Liberia: Stakeholders Highlight Importance Of One-Health, The Environmental Protection
MONROVIA – On March 10th over 60 participants from multiple institutions, including government, civil society, private sector, and international development partners, converged in Monrovia for a one day groundbreaking National Workshop for One Health and Protected Areas.
The workshop, organized by the USAID-funded Conservation Works Project in partnership with Liberia’s National One-Health Coordination Platform, was attended by diverse group of individuals and organizations from Liberia and across the globe.
The workshop aimed to raise high level awareness about the value and importance of protected areas in Liberia, and increase capacity to operationalize a ‘One-Health’ approach in promoting positive biodiversity outcomes.
One-Health is a collaborative approach involving multiple sectors to improve the health and wellbeing of humans, animals, and the environment, building strong partnerships in human health, veterinary medicine, environmental science and conservation.
The workshop emphasized the importance of protecting Liberia’s unique landscapes and the complex relationships between wildlife and human populations.
Liberia currently has five legally protected forested landscapes, with three Proposed Protected Areas (PPAs) currently being considered for Protected and Conserved Area (PCA) status. PCAs are legally recognized geographic areas dedicated to long term conservation of nature and ecosystems that provide countless direct and indirect benefits to humans and wildlife.
Topics covered during the event included the importance of protected areas in reaching climate, biodiversity, and health targets, the monetary benefits and costs of protecting key landscapes, and methods for employing a One Health approach in protected area conservation. The workshop was followed by a consultation on Mainstreaming Biodiversity for Nutrition and Health, held in collaboration with the World Health Organization.
The National Workshop on One-Health and Protected Areas highlighted the extraordinary work being undertaken by Conservation Works partners and the Government of Liberia to protect PPAs and emphasized the importance of a One Health approach throughout their transition to PCAs.
Conservation Works is implemented by EcoHealth Alliance, in partnership with Fauna & Flora International, Liberia Chimpanzee Rescue & Protection, Partners in Development, and Solimar International.
The National One Health Workshop will be held annually in Liberia, bringing together stakeholders from across sectors to discuss the importance of One Health and protected areas.
The workshop provided knowledge exchange, brainstorming of new ideas, and encourage collaborations that accelerate the protection of Liberia’s unique biodiversity and promote prosperity.
Workshop participants included Ms. Cristina Romanelli, WHO Biodiversity Program Officer, Dr. Irene Naigaga, Regional Program Manager for Africa One Health University Network, Dr. Moses Olusegun Adeoye from West African Health Organization, Hon. Leelia Andrews, Deputy Minister of Agriculture for Technical Services, Hon. C. Mike Doryen, Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority, and Mr. Sonpon Blamo Sieh Sr., Coordinator of Liberia’s National One-Health Platform.
The workshop had Liberian representation, with participants the Forestry Development Authority, Environmental Protection Agency, National Public Health Institute of Liberia, Ministry of Agriculture, University of Liberia, Chief Park Wardens, Park Biologists, prominent community leaders, and One Health-focused conservation NGOs.