Monrovia – BlueEarth Capital, Inc. (“BlueEarth”), in collaboration with the leadership of Ziadue Clan in Rivercess County, Liberia (“Ziadue Leadership”), and the Ziadue Community Land Development Management Committee (the “Ziadue CLDMC”), has issued a joint statement to clarify recent concerns, correct inaccuracies, and reaffirm their shared commitment to developing a reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (“REDD+”) project in Rivercess County.
Community Consultations and Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC)
BlueEarth, dedicated to the highest standards of integrity in REDD+ project development, conducted a two-day site visit to Rivercess County and organized extensive community consultations with over eighty community members in attendance. Ziadue Leadership and the Ziadue CLDMC have expressed full support for these community engagement efforts, which included providing comprehensive project information and receiving overwhelmingly positive community feedback. These efforts led to the signing of a non-binding letter of intent (LOI) to explore the REDD+ project’s viability in Rivercess County.
The parties involved stress their commitment to the principles of free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) and emphasize that they will only proceed with the REDD+ project if there is broad-based community support. They acknowledge the necessity of further community consultations to ensure widespread community approval before entering into long-term agreements.
Refutation of Claims of Inducement
BlueEarth, Ziadue Leadership, and the Ziadue CLDMC vehemently deny allegations in a recent article by The DayLight that suggest BlueEarth resorted to inducement, bribery, or unethical practices to secure the LOI. They clarify that, in accordance with guidelines for FPIC by The Center for People and Forests, BlueEarth covered modest food, beverage, and transportation costs during community consultations, with no intent to influence the negotiation of the LOI. Ziadue Leadership and the Ziadue CLDMC emphasize their voluntary partnership with BlueEarth, driven by the belief that the proposed REDD+ project will benefit the Ziadue community positively.
Proposed Project Longevity Period & Project Area
Concerns about the proposed 25-year project longevity period have been acknowledged by all parties, who reiterate that no long-term agreements have been finalized. They commit to addressing community feedback through open discussions. While they are open to exploring a shorter project longevity period, it is noted that the Voluntary Carbon Standard requires a minimum longevity period of 30 years to demonstrate permanence and qualify for carbon credits. The proposed 25-year agreement, with a 10-year extension option, is in accordance with Liberian law, specifically the Land Rights Act of 2018.
As the REDD+ project progresses, additional mapping and ground truthing will be necessary to identify eligible project areas controlled by the Ziadue CLDMC, excluding any conflicted land. Ineligible sections due to other land use agreements will not be pursued.
Augustine Jarrett, CEO of BlueEarth, emphasized the commitment to transparency, integrity, and community engagement in developing REDD+ projects that meet the highest FPIC standards.
Emmanuel Roberts, Chairperson of the Ziadue CLDMC, highlighted the extensive involvement of the entire Ziadue community in the decision-making process, with a series of meetings conducted to discuss partnering with BlueEarth Capital.
Philip H. Tarweah Sr., Region Coordinator for Rivercess County and a Ziadue CLDMC member, expressed gratitude for the fruitful negotiations and the FPIC process.
BlueEarth, Ziadue Leadership, and the Ziadue CLDMC stress their shared commitment to building a meaningful partnership based on mutual respect, open communication, and shared decision-making. They pledge to continue using ethical practices, addressing concerns as they arise, upholding transparency, and ensuring that the proposed REDD+ project contributes to the well-being of the community, forest conservation, and climate change mitigation.
The joint statement aims to address concerns, provide clarity, and reaffirm their dedication to sustainable REDD+ project development in Liberia’s Rivercess County.