FAO in Liberia

The Government of Liberia in Collaboration with FAO and Other Partners Launch National Forest Inventory Report

Second Left- FAOR Madam Njie, To her left - Chief Technical Advisor Jonathan Roberts, FAO

On 30th March 2021, FAO and the Liberian government represented by the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) launched Liberia’s first National Forestry Inventory (NFI) Report. The launch of the report is a historical milestone for Liberia and provides critical recommendations that are vital for sustainable forest management including the protection of Liberia’s forest endowment. The key recommendations advanced in the report focus on the sustainable nature of commercial operations, how conservation has the potential to partner with communities to provide much needed poverty alleviation and also the potential role carbon stored in the forests can play in leveraging Liberia’s international obligation to the Paris Agreement whilst providing a source of revenue through results-based payments.

The event comprised a host of senior level government officials from the Forestry Development Authority, Ministry of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), Ministry of Mines and Energy, and the National Bureau of Concession. The occasion also brought together representatives and heads of International Organizations including the FDA board chairperson and its former Managing Director Hon. John Woods. FAO was represented by its Country Representative (FAOR) Madam Mariatou Njie including its Chief Technical Advisor, Dr. Jonathan Wesley Roberts and its head of programme, Mr. Octavius Quarbo. The FAOR thanked the Government of Liberia, Government of Norway and the World Bank for the partnership. She reaffirmed FAO’s commitment to the development of Liberia as she stressed that sustainable use of Liberia’s forest is vital for economic development.

As the Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority puts it ‘’Today, the use of available technology puts our forest at 6.6 million hectares’’.  The mention of Liberia’s total forest coverage (6.6 Million Ha) in the report is consistent with indicator 15.1.1 of the SDGs which measures the amount of forest landmass in a given country; this is unequivocally critical for policy planning in the forest sector. In 2004, Liberia forest coverage stood at 4.3 million hectares, however, noteworthy of mentioning is that the 2004 forest cover did not take into consideration actual ground work but used Landsat Satellite images for its analysis.  It can be recalled that following a rigorous ten-day training in 2018, Liberia on 4th June 2018 launched the NFI in Lofa County. The training was organized through a technical assistance agreement entered into between FAO and the Government of Liberia (Forestry Development Authority).

Considering that Forests provide vital ecosystem services that are pivotal to human well-being and sustainable development, the government of Liberia through its Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) underscores the need to establish the right environment for sustainable forest management. The government envisages to achieve this through the strengthening of policy and legal frameworks to mitigate deforestation and environmental degradation. At the launch, the vast majority of speakers emphasized the need for collective efforts to protect the Liberian forest and lauded FAO for its technical support to FDA and the government of Liberia.

Most importantly, the launch of the report repositions FAO’s work in Liberia and with different bodies to make agriculture and forestry more productive. To this end, the conduct of the National Forest Inventory was part of FAO’s work in providing technical leadership that led to the completion of Liberia’s first National Forest Inventory. As emphasised by Mr. Saah A. David, Jr., Liberia’s National REDD+ Coordinator ‘’Liberia now has enough technical capacity to conduct its own forestry inventory’’. Like many other speakers, he applauded the Government of Norway, the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) of the World Bank for their financial support and FAO for its technical assistance to the FDA and the government of Liberia.

Funding support for the NFI was provided by the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) of the World Bank and the Government of Norway.