Liberia Set to Create Another National Park as Stakeholders Initiate Gazettement Process of Krahn-Bassa Proposed Protected Area
MONROVIA – The Government of Liberia, through the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and its partners, conducted a one-day National Multi-stakeholder Information-Sharing meeting bordering on the gazettement of the Krahn-Bassa Proposed Protected Area (KBPPA). With technical support from the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF) and funding from the Great Ape Conservation Fund/USFWS, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and the Liberia Forest Sector Project, the meeting was attended by key traditional collaborating partners and stakeholders who expressed overwhelming approval for the gazettment of the future national park as a mechanism for sustainable approach to forest management and biodiversity conservation.
The December 22, 2020 confab was being held at a time when Liberia is demonstrating its willingness to meet its commitment in setting aside 30% of its remaining forest for protection and conservation in line with the Forestry Reform Law of 2006.
From all scientific indications, the Krahn-Bassa Proposed Protected Area undeniably proves to be an outstanding forest region and the home of rich biodiversity including animals and plants which are threatened, endemic or scientifically significant, many of them even being new discoveries to science. Hence, the uniqueness of this area has become nationally and globally noticeable thereby proving its viability and legibility to become another worthy national park in Liberia. Situated in the heart of Liberia, the proposed protected area straddles three counties including Rivercess, Sinoe and Grand Gedeh.
In his opening remarks, the chairman of the Board of Directors of FDA, Hon.Harrison Karnwea Sr., expressed excitement for the work that has been carried out by WCF and the FDA towards achieving the commitment made in the Forestry Reform Law. He reinforced the government pledge of achieving the 30% requirement and challenged WCF to ensure that communities are informed about the national and global significance of this area and are adequately trained to participate in the sustainable management of the park. Also speaking, the Managing Director of the FDA, Hon. C. Mike Doryen, expressed his support for the initiative and promised to work with all government institutions and international partners to ensure the realization of this intent. When approved by the national legislature, the Krahn-Bassa Protected Area will become the 6th in the series protected areas and the 4th 4th national park in Liberia.
Based on the common experiences from the successful and smooth gazettement of Grebo-Krahn National Park in 2017, the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and the Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF) continue to engage local communities and participation of community members in the protection of the proposed protected area, alongside with the establishment of sustainable livelihood projects, awareness and infrastructure development which are seen as key combinations to ensure that the creation of the new protected area is done in the best way, for the long-term benefit of local community members, biodiversity, all Liberians, and the whole world.
During the meeting, participants were drilled through the legal framework for the establishment of protected areas in Liberia, overview and steps leading to the creation of protected areas, as well as the formal presentation of the Krahn-Bassa Proposed Protected Area, including the results of feasibility study conducted and more essentially its potential for ecotourism and research sites.
In their closing remarks, the superintendents from Sinoe, Grand Gedeh and Rivercess Counties, Lee Nabge Chea Sr., Kai G. Farley, and Bismarck Karbiah respectively called for tangible development on the part of the partners in terms of marked benefits that could improve the living conditions of the people. In addition, they promised to encourage and enforce government’s policy as it relates to the protection and conservation of the Krahn-Bassa Proposed Protected Area and specifically request to be informed of all major activities underpinning the gazettement process.
Participants at the meeting included representatives from the Ministries of Mines and Energy, , Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism, Justice, Liberia Land Authority, National Aquaculture and Fisheries Authority, and Environmental Protection Agency. Others were the Traditional Council, representatives of the legislative caucus, national and international NGOS, Liberia National Tourism Association, and the NGO Coalition.