Liberia: UNDP and Sime Darby Vow to Protect Forest
MONROVIA – The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in collaboration with Conservation International (CI) is supporting the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry Development Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency to promote conservation and sustainable livelihood activities.
These Conservation Agreements were signed on Wednesday February 6, 2019, with three Zodua clan concession communities (Karnga, Falie and Gohn) in Garwulah District, Grand Cape Mount County- to protect the Zoduah Community Forests and surrounding forest areas.
The agreement which was signed by the leaders representing the three towns as well as representatives from the Forest Development Authority, Conservation International, local leaders, civil society and Sime Darby who all affixed their signatures to the agreement.
The ceremony which took place in Falie, was approved and witnessed by residents of the three communities, the communities’ local leadership, civil society organizations, youth and women groups and Sime Darby.
“Forestry is everybody’s business. Don’t eat all or else your generation will hold you responsible,” said the FDA representative attending the ceremony.
The Conservation Agreement which is being implemented for a period of one year (renewable) seeks to protect the integrity of the Zodua community forests and surrounding forests by providing sustainable improved livelihood options for communities in return for verified conservation action, strengthening and building the capacities of local communities with respect to sustainable forest management and governance as well as to raise awareness on the importance of biodiversity conservation.
According to UNDP press release, UNDP works closely with and channels resources through Conservation International to target the reduction of deforestation through the oil palm supply chain. And the Conservation Agreement approach is being used to promote the protection of the forests, improve community livelihoods and capacity development.
Meanwhile, members of the Communities, local leadership, central government representatives, civil society groups and development partners voiced their appreciation for the initiative, pledging to work together in sustaining the partnership for the benefits of the next generation.
The release furthered revealed that the three Conservation Agreements are therefore being piloted in the beneficiary communities as a result of a series of processes of engagement and negotiation including feasibility analyses that recognized and applied the Free prior and informed consent (FPIC) and rights based approach.
Under the GEF financed Good Growth Partnership (GGP), UNDP aims to encourage sustainable practices for oil palm while conserving forests and safeguarding the rights of smallholder farmers and forest dependent communities while also supporting the sustainable development of the oil palm sector in Liberia, through the application and promotion of a holistic manner and integrated approach to tackling the challenges related to unsustainable oil palm production across the entire oil palm supply chain.
The release further stated that UNDP works closely and channels resources through several implementing partners including Conservation International to promote multi-stakeholder participation in decision-making, understand the processes of change, and provide solutions through a supply chain approach. UNDP recognizes the landscape approach as a land use and management theory that seeks to simultaneously reconcile competing land uses to achieve social, environmental and economic goals. It focuses on multi-stakeholder participation in decision-making and management to understand the processes of change provide solutions at multiple scales and improve the resilience of local communities and their environments.
The conservation agreements represent a negotiated exchange of benefits in return for changes in resource use, all tied to verified performance.
The GGP through the agreement approach also supports Liberia’s responsibilities as a signatory to the convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and provides a framework for the relationship between and among parties involved in the implementation of conservation and development activities.
The Conservation Agreement establishes a framework for parties involved in the implementation of conservation and livelihood activities in the landscape to relate.
Residents were encouraged to take full ownership of the agreement, and also apply the provisions laid out in the Grievance Redress Mechanism available.