Monrovia – On Monday, November 5, 14 vehicles were donated by Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) to augment the workings of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).
The vehicles were procured consistent with component one of the Liberia Forest Sector Project, which calls for the capacity strengthening of the project implementing entities.
The project implementing entities include the FDA, Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Mines and Energy, Liberia Land Authority and the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-information Services (LISGIS).
Funding for the purchase of the vehicles was provided by Norway under the Letter of Intent signed between both governments.
The World Bank is the trustee of the funds while REDD+ is rolling out the implementation of the Liberia Forest Sector Project.
Mr. Saah A. David, REDD+ National Coordinator, emphasized that the vehicles are donated for the sole purpose of FDA works and the project and should not be abused for commercial purposes and other unrelated works.
“What we have seen is that people use these vehicles to run transportation; they also use them outside of FDA hours and not working hours,” he stated.
The vehicles, for the next two years, will be managed by the project, adding that both fuel and mechanic purposes will be handled by REDD+.
He added that two small, multiple use reserved boats are on Lake Piso in Grand Cape Mount County, and will be donated at a suitable time.
Five Toyota Land Cruiser pickups will be going to the Sapo National Park, Wologizi, Lake Piso, ENNR, and Gola.
The regional offices will receive four of the vehicles why the Regional Offices De-concentration of Community Forestry function will receive four and the Protected Area Management – FDA will receive one.
FDA Managing Director C. Mike Doryen said it is time that industrialized nations avoid reneging on commitments made by them at the Paris Agreement.
“All countries were also encouraged to implement and support REDD+ in Article 5 of the Paris Agreement. This was part of a broader Article that specified that all countries should act to protect and enhance their greenhouse gas sinks and reservoirs (stores of sequestered carbon).
“They signed up to the agreement but the industrialized world is reneging on their responsibility,” he further stated.
The forestry boss commended Norway for funding and enhancing FDA’s capacity for the past three years.
He emphasized the need for capacity building adding that two employees may acquire Ph.D. before he leaves the agency.
Doryen disclosed that FDA does not have a wildlife vet; adding: “The British Ambassador has promised to provide training, equipment to the Confiscation Unit. When we confiscate wildlife, it has to be accessed, before sending it back into the wild. Currently, it is being done by a private firm, but as a government, we need to get hold of it.
“The world must know that we negotiated with Norway, they have agreed to spend US$200,000 at our Forestry Training Institute (FTI) campus to have some of the key facility refurbished. We have applied to the Commission on Higher Education to grant AA degree so that those, who graduate from the FTI will directly be enrolled into the University of Liberia Agriculture Department.”