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EPA holds stakeholder’s workshop

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The Environmental Protection Agency or EPA has conducted a one-day stakeholder’s workshop for members of the National Traditional Council of Liberia aimed at advancing their knowledge on the Nagoya Protocol. The workshop took place in the provincial city of Kakata, Margibi County recently.

The EPA says the workshop for chiefs was intended to build their capacity, and provide them insight on issues of biodiversity across the country. Speaking at the official opening ceremony of the workshop, which took place in the Conference Room of the Booker Washington Institute in Kakata, Margibi County, a proxy representing the Executive Director Mr. Levi Z. Piah thanked the organizers for the forum, which he noted, was the first of its kind with the traditional council.

Mr. Piah praised the chiefs for responding and urged participants to be open-minded in discussing issues that pose threats to the country’s genetic resources. Providing a background for the workshop, EPA former focal point on biodiversity Mr. Johansen Voker said the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit sharing was adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan on October 29, 2010.
The Protocol advances the importance of the use of traditional genetic resources by both provider and user in a legal and transparent manner. It seeks obligation to support compliance with domestic legislation or regulatory requirements by providing genetic resources and contractual obligations reflected in mutually agreed terms.
He said Liberia, endowed with genetic resources, became party to the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Nagoya Protocol in 2000 and 2015 respectively. Since becoming party to the convention and the protocol, Liberia, through the Environmental Protection Agency has actively participated in every form of discussion at local and international levels on biodiversity conservation and its sustainable usage.

Mr. Voker: “it is not a waste of time to invite our leaders, our traditional elders. Because they are the protectors of our biodiversity. We are building these capacities because we all need to work together.”

At the same time a representative from the Forestry Development Authority or FDA Mr. Konikay Nimely gave a broad perspective on community forestry, including legal mechanisms and composition.
He said there has been tremendous improvement in the forestry sector, something which, the Traditional Council acknowledged. Speaking on behalf of her colleagues, Chief Aku Zoe Coleman thanked the EPA for organizing the workshop and commended them for turning out to become part of the knowledge-share exercise.

By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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