— Tai-Grebo-Krahn-Sapo forest landscape meeting ends in Monrovia
A two-day meeting of the Transboundary Law Enforcement Technical Committee for the Tai-Grebo-Krahn-Sapo forest landscape from March 26-27, 2019, sponsored by USAID through the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF) and the West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change ( WABiCC), has successfully ended in Monrovia, an FDA release has said.
According to the release, stakeholders from Liberia and their Ivorian counterparts further discussed modalities aimed at strengthening transboundary law enforcement mechanisms to protect the forest landscapes along the Liberia/Ivorian border and their inherent biodiversity.
Held at a resort in Monrovia, the forum brought together 46 qualified members from both countries in the areas of law, natural resource exploitation and forest conservation.
In his opening remarks, FDA Deputy Managing Director for Operations, Joseph J. Tally, called for tighter collaboration between the two countries in the fight against those common menaces that tend to undermine efforts being exerted by both countries to keep biodiversity conservation practically alive.
Tally said it was time both countries share procedures, muster the courage and robustly attack those vices that undermine the forest landscapes, thereby undercutting the dream of biodiversity conservation along the Liberia and Ivorian borders.
Similarly, the head of La Côte d’Ivoire delegation, Sihindou Coulibaly, lauded the people and government of Liberia, and referenced the longstanding historical ties between the two countries that have kept the torch of brotherliness always burning with peace and cordiality.
Coulibaly, then expressed the hope that the two countries will continue to sustain the pace of such relationship, whose foundation had been laid by the founding fathers, which he said observed and respected unabated at all levels.
A sequel to the first technical session held in La Côte d’Ivoire in November, 2018, the stakeholders comprehensively reviewed and scrutinized the progress made on the recommendations from the previous meeting.
Respectively, presentations were made by experts from the two sides, all pointing to how best the landscape can be managed and sustained consistent with the law.
A number of gaps and challenges were identified by the participants, while practicable solutions were advanced to minimize, if not totally curb the prevailing illegal transboundary activities that continue to undercut efforts geared at upholding the tenet and practices of biodiversity conservation in the forest complex.
Participants agreed to amalgamate forces as inseparable team members to ensure that the claws of illegal activities in and around the landscape are quelled as far as the terms of reference (ToR) of the Technical Committee is concerned.
They made specific reference to information sharing mechanism as one key component that will cement the law enforcement approach by both parties.
A number of vital recommendations were also made by both sides to include the recruitment and training of sizable forest rangers in forest laws for the Grebo-Krahn National Park and the effective joint security meetings, and patrols as proactive means to curtail threatening circumstances that could possibly arise.
The Tai-Grebo-Krahn-Sapo forest complex represents one of the largest forest blocks in the West Africa sub-region that covers more than 10,000 square kilometers, which embodies several protected areas, classified forests as well as logging concessions.
Due to current pressure from human activities, according to the release, the remaining ecosystem is fragmented as a result of natural resource trafficking, including illegal bush meat trade, transboundary timber trafficking, illegal land sale for agriculture purposes on both sides of the river that are counterproductive to the health of the landscape.
Against this backdrop, in 2009, the governments of La Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia committed to better controlling the cross border trade of natural resources, and combating illegal activities that threaten biodiversity.