Buchanan, Grand Bassa County - As part of strengthening of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Law Enforcement in Liberia, a European Union (EU) delegation to Liberia and the United kingdom Department for international Development (UKaid-DFID) have officially dedicated a refurbished office for FDA in Buchanan City.
At the turning over program to the agency several items including 15 motorbikes, computers, GPS, furniture, and uniforms were also donated to Liberia’s forestry authority.
The provision of the equipment is a part of an initiative under the Voluntary Partnership agreement (VPA) between the EU and the Republic of Liberia.
The EU and UKaid-DFID delegations to Liberia approved FDA’s request to recondition the office in Buchanan and help procured logistics to enable the VPA process and further strengthened compliance and administrative enforcement under the theme, “Forest Governance capacity building in Liberia” with FDA and Ministry of Justice in support of VPA implementation.
The dedication and turning over ceremony of the facility was held in the Four Houses Community, Buchanan on July 7, 2017.
The program was also attended by officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The building will house the FDA Region Three office, the Environmental protection Agency (EPA) office and the VPA’s support staff.
Darlington Tuangben, the newly appointed Managing Director of FDA, lauded the partners for their involvement in strengthening the law enforcement across all FDA regions in Liberia.
“I was shocked when I came and saw huge number of motorcycles for my workers and a new office being renovated as Region Three office for Grand Bassa County,” Mr. Tuangben said.
He expressed confidence that with support from the partners.
“The FDA team is now in full gear to work tirelessly to ensure that the Forestry Development Law is strengthened and enforced across Liberia”.
Also speaking during the dedication and turning over ceremony, the VPA Support Unit team leader, Abraham Guillen, said the office will strengthen cooperation amongst relevant agencies to enforce the forestry law.
“This region is responsible for the biggest Forest Management Committees in Liberia covering 285,338 hectares out of over 1 million hectares awarded under concession”, Guillen said.
He disclosed that region three received about 23 applications from communities in Grand Bassa, Nimba and Rivercess counties, out of a total 123 applications that have been received by the community forestry development to gain authorized community status as part of a nine step process in order to be awarded community Forestry Management Agreements.
“These agreements are for a period of 15 years to grant rights for communities to manage timber, non-timber forest products and others exported from Liberia through the port of Buchanan, which is also expanding service to other sections”, Guillen explained.
At the same time, the VPA team manager, added that region three is the first region where the transfer of chain of custody operations is to be taken from SGS to the FDA’s legality Verification Department.
SGS or Société Générale de Surveillance is a European based firm that provides inspections, testing, and certification services for the quantity and quality of imported and exported goods.
The Forestry Development Authority is a state corporation established by an Act of the Legislature in 1976 with the mandate of ensuring the sustainable management and conservation of Liberia’s forest and related natural resources for the benefit of current and future generations.
This mandate was further strengthened through the National Resource Law of 1979.
The 2006 National Forestry Reform Law is the current legal instrument that guides the management of forest resources in Liberia.
Report by Elton Wroinbee Tiah, FPA Contributor