The second annual steering Committee meeting for the trans-boundary collaboration for the Tai-Sapo Forest Complex between Liberia and Ivory Coast began yesterday in Monrovia.
Speaking at the opening ceremony yesterday, Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Managing Director, Mr. Harrison Karnwea, commended the participants for being an integral part of promoting the spirit of optimism and the commitment to enhance the efforts of state parties which are cultivating an environment that reduces threats to biodiversity in the Tal-Grebo-Sapo Forest Complex (TGSFC), by seeking a united view of the biodiversity governance required for sustainable development, sustainable livelihoods and conservation of biodiversity.
Mr. Karnwea also commended Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCF), BMZ (German Ministry for Cooperation), the United Nations Environment Program – Great Apes Survival Partnership (UNEP-GRASP), USFWS/USAID program STEWARD (Sustainable and Thriving Environments for West African Regional Development) and the French Global Environment Fund (FFEM-“Fond Français pour l’EnvironementMondial”) for their commitment to a transformative process through linkages across borders.
He said the gathering of the two Mano River Union countries and other International Partners at the sitting signifies a clear manifestation of their strong desire of ensuring the conservation of biodiversity and participatory sustainable management of the natural resources in the Tai-Grebo-Sapo Forest Complex while taking into account the well-being of the local populations.
Mr. Karnwea said the FDA remains committed to the initiatives that both parties jointly set up to maintain the connectivity of protected areas via ecological corridors that was instituted in 2009 with the organizing of a workshop on trans-boundary collaboration for the management and conservation of this Forest Complex between Liberia and Côte d’lvoire.
Spanning across the Côte d’Ivoire and Liberian border, the Tai-Grebo-Sapo Forest Complex forms part of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots and is extremely important for the conservation of numerous endangered species, most notably the rare and endangered Western chimpanzee.
The forest is home to various endemic and endangered species such as the red colobus monkey, the pygmy hippopotamus, various exotic species of duikers, and the Liberian mongoose.
The Tai-Grebo-Sapo Forest Complex represents the largest contiguous bloc of tropical rainforest within the Upper Guinean Forest Ecosystem. In Liberia, it consists of Sapo National Park, Grebo National Forest 900 km of which is been proposed to be transformed into a national park and several large forest concessions in Liberia.