The Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Sustainable Trade Initiative (STI), concession heads, civil society representatives, stakeholders, donor partners have stressed the need for the forest management process to move forward.
These assertions were advanced yesterday in Monrovia at a one day consultative conference on the Concept Note crafted by the IHD Sustainable Trade Initiative.
The ceremony was held at the National Bureau of Concessions (NBC) in Monrovia, where FDA Managing Director Harrison S. Karnwea, Sr., said in order for Liberia to conserve the forest, a letter of Intent was signed last year with the Kingdom of Norway in New York, the United States of America.
According to him, the actual intent of that letter signed with Norway is to preserve and conserve the Liberian forest and increase productivity in the cash and food crops.
He also pointed out that Liberia does not want to conserve the forest and see Liberians dying with hunger and other related socio-economic hardships in the country.
“As a result of that vital forest initiative, a high-powered delegation is currently in the country to hold discussions with the government, stakeholders, forest concessionaires, partners in the oil palm sector in the country,” Director Karnwea asserted.
He also disclosed that the two separate delegations are in the country to assist Liberia forest stakeholders and partners work out plans that would make the Liberian forest productive and sustainable.
Earlier, the Director General of the National Bureau of Concessions, Madam Ciata Bishop, urged the participants to talk and work out concrete modalities for the sustainable preservation of the Liberian forest.
“It is our hopes that our partners will work together to finalize documents that would be in the best interest of the country,” Madam Bishop concluded.
In a brief remark, the Focal Person on Liberia-Norway deal, Arid Skedsmo, urged the participants to accelerate the process of putting finishing touches to the documents that would enhance the sustainable management and conservation of the forest.
Also speaking, Civil Society representative Francis K. Colee of Green Advocates assured the FDA management and partners of the Liberian civil society groups willingness to work together and finalize the forest documents.
He then stressed the need for the enhancement of the forest concept paper in order that forest dwellers and community land owners could experience the benefits of their natural resources.
“We are all in the same boat and I want to assure you people that we will work together to see the practical implementation of the concept paper,” Mr. Colee noted.
The concept paper among other components intimated that international companies are compelled to avoid deforestation by their commitment to environmental standards at every level.
According to the paper, the successful development of concessions necessarily requires the simultaneous achievement of commercial, community and conservation objectives.