement that has existed between the two parties since 2013. This gesture, according to a release, represents the EU’s support to the forestry sector as a long term Technical Assistance aimed at implementing the VPA/Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT).
EU Ambassador to Liberia Hélène Cavé made the disclosure on Tuesday, August 20, 2019 in Monrovia during a program marking the official launch of Phase II of the agreement, which has a lifespan of three years.
Amb. Cavé said the technical assistance will support the FDA as lead agency as well as other actors in the forestry sector, including the Liberia Implementation Committee, the National Multi Stakeholder Monitoring Committee, and the VPA Secretariat.
She said that the EU’s commitment towards that goal remains the same after more than five years of working together with GoL.
“The process has significantly improved and progress have been attained; however we still have to go further before issuing FLEGT licenses,” she said.
Madam Cavé continued, “Today we are presenting a competent Technical team, with experts in different aspects of the VPA related topics-forestry management, civil society and community forestry; chain of custody provides the necessary credibility of Liberian timber exports.”
“Let me remind you that Liberia is blessed with magnificent and unique rain forests. If you look around in the West African region, the biggest patches of remaining forests are in Liberia. But they won’t be here forever if we do not take care of them,” she said.
Cavé added, “We from the EU are strongly committed to support Liberia and its forests. We are stepping up our actions to protect the existing forests, to manage forests sustainable as well as actively and create new coverage.”
FDA Managing Director C. Mike Doryen praised the EU for what he called a defined gesture that will certainly go a long way in promoting the sustainable management of the Liberian forest.
Doryen used the occasion to outline achievements made by his management team since President George Weah appointed them.
“I am proud that my administration has been able to comply and cooperate with our development partners,” thereby being able to experience some marked achievements,” Mr. Doryen told the gathering comprising an array of government officials and partners.
He promised to work assiduously with the EU and other partners aimed at raising FDA and the forest sector to a remarkable standard.
He expressed the hope that the path being carved and implemented would continue to practically bear desired fruits for the benefit of the nation at large.
Doryen named some of the development initiatives being fostered by his administration as the construction of a US$292 modern regional complex under construction in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, while ground-breaking ceremony for a similar complex is due soon in Tubmanburg, Bomi County.