PARTICIPANTS OF GIS TRAINING
The first in a two part capacity development and enhancement training for key national Geo-Information Service (GIS) and Quantum Geo-Information Service (QGIS) technicians took place from 13th-16th February 2018 at the Corina Hotel in Monrovia. Funded by Norway under the UN REDD technical assistance, supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the training was aimed at developing and analyzing spatial information to support REDD+ planning at the national level with a focus on the multiple benefits provided by forests as well as mapping pressures on these ecosystems.
It targeted GIS professionals who are actively involved with REDD+ and spatial analysis as well as focused on teaching how QGIS software and other GIS based tools can be used to carry out analyses on baseline hydrology and water resources and the potential impacts of land use, land management and climate change. The training also encompassed how to combine benefits layers and identify priority areas for the implementation of REDD+ interventions with particular attention given to the exploration of different ways of combining and presenting the output layers, and the likely contrasting results determined by the use of different thresholds and indices. It also placed emphasis on understanding and setting priorities for future analysis on the multiple benefits for forests at the national level. Twenty one GIS professionals including eight females and thirteen males participated in the training which was facilitated by Barbara Polllini, lead trainer based at the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Center and Thais Narciso Country Focal Point for UN Environment.
Addressing participants at the close of phase one of the training, the REDD+ National Coordinator, Saah A. David Jr., intimated that the training was the beginning of the process leading to the building of a database of GIS specialists in country for rapid response whenever and wherever the need arises. He used the occasion to dismiss the make-believe that the implementation of REDD+ is intended to halt commercial logging in Liberia and insisted that REDD+ is an international initiative to combat climate change through the reduction of emissions from deforestation and forest degradation by changing the negative ways in which forests are managed as a means of guaranteeing benefits for future generations, “we are only asking for sustainable logging and not stopping logging” Mr. David averred. He further urged the participants to serve as REDD+ ambassadors in providing the necessary clarification concerning the Project Development Objective of the Liberia Forest Sector Project which is “Improved management of, and increased benefit sharing in, targeted forest landscapes”.
The participants for their part commended the Government of Liberia through the Forestry Development Authority, Norway, UN REDD, and the Liberia Forest Sector Project, among others, for the training and pledged to use the skills acquired to support the implementation of the REDD+ national strategy through the provision of quality GIS services.