Consequent to the just ended official launch of Liberia’s share of the Mano River Ecosystem Conservation and International Water Resources Management project held last week in Monrovia, the Mano River Union (MRU) countries in collaboration with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (ICUN) and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) have concluded a Regional Training seminar for the executing agencies, an FDA release has said.
According to the release, the exercise also included the 2nd session of the regional steering committee of the project, aimed at practically driving the dream of the project consistent with the established framework, with the Executing Agencies pledging to ensure that the aims and aspiration of the MRU/ICUN come to fruition.
The regional steering committee, which includes the auxiliaries and focal points from the four MRU countries (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast), through exhaustive two-day deliberations in Monrovia from April 5-6, discussed how best the project could see the reality of its intended purpose for the overall benefit of the MRU countries.
The seminar considered a number of key issues relevant to the growth and development of the MRU countries in the protection of biodiversity in the Mano River basin, the adoption of work plan 2018 of the National Executing Agencies (NEA), presentation of work plan for Regional Executing Agencies (REA), as well as adoption of the consolidated 2018 budget of the project.
Joseph Tally, Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Deputy Managing Director for Operations, expressed gratitude to the four MRU countries for their concerted efforts in upholding the agenda of the project that seeks to protect and promote the values of biodiversity in the sub-region.
Tally registered Liberia’s willingness to be an integral part in fostering the dream of the MRU, especially in the area of conservation of our remaining forest resources in the MRU basin.
MRU Deputy Secretary General Dr. Abu Bakarr Tarawallie commended Liberia for the successful conduct of the seminar.
Tarawallie also thanked other participants from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast for their patience and fortitude that triggered the success of the exercise.
The session was graced by the statutory member of the Regional Steering Committee and key project partner such as African Biodiversity and Climate Change (WABICC) represented by its Chief of Party (COP).
It can be recalled that Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone share the former Upper Guinea forest ecosystem and 10 trans-boundary river basins, which belong to the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS).
These countries have received a GEF Identification card number: 4953 grant of US$6,970,000 for the implementation through IUCN PACO of the regional project “Ecosystem Conservation and Management International Water Resources Fund of the MRU.”
This project, validated by the GEF Secretariat in December 2016 and approved by IUCN in February 2017, aims to strengthen the management of trans-boundary natural resources for sustainable ecological benefits and improved livelihoods for adjacent forest communities.
It supports local communities in the development of alternative means for income generation, which will lead to increased forest cover and its associated benefits at local and global levels (ecosystem services, biodiversity, carbon sinks).
Sierra Leone, Cote D’Voire, and Guinea had already completed their launch exercises, while Liberia deferred the launch exercise to April this year to establish appropriate administrative structures.
The launch is therefore an important step in the implementation of the Mano project, because it is a forum where all stakeholders will be informed of the start of the project’s activities with a reminder of the actions already taken.
The general objective of the launch is to inform the participants about the benefits and expected results of the project’s implementation and to plan the actions to be undertaken in FY1 (2018).