Monrovia - The Government of Liberia has signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union to boost and strengthen the country's forestry sector.
The agreement was signed by Ambassador Tina Intelmann, Head of the European Union delegation and Sister Mary Laurene Browne, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Forestry Development Authority during a press conference at the Monrovia City hall on Friday, April 7, 2017.
The Voluntary Partnership Agreement aims to improve forest governance, address illegal logging and promote trade in verified legal timber products from Liberia to the European Union.
Speaking at the press conference, Ambassador Intelmann said the European Union has played an enormous role in helping Liberia to build the forestry sector, adding that it is time for the country to take a complete control of its forest and begin to fund it.
“The European Union has helped Liberia to setup a mechanism before exploiting the forest, and before getting revenue from it. And it's now time for Liberia to take over and start funding it," she said.
"During this joint committee meeting at this handover, funding has been discussed and there is a very strong understanding that before the next fiscal budget is being implemented, the discussions have to go on about the issue of forestry."
She expressed gratitude for the partnership agreement and used the occasion to call on the government to reinforce the legal framework setup by the joint committee to strengthen the forestry sector.
“The legal frameworks we have setup have to be reinforced and the joint committee has set a particular target for it. We are glad about the process and the progress been made, but of course we have agreed that more technical meetings need to be held to make sure that the deal is implemented," she added.
Also speaking, Mary Laurene Browne, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Forestry Development Authority said the voluntary partnership agreement with the European Union is meaningful and cannot be one sided, noting that it is time that Liberians take the initiative and responsibility to continue the process.
The Forestry Development Authority Board Chair also added that Liberia remains committed to carrying out its mandate, asserting that Liberia is in the implementation stage of the voluntary partnership agreement in visions and issuance of the Forestry Law Enforcement Governance and Trade License (FLEGT) by 2020.
“Our Forestry activities are extremely important to us giving the fact that Liberia is still in possession of a large sector of the forest that is found in our sub region. And if you can recall in 2003, there was sanction imposed on our forest activities, but since Liberia ratified the Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union, the European Union has been extremely supportive. We will always be extremely grateful to the European for their involvement and support over the period” she said.
For his part, the Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority, Darlington Tuagben said Liberia holds approximately 43% of the forest estate within the upper Guinea forest ecosystem, adding that viable resources like timber and others coming from the forest are important and should be taken in compliance with the law.
He said the voluntary partnership agreement with the European Union is also intended to ensure that whatsoever timber leaving the country is legally done through the proper channel in compliance with laws.
“FDA and Liberia is prepared to continue the process, and remained committed to ensuring that we play our part to ensure the implementation of our side of the agreement. FDA is an institution that needs to go beyond where we are today to make sure that we are all out in the field” he said.
Earbert Medical Laboratory Begins Operation in Monrovia
Monrovia - Diagnosing illness in Liberia is a serious problem but a new state of art laboratory is set to be a game changer in the medical field.
Located on Russell Avenue in Sinkor, Earbert Medical Laboratory (EML) has opened its doors to the public.
Earl Z. Taweh, CEO of EML explained to FrontPage Africa that he, along with some friends who have passion for the work saw the need to open EML after noticing that it’s becoming a burden on patients when they go to the hospital or clinic for medical checkup. He revealed that they have an expertise in the diagnosing section of the medical field.
Taweh said most medical institutions don’t have the medical equipment or supply to treat patients and sometimes it’s too expensive.
This is a diagnoses center and we started up as just a medical lab but we see that there is need for us to include the radiology department where you come in and do your X-ray, ultra science and also do your EKG and as time goes by we intend to include the dialysis department where will be doing dialysis for Kidney patients and we will also be having doctors who will be on call for consultation just in case there is a need of their help”, he said.
He said he wants every Liberian to understand that the mission of EML is not just to provide patients with pills.
“We opened this place to help all of us to know what type of sicknesses we are suffering from and what type of medicines would be good to help us kill that sickness. So my call to the public is please come and tell us how you are feeling and then we will try our best to fine out the sickness you are suffering from.”