Appointed by President George Weah lately to head the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) as part of the ongoing national restructuring process being fostered by the head of state, Mr. C. Mike Doryen has mounted the podium of the entity with the pledge to give FDA the desired new dawn that would witness a vibrant and sustainable forest management programs. In a spirit of assuredness Mr. Doryen asserted that he would ensure that FDA become operational and that he would strive to pursue the possibility of reclaiming FDA’s autonomy right which was extracted during the 2006 National Forestry reform process.
It can be recalled that the autonomy right legally endowed the entity in time past which successfully expedited its field operations was condensed to a semi level during the process, something which has and continues to undercut the effectiveness of the institution, especially at a time when the need to police the national parks and the security of bio-diversity cannot be overemphasized. Thus the gap created still remains wide open thereby hampering the full-fledged operations of the institution whose functions are principally field based.
One FDA senior staff asserted during a recent acquaintance meeting with the transitional tram assigned FDA, “We kill the bull, but we are often offered the tail.” The staff certainly meant to say that most often FDA is denied the fair share of the budget following its contribution to the budget; instead it is usually assigned or allotted a minute budgetary portion that has and continues to undermine its dreams of ensuring the sustainable management of the forestry programs in the country.
In all truisms, the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) happens to be one of the fundamental economic pillars that substantially uphold the Liberian economy in a more practical form and manner. For instance, during every fiscal year it is charged to make a contribution in support of the budget in the neighborhood of between 8-9 million dollars. Regrettably however, it is often made to share a minute portion of the budget thereby stalling its dreams and vision to successfully conduct the 3cs equation-community, commercial and conservation programs. These are marrow as far as FDA’s operations are concerned. In the absence of the effectiveness of these programs, the actual meaning of the entity will not be practically felt. The latency of the entity in the absence of required financial power will certainly render the forests and all of their constituent elements vulnerable to poachers who wish to use any opportunity to deplete the forests. In light of this the new managing director has blown the trumpet thus raising passionate alarm as it relates to the relevance of the FDA’s autonomy which would put the entity in the position as vibrant forest stewards in the nation.
President Weah’s Pro-poor Policy
No doubt the sustainable management of the Liberian forests legally satisfies the interests of present and future generations. Logically President Weah’s Pro-poor Policy recently declared in his January 22, 2018 inaugural address while taking oath of office as steward and Shepard of the Liberian nation also answers this subject matter. Obviously from the FDA end the pro-poor policy by any indication seeks to protect the lives of the forests among other things which happen to also define the potential of the Liberian nation. The protection and security of the forests including their sustainable management can safely be likened to preserving and conserving a promising future of the Liberian people in the interest of the vast majority of the citizens that are confined in the poverty class. Judging from the pronouncement of the president it can be insinuated that all roads lead to the soil. The soil is the foundation of national social and economic life without which national joy and happiness remains futile. It’s the neutralizer of poverty and all of its associates-hunger, joblessness, anger, violence, etc. the soil is the way out of poverty and the path towards national redemption against all national odds. Thus President Weah was just to the point when made the clarion declaration that seeks to sympathize with the poor and how best they can get out of the ashes.
A timely call
In the new dispensation whereby the preservation and conservation of the forests and all of their constituent elements have become a compelling national duty, the call by the new managing director for an autonomy status is in the right direction which needs urgent government attention and consideration. The call obviously seeks to rejuvenate or resurrect FDA’s lost financial power and make the entity more and more defined that it will be in the position to cope with the volume of challenges facing the nation and people as we begin a novel journey in our national political and economic life. The call for an autonomy status is like seeking the appropriate marrow for the hollowed bone. It’s like assigning the drummer its professional drum beater to make the dance splendor. It is befitting to restore the autonomy might of the FDA to make it more operationally potent steward in the Liberian forest sector.
By: F. Shelton Gonkerwon/staff writer