Consequent to the just ended official launch of Liberia’s share of the Mano River Ecosystem Conservation and International Water Resources Management project held last week in Monrovia, the MRU countries (MRU) in collaboration with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (ICUN) and the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) has concluded a Regional Training Workshop for the executing agencies and 2nd session of the regional steering committee of the project aimed at practically driving the dream of the project consistent with the established framework with the Executing Agencies pledging to ensure that the aims and aspiration of the MRU/ICUN comes to fruition. The regional steering committee which includes the axillaries and focal points from the four Mano River Union countries, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast through exhaustive two-day deliberations in Monrovia from April -5-6 discussed how best the project could see the reality of its intended purpose for the overall benefit of the MRU countries.
The workshop among other things considered a number of key issues relevant to the growth and development of the Mano River Union countries specifically in the protection of biodiversity in the Mano River basin, the adoption of work plan 2018 of the National Executing Agencies (NEA), presentation of work plan for Regional Executing Agencies (REA) as well as adoption of the consolidated 2018 budget of the project.
Making remarks for and on behalf of the Liberian government through the Forestry Development Authority during the closing ceremony of the workshop the Deputy Managing Director for Operations at the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Joseph Tally expressed thanks and appreciation to the four Mano River Union countries for their concerted efforts in upholding the agenda of the workshop that seeks to protect as well as promote the values of biodiversity in the sub-region. He registered Liberia’s willingness of being an integral part in fostering the dream of the Mano River Union especially in the area of the conservation of our remaining forest resource in the MRU basin. For his part the Deputy Secretary General of the Mano River Union (MRU) Dr. Abu Bakarr Tarawallie commended the host country, Liberia for the successful conduct of the workshop. He also thanked other participants from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast for their patience and fortitude that triggered the success of the workshop.
The session was graced by the statutory member of the Regional Steering Committee and key project partner such as African Biodiversity and Climate Change (WABICC) represented by its Chief of Party.
It can be recalled that the four countries in West Africa (Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone) share the former Upper Guinea forest ecosystem and 10 transboundary river basins which belongs to the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS). The Four countries have received a GEF ID: 4953 grant of US $ 6,970,000 for the implementation through IUCN PACO of the regional project “Ecosystem Conservation and Management International Water Resources Fund of the Mano River Union“.
This project, validated by the GEF Secretariat in December 2016 and approved by IUCN in February 2017, aims to strengthen the management of transboundary natural resources for sustainable ecological benefits and improved livelihoods for adjacent forest communities. It supports local communities in the development of alternative means for income generation, which will lead to increased forest cover and its associated benefits at local and global levels (ecosystem services, biodiversity, carbon sinks).
Three countries (Sierra Leone, Cote D’Voire, and Guinea) had already completed their launch exercises. Liberia deferred the launch exercise to April this year in order to establish administrative structure on the ground.
The launch workshop in Liberia is therefore an important step in the implementation of the Mano project, because it is a forum where all stakeholders will be informed of the start of the project activities with a reminder of the actions already taken.
The general objective of the launch workshop in Liberia is intended to inform the participants about the benefits and expected results of the project implementation and to further plan the actions to be undertaken in FY1 (2018).