The Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between the Government of Liberia (GoL) and the European Union (EU) will hold its 5th Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) meeting in Monrovia from Wednesday 5 to Friday 7 April 2017 at the Monrovia City Hall.
The VPA, a bi-lateral Agreement between the GoL and the EU was negotiated from 2009 -2011 and rectify by Liberia in 2013. This Agreement on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) aims to promote sustainable forest management by putting in place systems to verify the legality of timber and also strengthening forest governance. Since the rectification of the VPA, Liberia has made significant marks in managing its forest resources. In fact, the Country is currently at the implementation phase and gradually moving towards FLEGT Licensing.
The JIC which is made of the Liberia Implementation Committee (LIC) and the EU representatives, seek to provide oversight of the implementation of the Agreement. Hence, the LIC on the VPA comprises of representatives from Ministries, Agencies and Commission (MACs) of GoL, the private sector as well as civil society.
During the course of these three days, the JIC will examine progress in capacity building being carried out with Government, private sector and civil society stakeholders in the forest sector to enable them meet their obligations under the Agreement. Progress in the development of systems to verify the legality of Liberia’s timber exports will also be reviewed.
As part of the activities for the meeting, the EU Ambassador, TiinaIntelmann and guests along with a team of Liberian journalists will tour a sawmill, meet with the private sector and forest dependents in Grand Bassa and Rivercess Counties respectively. This trip will also assess the impact of the financial benefits accrued from forest operations in affected communities on people who live around the fringes of the forest.