The National Steering Committee on Climate Change (NSCCC) under the auspices of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) has approved a five strategy plan for the implementation of the REED+ forest project in Liberia. This followed months of extensive negotiations and critical documents finalized with support from partners.
In an interview with the Daily Observer yesterday, the National Coordinator for the REDD+ project in Liberia, Saah David Jr, said the official signing ceremony was held at the MFDP on June 28, and was attended by all forest stakeholders and representatives of the support partners.
Mr. David disclosed that the four main strategic plans include but are not limited to building the capacities of communities to sustainably manage the forest and its biodiversity. The commercial component also includes the sustainable commercial logging in Liberia that is unfolding around the world. It would ensure the protection of the Liberian forests against the ugly practices of depletion and poor conservation practices which requires Protected Area Management and Protected Area Network. Under that network, the Liberian Government has agreed to set aside thirty percent of the Liberian forests for future generation of Liberians.
The fourth component, Mr. David told the Daily Observer, is the High Conservation Value Area (HCVA) which according to him, are given to commercial logging companies by Liberian Government through concession agreements under the Liberian laws and those areas are principally situated in densely forested areas of the country.
The REED+ Liberia official added that the fifth REDD+ Liberia plan states how communities that are on the fringes of forest areas would not only benefit from the resources but get a fair share of the approved financial and capacity building initiatives of the REDD+ Liberia project in their respective communities.
As the REED+ Liberia forest project begins its practical implementation in the country, Mr. David explained, the crucial issue of gender is under serious consideration and would be inclusive during all aspects of the implementation in the selected areas in the country.
Asked when the practical aspect of implementation will start in Liberia especially in the affected forest areas, Mr. David pointed out that was the expression stressed by the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Boima Kamara, at the June 28, 2017 signing ceremony in Monrovia.
He also disclosed that this week, the Forestry Department of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and REDD+ Liberia team are expected to travel to Zwedru City, Grand Gedeh County to meet with selected communities that have met all requirements and added not only ordinary meetings or talk but have start the practical aspect of assisting them with needed resources for the sustainable livelihoods in that part of the country.
Mr. David further noted that the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) as a major implementing partner of the Liberia Forest Sector Project (LFSP) of the REDD+ Liberia initiative will shortly commence the distribution of viable seeds for sustainable agricultural activities to citizens and residents of the forest affected areas in the country.
“I want to let the public and Liberians know that we have begun the roll out of the various aspects of the REED+ Liberia project and within a few months, affected forest communities will start its pledges practical in the specific forest areas in our country,” Mr. David assured.
Shedding light on the number of affected communities, Mr. David intimated that there are 40 to 70 communities in Liberia and also in partnership with the MOA, a collaborative initiative will be put in place to work with farmers to do what he called as “Smart Agriculture.”
Besides, Mr. David disclosed that the REED+ Liberia is working with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the areas of environmental awareness, degradation and protection that would also ensure the sustainable management of the Liberian environment.
The REED+ executive also asserted that a total of five of vehicles and four motorbikes have been donated to the EPA intended to empower the personnel that are working with the REED+ Liberia project fr monitoring, supervision, awareness and extensive evaluation in the country.
One of the cardinal objectives of the REED+ Liberia project is for the personnel working around the clock to change the mind set Liberians have about the critical consequences of climate change that have already started taking a toll on the country.
“For the next 18 months of the REED+ Liberia project implementation, about US36.7 million has been provided by the Government of Norway to enhance the protection of the Liberian forest and its vital biodiversity in specific selected areas,” Mr. David stressed.
The governments of Norway and Liberia a few years ago, following extensive negotiations in and out of Liberia, signed a Letter of Intent for the provision of funds for the protection of thirty percent of Liberia’s remaining forest and its critical biodiversity.