Additionally, to further help strengthen FDA’s law enforcement capacity at the national level, VPA will also provide some forestry and logistical equipment including motorcycles, laptop computers, printers, GPS units, uniforms, cameras and office equipment for use by all four FDA Regional Offices.
The refurbishment of the building and procurement of the equipment and materials was funded by the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom Department for International Development (UKaid/DFID).
The refurbishment of the office and the donation of the materials is a start of a Sustainable Forest Management Pilot Project that has been initiated to enhance law enforcement in the forestry sector through the “Forest Governance Capacity Building in Liberia with the FDA, Ministry of Justice in Support of VPA Implementation”.
Given that about 80% of 190,199 cubic meters exported from Liberia in 2016 were handled through the Port of Buchanan, VPA and FDA agreed on the need to strengthen FDA’s operations in district offices in FDA Region 3 covering Grand Bassa, Nimba and Rivercess Counties.
The three major companies operating in FDA Region 3 include The Forest Management Contract (FMC-B), owned and operated by E.J&J Investment Corporation; Forest Management Contract (FMC-C), owned and operated by Liberia Tree & Trading and; Forest Management Contract (FMC-K), which is owned and operated by International Consultant Capital (ICC). These companies channel their logs through the Port of Buchanan.
The ceremony will be led by the Government of Liberia represented by the Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority Mr. Darlington S. Tuagben, Chargé d'affaires Mrs. Emma Sundblad of the EU Delegation to Liberia and Ambassador David Belgrove of the United Kingdom.
The EU Delegation acknowledges the continued engagement with the Government of Liberia through the FDA and the VPA process from the civil society, communities and the private sector.
These participants include the VPA National Multi-Stakeholder Monitoring Committee, which comprises the NGO Coalition of Liberia, the National Union of Community Forestry Development Committee, the Liberia Timber Association, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Ministry of Labor and the Liberia Revenue Authority and others.
The European Union and the Government of Liberia signed the Voluntary Partnership Agreements which has been extended to number of countries with the aim of assuring the legality of timber imported to the EU.
Liberia has decided to go one step further and apply the VPA principles to all timber exported from Liberia, including to countries outside the EU. Only through legality can we ensure that forests are managed sustainably and that communities get their fair share of benefits from their forest. Ultimately the VPA process will support the whole country through the collection of fair taxes, creating wealth and jobs.