The European Union Non-State Actors (EU-NSA) Project team from Ghana ends a meeting in Monrovia, sharing perspectives on project implementation with emphasis on progress, lessons learned and way forward.
The meeting came about when the Ghanaian team comprising of representatives from Nature and Development Foundation (NDF) and Tropenbos International Ghana paid a week-long working visit to its Liberian counterpart, Volunteers to Support International Efforts in Developing Africa or VOSIEDA.
The project titled, “Strengthening the capacity of non-state actors (NSA) to improve FLEGT-VPA and REDD+ processes in Western Africa”, is being implemented since 2016 in Liberia, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, with funding from the European Union.
According to the head of team, the overarching goal of the visit here was to share with their Liberian counterparts the establishment of an independent forest monitoring framework in Ghana, using a “real time” online portal that tracks forest-related issues.
The delegation also expressed interest in replicating the radio program “Forest Hour”, an advocacy program launched by the Liberian EU NSA team. The Ghanaians similarly desire to have knowledge on progress made by Liberia in the establishment and management of community forests.
During the meeting, the Liberian team hailed their Ghanaian counterparts for developing a proactive internet platform used in forest monitoring, and promised to replicate same for Liberia’s forest sector monitoring.
While in Monrovia, the team met and interacted with members of the NGO Coalition, Civil Society Independent Forest Monitor (CS-IFM), the National Union of Community Forestry Development Committee (NUCFDC), and the National Union of Community Forest Management Body (NUCFMB) as well as the Liberia Timber Association (LibTA).
The Ghanaian team appeared on the Forest Hour, a radio advocacy platform and shared their perspectives on forest governance as it relates to process leading to acquiring forest contract; compliance to legal agreements by contract holders, performance of forest contract and benefit sharing mechanisms, penalty for violations of forest laws and other legal agreements, level of community involvement in managing forest contracts, and Independent Forest Management to ensure accountability and transparency in forest contract management, among others.
The team also briefed the EU Delegation to Liberia on progress made thus far in Ghana, while sharing differences and similarities between the two countries.
In response, the EU-Delegation focal person on natural resource governance, David Palacios urged both teams in Liberia and Ghana to see collaboration as a major vehicle for success in the EU-NSA project. Editing by Jonathan Browne