Residents of protected forest communities in Grand Cape Mount and Gbarpolu counties have called on the Government of Liberia (GoL) to provide the 30 per cent commitment made in the National Forestry Law of 2006, to foster development in their communities.
The community dwellers made the resolution at the end of a 3-day knowledge-sharing workshop with stakeholders organized by the Community Development Initiative (CDI) in collaboration with Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).
According to the residents, if the money is provided, it will enhance capacity building training opportunities for protected forest communities and create awareness on forest issues as well as empower the locals to hold concession companies accountable on forests management.
They stressed the need for continued stakeholders awareness on REDD’s interventions, relative to benefit sharing, proper monitoring of all parties to ensure commitment to achieving the program’s objectives and to support communities’ livelihood activities.
One of the workshop’s facilitators, Moses B. Jagah, Jr., said benefit sharing for protected forest communities is important for creating necessary incentives to change deforestation and forest degradation behavior, thereby reducing carbon emissions.
“The principle of REDD+ is for tropical countries to reduce the level of emissions from deforestation and degradation and to enhance their carbon stocks,” he said.
Jagah said a well-designed benefit-sharing mechanism can support the effectiveness of forest management and increase the efficiency of the program.
“The rewards of benefit sharing are based on the estimate of carbon saved to determine financial incentives that can stimulate changes in behavior and policy framework of forest-dependent communities,” he said.
He said that forest carbon refers to the constant movement of carbon from the land and water through the atmosphere and living organisms.
Jagah added that at a global scale, forests help maintain earth’s carbon balance.
He said that the incentives are meant to foster the development of appropriate institutional arrangements and needed technologies.
They are also to motivate both national and international coordination to achieve the objectives of reducing deforestation and degradation as well as climate change mitigation.
CDI executive director Lawrence Bondo promised to take the participants’ resolution to the government for redress as they are important for community development.
Grand Cape Mount County Superintendent, Aaron B. Vincent, expressed gratitude to CDI and REDD+ for the training, stating that the training was helpful to enable residents to understand the forest benefits which they should receive from the government.