USAID/Liberia-Funded FIFES Activity Holds Planning Session with 80 Forestry Sector Stakeholders
Monrovia — The Forest Incomes for Environmental Sustainability (FIFES) Activity, a five-year activity funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by ACDI/VOCA, completed a three-day work planning session with 80 stakeholders from the forestry sector at Millennium Guest House in Monrovia.
The event, which was themed “the year of Community Forest Management Bodies (CFMBs),” took place from September 25–27. The goal of the event was to plan and set targets for activities jointly implemented by the CFMBs and FIFES over the next fiscal year, from October 2019 to November 2020. These targets aim to ultimately provide inclusive, sustainable economic opportunities for rural farmers and forest-dependent communities in a way that also combats deforestation and biodiversity loss.
The sessions brought together stakeholders, beneficiaries, implementing partners, and the donor agency, USAID, for consensus building on annual targets, designing implementation mechanisms, and tracking impacts and reporting accordingly.
FIFES Chief of Party Glenn A. Lines said, “It is a great opportunity that we can have you, the representatives of the FIFES CFMBs here with us in Monrovia for this work planning workshop. As we are all aware this coming year will be the last year of the FIFES Activity and I am thrilled to know that you, the CFMBs, have gained considerable capacity working with the FIFES team over the past few years. As we move forward together, you will be implementing activities over the next year with less intensive engagement from FIFES and I look forward to seeing the great things you will accomplish.”
Lines emphasized that the CFMBs are the custodians of the community forests and he stressed the importance of sustainably managing those forests, even as the FIFES Activity draws toward a close in 2020.
Ian Winborne, the natural resource officer at USAID/Liberia’s Economic Growth Office, said, “I have learned of corruption, illegal contracts and timber companies exploiting situations with community forestry, and we have not seen that with the FIFES activities in the 11 authorized community forests; therefore, I applaud you.”
Winborne also congratulated members of the community forests on becoming good stewards of forest resources and working to conserve biodiversity.
Representing the CFMBs, Emmanuel K. Boahn, who serves as chief officer of the Gblor Community Forest and regional coordinator for the National Union of Community Forest Management Bodies’ Southern Nimba Region, expressed gratitude for FIFES’s role in building their capacity, which has enabled them to sustainably manage their community forests.
“We are happy that we now have the ability to take initiative on our own, managing our community forests, even as we know the FIFES Activity is coming to an end, we encourage USAID to continue to support us and other CFMBs as we persist in our efforts to protect the forests of Liberia,” Boahn said.