FDA, CFWG Seek New Direction For Community Forest


Monrovia – Stakeholders of the Forestry Development Authority and Community Forest Working Group (CFWG) have begun seeking ways and processes through which they can infuse dynamism and strengthen bond into community forest management.

Community forest management is part of an overall process that defines the roles of community dwellers in how their forests are managed and the benefits they stand to get with the help of different agencies.

Given different challenges in the attainment of such tasks, FDA/CFWG last week held a three-day retreat where they brainstormed on the way forward and how they can once more coagulate subsisting bonds.

Themed “Strengthening Bond for Community Forest in Liberia,” Retreat 2016 brought together stakeholders from forest management institutions in Liberia, with an urge for greater participation and input.

In her remarks at the opening of ‘Retreat 2016,’ FDA’s Technical Manager of Community Forest termed the meeting ‘historic’ because it the first of its kind and called on participants to “give their best during the deliberations.”

“I will like to admonish all of us to take up our time, and go through this exercise with all our hearts; that is the reason we left from town, we have come here, to sit and be very mindful and thoughtful of what we are here for,” Madam Gertrude W.K. Nyaley rallied the gathering.

“It is expected that after this meeting, we will have a resolution as to how this group will be organized, how it will be managed, and how this group will impact community forestry in Liberia.

“The overview of this working session is to define our roles and responsibilities as it relates to community forestry management in Liberia.”

The CFWG came into being when the United Nations Security Council slapped Liberia with biting sanctions to work with different institutions on mitigating the ills that necessitated the imposition of the sanctions.

In the wake of different occurrences and shifts, the CFWG also seems a bit determined to strength itself and cope with changing realities in a way that enables it set and meet benchmarks in community forestry management in Liberia.

In his statement read on his behalf, FDA Managing Director Harrison Karnwea expressed heartwarming sentiments to the excellence with which the CFWG carried out its duties and responsibilities over the years in Liberia’s community forestry program with the help of national and international partners.

Full of praise for the level of cooperation and support partners have been working with the FDA, he also emphasized how the FDA places high premium on the activities of the CFWG.

Statistically, Liberia is homed to 40% of the world renewable forest in the Guinea, meaning that the country stands tall amongst nations of the world in its forest management.

He said that fact that Liberia has emerged from inappropriate activities over the years such as deforestation and forest degradation with no benefits to its owners, shows that “the need to ensure its sustainable management has become even more compelling.”

Mr. Karnwea reminded the gathering about legal frameworks put in place to properly manage Liberia’s forest as part of the forest reform initiatives.

He said the onus was now on every stakeholder to ensure the achievement of benchmarks provided for in reform processes and legal frameworks.

Also in their remarks, other entities such as USAID-PROSPER, FAO, Conservation International reflected on the work done and the work ahead and urged participants to work toward getting a fruitful outcome.

Nobel Jackson on behalf of USAID-PROSPER reminded stakeholders to ensure a successful gathering by remaining engaged for the duration of the Retreat, stressing “your decision that will come out of here will, indeed, determine the status of the CFWG in Liberia.”

“With partners and donors who supporting forest management in Liberia, they cannot wait to see a show of commitment by civil society organizations and stakeholders in the Sector to provide the support that is required to help communities move forward in the sector.”

“So, it is therefore our hope, as a partner to FDA sponsored by USAID that you will put in your best that after this Retreat, people can have something they can show as a tangible outcome of this all-important gathering.”

Meanwhile, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), SCNL, FIFES, FAO, SDI, and REDD+ were institutions honored by the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) for their continued support over the years.

Although a government entity, the FDA is also relying on external support from partners to execute the many responsibilities before it, to ensure proper management of Liberia’s forest which continues to be threatened by different events.

The honors were bestowed on the concerned entities last weekend in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County during a three-day Retreat organized by the FDA in partnership with Community Forest Working Group (CFWG).

Technical Manager for Community Forest at the FDA, Madam Gertrude G.W. Nyaley who oversaw the honoring exercise was recognition of their respective roles and supports in the organization of the Retreat.

Given past experiences with other organizations, she said they had serious apprehensions during the organization of the Retreat, thinking they’d not get the needed attention and support because of the shortness of time.

On the contrary, most of the entities contacted very positively, thus giving the impression that they met well for the work they do.

Of the several entities communicated to, Madam Nyaley said it was befitting that they honor the few stood by them, noting “but what is greatly appreciated by me and the FDA today is that even local institutions that had minimal projects will able to identify with the FDA financially to bring all of us here today.”

“So, it is only fitting and proper that the FDA recognizes and appreciates what they have done for us and the CFWG.”

Wordings on the certificates read: “The Forestry Development Authority on behalf of the Community Forest Working Group presents this Certificate of Appreciation in appreciation of their supports to the FDA.”

The three-day which began July 7-9, 2016 under the theme “Strengthening the Bond for Community Forest in Liberia” aimed to reflect on the challenges facing the entity, to carve new programs and ideas that enhance progress and productivity.

The event attended by stakeholders of the forestry sector locally and internationally was sponsored by entities with huge interest in seeing a new trend in Liberia’s community forest programs and activities.

Community forest management became notorious following the imposition of sanctions by the United Nations Security Council in response to ill-fashioned approaches that led to depletion of the forest with no benefits to its direct owners.

Along with CFWG, the FDA is working in communities across the country, providing sensitization awareness to communities about the roles in the management of their forest.