Some Authorized Forest Communities (AFCs) in Liberia are expected to benefit legal capacity, dispute resolution and alternative livelihood training in order to improve community forest governance as they grapple with lots of challenges since the coming into being of community forestry regime.

In an effort to impact knowledge, create awareness and compliance with the legal regime around community forestry, which has the potentials to raise the livelihoods of forest communities in Liberia and ensure sustainable management of forest resources, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), has awarded a five-year project (2021 – 2025) under its Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) Project to ClientEarth, a UK-based forest-and climate organization to implement in several countries, including Liberia, according to a press release. 

The NICFI will implement the project in Liberia under the title: “Building Legal Foundation for Sustainable Forests and Livelihoods.”

The “Building Legal Foundations for Sustainable Forests and Livelihoods” project is one of the biggest grants given to civil society by Norad, according to Mr. Esben Marcussen, a Norad representative, who attended the Launch Workshop virtually.  

Mr. Esben also stated that Norad has realized that supply chain regulation and promoting the rights of local communities living in the forests are two of the most effective strategies employed to fight deforestation globally, as such, Norad is optimistic that project will be impactful in Liberia.

During the launch of the project held at a local hotel in Monrovia, Liberia, on August 17, 2021, Madam Caroline Haywood, ClientEarth’s Lead, Africa Forest Governance and Trade, informed the gathering that the project will be implemented in Liberia by four consortium parties, which she named as Heritage Partners & Associates (HPA); Sustainable Development Institute (SDI), Foundation for Community Initiatives (FCI); and the National Union of Community Forest Management Bodies (NUCFMB). 

She stated that the goal of the project is to ensure that community forests are stronger and contribute more effectively to reducing deforestation, conserving biodiversity and generating sustainable economic development in Liberia.  

The project is expected to increase community development, reduce deforestation and degradation and protect biodiversity. 

 “We would like to see community forestry really benefiting communities across the globe – we also see the enormous potential of community forestry in Liberia. Generally, there is growing evidence that community forestry can help to secure livelihoods, improve ecological condition of the forest, mitigate climate change, and support revenue generation,” says Madam Haywood.

The project, according to NICFI’s global outcomes, will focus on two major pillars – approved and implemented policies for sustainable forest and land use in tropical forest countries and jurisdictions – and improved rights and livelihoods for indigenous people and local communities (LCIPs) in tropical forest countries.

The four Liberian consortium members – HPA, SDI, FCI, and the NUCFMB, and the international partner, ClientEarth, have tailored their activities on NICFI’s global outcomes in their different but coordinated actions to impact selected forest communities in Liberia. 

A representative of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), Atty. Yanquoi Dolo, committed the FDA’s willingness to work along with the consortium partners to promote sustainable forest governance and community forestry programs across the country.

He encouraged local and international partners working within the forestry sector of Liberia to always engage the FDA in the formation of projects, “because this will basically capture some of our general strategic goals” especially from the onset of development of the project. 

The launching event was followed by a two-day Consortium Coordination Meeting and a Training of Trainers workshop in alternative livelihood. The Launch Workshop was attended by Civil Society Organizations, the FDA, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Norad, VPASU 2, LICSATDUN and partner representatives.  It was held in strict compliance with Covid-19 protocols as not more than 20 persons attended in person while others attended online via a zoom platform. 

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