The House of Representatives has unanimously voted to concur with the Liberian Senate on Tuesday, August 22, to pass into law the establishment of the Grebo-Krahn National Park.
The Grebo-Krahn National Park was formerly the Grebo National Forest.
The House concurred following a report from the Joint Committee on Agriculture, chaired by River Cess Representative Byron Zehwea, recommending approval to support the action of the Liberian Senate on Engrossed Bill No. 10 entitled “An Act to establish the Grebo National Forest as Grebo-Krahn National Park.”
Rep. Zehwea said his committee on Agriculture & Forestry worked closely with his counterpart, Senator Morris Saytumah (Bomi County) during stakeholder meetings. According to the River Cess lawmaker, part of the committee’s findings calls for the management of the park which is largely natural or near natural areas set aside for the protection of large-scale ecological processes. Along with the completion of species and ecosystems characteristic of the area, the park provides a foundation for environmentally and culturally compatible spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational and visitor opportunities.
He also said the park will have a permanent component of the protected area network, managed in accordance with the laws of Liberia and international best practices of national resources, and subject to such rules and regulations as may from time to time be transparently established by the authority to protect the natural ecosystem of the Grebo-Krahn National Park.
Rep. Zehwea said the project area, which stretches from Taï National Park in Côte d’Ivoire to Grebo Forest and Sapo National Park in Liberia, covers the largest remaining rain forest in West Africa.
Government institutions and local actors in Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia successfully worked together to connect the forest ecosystems in the Taï-Grebo-Sapo border region.
Zehwea said the project will strengthen the capacity of the institutions involved to co-manage the region’s natural resources and biodiversity and at the same time, “it will improve connectivity between the ecosystems and protected areas and strengthen cooperation between the two countries.”
According to the report, the project will focus on three areas of activity in which authorities in Côte d’Ivoire will set up an ecological corridor between Taï National Park and Grebo Forest. “To this end, OIPR (Office Ivoirien des Parcs et des Reserves) and other relevant political institutions – including the ministries of planning, agriculture, and forestry – are to be assisted in creating the necessary enabling conditions,” the report said.
Furthermore, it said regular communication and exchange forums will foster cooperation among the political actors at the national level and the project will provide measures that will enhance the performance of the capacity of the local Ivorian and Liberian partners.
Joint trans-boundary management will safeguard the ecological corridors more effectively by way of support because the project will set up a network of all the protected areas. The exchange of knowledge between all the partners involved in the project on the Liberian and Ivorian sides will help make the entire region more stable and secure and also better able to address issues affecting the forest sector, the report said.
The report said the Grebo Forest will be turned into a national park to ensure better connectivity between the various protected areas and buffer zones.