MONROVIA: The Board Chairman of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Mr. Harrison Karnwea has alarmed that Liberia may not benefit from a US$1 million trust fund being managed by Conservation International for conservation purposes if the Liberian government does not make her contribution to the fund.
According to Mr. Karnwea, the arrangement reached for the establishment of the fund is that the Liberian government owns contribution will march the US$1 million following which 10% of the fund will be provided the FDA for conservation purposes.
Mr. Karnwea, a former Managing Director of the FDA who revealed that up to this point the Government of Liberia is yet to contribute a single cent to the fund, stressed that unless government meets her side of the bargain, international partners who set up the US$1 million trust fund will not allow Liberia to benefit from the fund.
Speaking Tuesday, December 22, 2020, at a one-day national stakeholders’ information sharing meeting on the gazettement of the proposed Krahn-Bassa Protected forest held in Paynesville, Mr. Karnwea urged the management of the FDA to persuade government to make its contribution to the fund, emphasizing that such money is to come from taxes being generated by central government.
Turning to the Krahn-Bassa proposed protected forest, Mr. Karnwea noted that following the setting aside of 30% of the Liberian forest by government in the 2006 National Forest Reform Law, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is holding government’s feet to the fire and that as part of the indicators, Liberia has conserved more than 1.5 million hectors of its remaining forest for said purpose.
He then called for training of more people in the conservation department, saying committing money to the training of mainly young people would enhance the strength of rangers and others in the conservation sector as the absence of adequate manpower would render the on-going forest conservation initiative fruitless.
Speaking Earlier, the Managing Director of the FDA, Mr. C. Mike Doryen, said the gathering of stakeholders for information sharing on the protected Krahn-Bassa forest signifies progress and shows that Liberia is moving forward in terms of natural resources protection.
Mr. Doryen: “Thanks for making sure our natural resources are protected so that our country can be retained on the list of nations that are considered biodiversity hot spots; this is very important to us as you will see in the long run,” he asserted.
Madam Comfort Tweh Sakui, Manager of Awareness and Ecotourism at the FDA reiterated that under the new forest reform law, the Liberia government has committed to providing 30% of the existing forest in the country for conservation. She explained that this commitment led to the establishment of a proposed protected area network covering 1.5 hectors of forest.
Madam Tweh Sakui: “This commitment shall help to protect Liberia’s unique biodiversity and create a sustainable livelihood and benefit for the local communities.
The FDA and partners are working towards the legal recognition of the protected areas mainly the proposed Krahn-Bassa protected forest located in Grand Gedeh, Sinoe and Rivercess Counties.”
The daylong meeting was attended by line government’s ministries and agencies including the Ministries of Mines & Energy; Information, Cultural and Tourism; National Fisheries and Aqua Cultural Authority; the Liberia Land Authority; the Superintendents of Grand Gedeh, Rivercess and Sinoe Counties; NGOs and INGOs working in the environmental sector; the EPA and host the FDA and Wild Life Chimpanzee Foundation.