Enumerators Identify Drivers of Conflicts in Concessions Areas in Liberia

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Monrovia – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has embarked on one month data collection exercise in four concession areas within four counties: Grand Cape Mount, Nimba, Maryland and Sinoe. 

FAO, the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), and United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in January 2017, signed the project titled “Strengthening National Reconciliation through improved understanding of Conflict Drivers in Concession Areas and Establishment of Stakeholder Platforms”. In this project, FAO is responsible for conducting a study on the impact of concessions operations on the traditional use of forest resource.

To implement this study, sixteen (16) enumerators have been selected and trained in May 2017.

They are now deployed within the four concession areas in the four counties. The objective of the study according to the FAO facilitator is to identify the main drivers of conflicts in concessions especially in communities that are natural resource reliant.

The study also seeks to improve understanding of the impact of concessions on the livelihoods of local communities, establish four collaborative dialogue platforms in four concession areas, and strengthen the institutional capacity of the National Bureau of Concession. 

It may be recalled that the targeted concession areas such as Sime Derby, Cavalla Rubber Plantation, Arcelor Mittal and Golden Veroleum in Grand Cape Mount, Maryland, Nimba and Sinoe Counties respectively have recorded violent demonstrations and road blocks which degenerated into vandalism of companies’ facilities.

In his closing remarks at the close of a week-long training session, FAO’s Administrative and Finance Assistant, Amadu Dorley explained that the result of the survey would help stakeholders make informed decisions to improve collaboration between the communities and the concession companies.

He also encouraged participants to take advantage of the exercise to improve their skills for future venture.

“This survey is important for the improvement of the livelihoods of communities.

This study will allow the National Bureau of concession (NBC) to negotiate concession agreements that would benefit both the communities and the concessionaires,” Dorley added.

One participant, Shadrach Yancy lauded the effort of FAO and partners for such a rewarding initiative.

“I am confident that the survey report will improve the relationship between our people and the companies,”

He said most of the communities within these concession areas have recorded violence in the past, “Bringing such a project will lead to some level of dialogue that will sustain peace within the areas,” he noted.

He called on the Government of Liberia to join hands with FAO and partners to spread this initiative across other communities within concession areas who have experienced similar situation.

Report by Snotee Sorboh- [email protected]

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