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Liberia, EU sign Aide Memoire of Joint Implementation Committee

The signature of the Aide Memoire of the sixth meeting of the Joint Implementation Committee (JIC), which oversees implementation of the Forestry Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Program through the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between Liberia and the European Union, has taken place on 10 July at the Monrovia City Hall.

European Union Ambassador Hélène Cavé and Chairman of the FDA Board of Directors Harrison Karnwea have agreed on the final version of the document that informs on progress towards implementation of the VPA.

It aims to improve forest governance, address illegal logging and promote trade in verified legal timber products from Liberia to the EU.
The JIC meeting took place in Monrovia from 13-14 June 2018, and it was the first since the new government took office earlier this year, including the new Forest Development Authority Managing Director C. Mike Doryen.

The technical and preparatory discussions were co-chaired by Mr. Alberto Menghini of the EU Delegation and C. Mike Doryen of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).Ambassador Hélène Cavé of the EU Delegation to Liberia and FDA Board Chair Mr. Harrison S. Karnwea co-chaired the formal session and signed the Aide Memoire.

Several partners including the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), European Forest Institute (EFI), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the World Bank were invited to attend the meeting.

Participating stakeholders from the Liberian side included nine ministries and agencies, civil society organizations, the Liberia Timber Association and the National Union of Community Forestry Development Committee (NUCFDC).

The meeting focused on discussing progress in VPA implementation milestones and improving the capacities of government agencies, the private sector, civil society and communities.

An open stakeholder session for raising additional topics also took place. Discussions needed to be prolonged beyond the first session, so further dialogue and joint efforts allowed for an agreement that translates into the Aide Memoire document.

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Further to this, both parties will renew their commitment to the VPA through the signature of a new financing agreement for EUR 4M that will ensure additional support to the process.

Liberia’s Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah will sign the new financing agreement officially during the EU Liberia Political Dialogue later this week.A Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) is a legally binding trade agreement between the EU and a timber-exporting country outside the EU.

A VPA aims to ensure that all timber and timber products destined for the EU market from a partner country comply with the laws of that country.In addition to promoting trade in legal timber, VPAs address the causes of illegality by improving forest governance and law enforcement.

A major strength of VPAs is that they look beyond trade to consider development and environmental issues.Liberia and the EU negotiated their VPA between 2009 and 2011. The negotiations involved representatives of Liberian civil society organisations, community organisations, the private sector, and government ministries and agencies.

As a result, significant national ownership and stakeholder engagement were achieved and the VPA reflects a broad consensus among stakeholders.–Press release

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