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FDA, World Resources Institute launch First Forest Atlas for Liberia

Joseph O. Sayon/JPN-Liberia
Participants at the launching of the  first Forest Atlas for Liberia
Participants at the launching of the first Forest Atlas for Liberia

MONROVIA,LIBERIA-In an effort to ensure the promotion of sustainable forest management and land administration in Liberia, World Resources Institute and the Forestry Development Authority have officially launched the first Forest Atlas for Liberia.

The Atlas serves as a conduit where conservationists and other Civil Society Organizations can receive updates regarding the forest and the land sector of the country in the context of forest cover lost, forest cover gain, number of concessions and the total land areas of those concessions.

Launching the Liberia’s Forest Atlas on December 7, 2016, several facilitators from various conservation and environmental organizations, made selected presentations on the forest sector of Liberia and the importance of the Atlas to conservationists in Liberia.

Liberia’s Deputy Foreign Minister for International Corporation, Deypue Zuo, said the Government of Liberia welcomes the launched of the Country’s first forest Atlas, and described it as a very useful tool to determine the status of the Country’s forest sector.

“We the policy makers can use this kind of Atlas to make decision to improve not only the forest sector, but also enhance or promote development activities in Liberia,”  Mr Zuo said.

He said “Like I spoke in Morocco the issue of Sustainable Forest Management cannot be divorced from Liberia’s development agenda. In Liberia we have enough forest but the utilization is almost very much limited so we need to build serious sensitization amongst the population to make them understand the important of protecting the forest.”    

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Focal Person on Climate Change, Benjamin Karmorh, called on the World Resources Institute to commit funding to improve and build awareness on its activities in the forest sector of Liberia.

“As we launch this forest Atlas, let us now bring in finance because government now is concern about diversifying the county’s economy. Therefore, let us look at forest resources in terms of tourism as there are countries in Africa where its people and visitors are attracted  just to watch mountain Gorillas, we know how much money the watching of Gorillas  bring as economic benefits to these countries”

Karmorh said:“It’s time that we the   technicians invite the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning and the Liberia Revenue Authority to do the economic value of our country to appeal to the conscious  of  decision makers to allay their fears of why we always  seek the  preservation of the forest without economic benefits.”

Mr. Karmorh expressed hope that after the launch of the Atlas, an action plan could be developed to ensure the proper implementation and promotion of the World Resources Institute activities in Liberia.

The Forestry Development Authority(FDA)  Deputy Managing Director, Darlington Tuagben, said understanding the use of the forest Atlas will ease and enhance the work of civil society actors, academia, government actors, students and other Liberians in knowing exactly the status of the country’s forest and land sectors.

World Resources Institute manager for West Africa and Madagascar, Laura B. Vary addressing participants

Darlington said though the Atlas is not 100% perfect yet, it is helpful to every conservationist as the Atlas provides an opportunity to prepare in addressing threats to the forest sector of Liberia.

He said:“We promise, the progress FDA is making is not based on political decision but would be scientific in making sure that everything we do are exact.”

World Resources Institute National Coordinator to Liberia, Joel Gamys,  in his  over view on the significance of the Atlas, emphasized that  his entity is responding to six urgent challenges worldwide including climate, energy, food, water, forest, city and transport.

Gamys said the Liberian program, in Africa is  one of such that focuses on improving land and resource allocation through transparent, comprehensive participatory approach and monitoring natural use to ensure respect for legal publication that is associated  with social and environmental best practices with emphasis on timber, mining and oil palm.

“talking about intervention we  pledged to support on four basis; to use and build tool for application to ensure access to high quality information for user friendly and relevant decision format; another aspect is monitoring and analysis to determine natural resources Policy effectiveness; capacity building, analysis, and outreach to ensure ability of local decision makers and stakeholders to apply forest and natural resource information and that of effective and inclusive governance”, Mr. Gamys told stakeholders.

He said the Atlas is very simple, user friendly and can be used by every individual in Liberia and expressed the need for Liberians to begin thinking about exploring the usefulness of the Atlas for the adaption of future planning on the land and forest sectors.

World Resources Institute manager for West Africa and Madagascar, Laura B. Vary, reminded Liberian forest stakeholders that similar users-friendly atlas was launched in Cameroun and DR Congo among others where use of the  data is free of charge.

She said data within the atlas are accurate because those data are carefully reviewed and process. “You don’t have to pay one cent to use our data on this map, it is absolutely free”,

Vary expressed.The visiting World Resources Institute Executive said her organization serves as channel through which people can have access and promised that they will continue to work with stakeholders in the Liberian forest sector.

The forest atlas project for Liberia began in 2015 with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between World Resources Institute-Global Forest Watch and the Forestry Development Authority in order to ensure sustainable forest governance in the country.

Participants at the launch of the atlas were drilled on how to sustainably and effectively use the Liberian forest atlas to access regarding the needed information. More than 30 persons from various sectors of the forest attended occasion.


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