A two- day workshop on transboundary water resource management in the Mano River Union countries has ended in Monrovia with participants resolving to uphold the dignity of natural resources in the Mano River region, water in particular.
Under the theme: “Ecosystem Conservation and Management International Water Resources Fund of the Mano River Union,” participants from the Mano River countries including Guinea, Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone promised to ensure that the project lives to see its genuine purpose for the overall benefit of the member countries and its citizens. They endorsed the annual work plan and 2018 budget while adopting a resolution to abide by the terms of reference that would guide the project.
The project, validated by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Secretariat in December 2016 and approved by International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in February 2017, aims to strengthen the management of transboundary natural resources for sustainable ecological benefits and improved livelihoods for forest communities.
It supports local communities to develop alternative means in generating income while at the same time increasing forest cover and its associated benefits at local and global levels.
FDA Managing Director C. Mike Doryen in brief remarks during the official launch ceremony commended the MRU countries for and on behalf of the Liberian government and described the project as far reaching endeavor and hoped the Mano River Union would restore all of its activities that were devastated by the war. He made specific reference to the Forestry Training Institute (FTI) located in Tubmanburg, Bomi County which he said had represented a realistic dream of the MRU in the past including the training of forest rangers and other human resource capacity building initiatives. He noted that as the need for the conservation of biodiversity becomes a matter of global concern there was need for the MRU countries to prioritize the full restoration of the institute that it may be in the able position to train more forest rangers to replace the older ones who are being listed for retirement after long years of service. He told the workshop that the government of Liberia deeply supports biodiversity conversation efforts and will do all it can to promote the dream and aspiration of the project.
For his part the IUCN representative for the regional office for Central and West Africa Endamana Dominique thanked the administrative and technical authorities of Liberia for holding the first national meeting of the project noting that as a matter of principle GEF projects are projects of the countries. He reassured the legality, legitimacy, promotion and empowerment of local communities and women in line with the dictates of the project.
The national level multi-sectoral technical committee members (MTC) of Liberia charged with the responsibility to ensure the implementation of the project include the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Liberia Institute of Strategic and Geo-Information System (LISGIS), Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, and Ministry of Agriculture. Others are Ministry of Internal Affairs, The Wild Chimpanzee Foundation (WCP), Liberia Maritime Authority, the KFW/Conservation of biodiversity (Tai-Grebo-Sapo Complex. Other proposed institutions to drive the implementation of the project include Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL), the University of Liberia and World Resource Institute.
Story By: F. Shelton Gonkerwon