The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

VPA Goes For Another Three-year Period

The lifespan of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between the European Union (EU) and the Government of Liberia through the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) has been graciously extended by another three-year period. The ceremony marking the official launch of Phase II of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement takes place tomorrow in Monrovia and is expected to be graced by an array of government officials and EU delegation.
This Long Term Technical Assistance to Implement the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) in Liberia is a project, funded by the European Union for the continuation of EU support to the forestry sector to assist the implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement / Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (VPA – FLEGT). The government of Liberia will be represented by the Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority, Hon. C. Mike Doryen and the EU by H.E. Ambassador Hélène Cavé.
The objective of this project is to contribute to the development of Liberia’s forest sector by increasing the value of traded timber products through the strengthening of overall forest governance, sustainable management of forest resources, law enforcement and rule of law and equitably sharing of forest benefits, amongst others.
This second phase of EU assistance will emphasize the trade rather than aid aspects of the program. This phase aims at enabling Liberia develop its capacity to issue FLEGT Licenses to help increase international trade with higher paying markets like the European Union and others. For this to happen, completing the building of systems and procedures and putting these into operation is needed, so that a Legality Assurance System is fully in place in Liberia. Private operators and community forest owners can then be encouraged to obtain FLEGT Licenses and benefit from added-value exports to premium markets. The FDA and Government of Liberia are already increasingly taking over responsibilities for managing and financing the VPA implementation.
The EU assistance to the VPA process started in 2013 under a first phase of VPA support through a co-financing arrangement between EU and DFID by a total of approximately EUR 20 million, implemented through two main technical assistance projects; one to create a Legality Verification Department (LVD) and the other a VPA Support Unit (VPA-SU). This was complemented by funding of specific additional actions, like support to the Civil Society, the independent auditor and others.
A key feature of the EU project is that it will help FDA to provide this coordination in its role as Lead-Agency. This will be achieved through the institutions and processes that were set up for VPA in the first phase; such as the VPA Secretariat, the Liberia Implementation Committee (LIC), National Multi Stakeholder Monitoring Committee (NMSMC) and the guidance provided by the Forward Planner (the VPA road map).
The main counterparts to this project are the Government of Liberia institutions administering the forest resources namely the Forest Development Authority (FDA), the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MoFDP), the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Ministry of Labour (MoL) among others.
The present project is a second phase of the specific technical assistance, totaling around EUR 3.4 million.
Liberia, a country rich in natural resources with over 4 million hectares of forests, has successfully emerged from war into peaceful democracy. With variable figures during the last decade, the current contribution of the forest sector to the GDP is estimated around 10 to 11% with ambitions from the current administration to increase this contribution to at least 12% in the coming years, hence the importance of emphasizing trade. The export of commercial timber generates about $8 million of government revenue annually, which is roughly 26% of the total earnings from natural resources.

  1. James Kollie says

    The EU FLEGT-VPA action plan has contributed immensely to the development of the forestry sector of Liberia since its inception in 2013. Human and institutional capacities in the sector have been built, management framework and systems have been put in placed for smooth sustainable management and reporting. Benefit sharing and transparency are established and upheld, among others. Thus bringing the sector back to it’s credibility status. We are grateful for the extension of the program (for an additional 3 years) and optimistic that the trade component will yield its full goal and add true value to the Liberian timber and timber products.
    Thanks to the European Union for continual support to the forestry sector that is essentially making it viable.

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