“Forest Instrument Made Achievements In Liberia”…Says FAO Country Rep.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in collaboration with forest stakeholders have said significant contributions were made towards reducing deforestation and forest degradation through the implementation of its Non-Legally Binding Instrument (NLBI) known as the Forest Instrument.

At the project closing workshop held in Monrovia, the Country Representative of the FAO-Liberia, Jean-Alexandre Scaglia told the participants that forest as a fantastic source of income generation could become a national resource if managed properly.

Considering the project title, “Moving forward in the implementation of Non-Legally Binding Instrument on all types of forests,” Mr. Scaglia recalled how the project has supported the development of training modules and the delivery of training of trainers on the three priority issues of the stakeholders.

He said the project result has proven by great evidences that small investment in forest can yield enormous results and multiply effects for rural families recapping how a farm family who owns 25 beehives with total cost of about US$740 to start with should generate total revenue of US$1,500 annually for four years.

Mr. Scaglia said as the NLBI project phase elapses to be replaced by the Farm and Forest Facility (FFF) Project, Liberia has to scale up and continue to work directly with communities engaged in forestry for livelihood because the project will expand on activities aimed at sustaining a vibrant forest program.

He said the FFF will begin work later this year and is expected to consolidate achievements obtained from the NLBI Project, the National Forest Program Facility, Growing Forest Partnership and other forest-based interventions undertaken by the government of Liberia and the FAO.

Meanwhile some other contributions made by the NLBI were to support the capacity building of forest stakeholders in Liberia and the national monitoring and evaluation processes whilst the forest instrument provided the framework for systematic bottom-up framework. It also helped to build consensus among forest stakeholders and identified the gaps for which sustainable forest management could be meaningful.

Some priorities discovered during the project under the NLBI were to enhance the contribution of forest to poverty reduction and sustainable development, promote efficient utilization of forest products; support capacity building as well as to review and strengthen law enforcement, among others.

The objective of the forest instrument was also geared toward strengthening political commitment and actions at all levels and to implement sustainable forest management basically due to the overarching policy framework, assessment and monitoring instrument of coordination of forest related initiatives; to attain better understanding on the forest policies; and to encourage new policies guide and National Forest Program implementations.

The NLBI project cost put at Euro $1,145,621 was a 2-year project which was expected to commence August 2010 in three countries namely Liberia, Nicaragua and Philippines. It was funded by German Federal Ministry of Nutrition, Agriculture and Consumers Protection (BMELV) and implemented by the FAO. It was launched in Liberia in November and a national forestry steering committee was given the oversight responsibility.

The major objective was to move forward in the implementation of the NLBI on forests on a demonstration basis and Liberia has already achieved that. Other objectives were to identify where each country stands on the national policy measures; agreed in the NLBI involving all stakeholders and considering all important ongoing forestry initiatives.

In May 2007, the United Nations Forum on Forests adopted the NLBI on all types of forests as a pilot project with a significant international consensus to boost the implementation of sustainable forest management; to maintain and enhance the economic, social and environmental values of all types of forests for the benefit of present and future generations; C. Winnie Saywah writes.

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