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USAID gives over $3m to Liberia’s forest sector

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change program (WABiCC) has awarded two separate conservation grants to enhance conservation activities in the Country.

The grants which worth $1.8 and $2.7 million United States dollars each will facilitate the implementation of a three year project in the Gola Transboundary Forest Landscape between Liberia and Sierra Leone and the Tai-Grebo-Krahn-Sapo Transboundary Forest Landscape between Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire.

A press release issued in Monrovia says the two projects will be carried out by the Society for the Conservation of Nature (SCNL) Royal Society to protect Bird, Wild Chimpanzee Foundation, Fauna and Flora International, respectively.

SCNL and Royal Society to Protect Bird will work in the Gola Transboundary Forest Landscape between Liberia and Sierra Leone, while Wild Chimpanzee Foundation and FFI will both operate in the Tai-Grebo-Krahn-Sapo Transboundary connecting Liberia and Cote d’ Ivoire
Launching the project in Liberia over the weekend, Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Managing Director Darlington Tuagben said SCNL along with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds will support the Livelihood of communities and the inclusive and sustainable management of the Gola transboundary forest landscape.

Mr. Tuagben noted that the project will not only focus on livelihood activities but on the socio-economic and biodiversity surveys including community eco – guard program and capacity building of local communities and FDA field staff.

“The project will support conservation working groups and also provide training to local judiciary staff in Counties [where] the project will be executed to tackle illegal wild trafficking and strengthen regional collaboration,” the release says.

The FDA Boss says cross-border traffic is currently uncontrolled and many are illegally leaving Liberia and not bringing any benefit to the Country. “I am confident that the two projects will help us to deal better with these problems for a more sustainable way forward, keeping our treasures alive for future generation,” he emphasizes.

“The Forestry Development Authority wishes to thank USIAD and the WA BiCC program for this opportunity given to her conservation partners. [We’re] looking forward to the implementation of the projects and are committed to continue working in close collaboration with our partners, for a more sustainable management of our forests and increase conservation successes for Liberia, its neighboring countries and the world as a whole,” the release adds.

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According to Mr. Tuagbeh, the two forest Landscapes host a unique treasure of endemic and threatened species such as the critically endangered western chimpanzee, the endangered pygmy hippo, vulnerable forest elephant and many more species. At the same time he says both landscapes are facing significant threats, such as illegal mining, hunting, chewing stick extraction and encroachment for farming.

He says the aim of these grants is to conserve biodiversity, create livelihood and find way to use the forest.The Head of the West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) Program Dr. Nouhou Ndam urges the beneficiary organizations to make use of the dry season by speedily going back to the various landscapes.

“The Mano River basin has been identified as the area that has the largest forest landscape and for that reason the WA BiCC project was directed to the basin after vetting of proposals,” he says.
The launching program was attended by local chiefs and local government officials from Gbarpolu, River-Gee, Grand Gedeh and Sinoe Counties where the two landscapes are located. Their presence is part of efforts to make them feel part of the project and take ownership.–Press release

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