Constructive engagement gains result…
The Government of Liberia (GoL) through its Ministry of Mines and Energy (M&E) has committed to working with the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and partners to preserve part of the Kpo Mountain void of current mining claims in Gbarpolu County. The commitment was made at the Liberia Forest Sector Project (LFSP) North Western Cluster and Kpo and Foya Stakeholders Coordination Meeting early this year in RobertSport, Grand Cape Mount County, by Honorable Johnson Wallibo Jr, Assistant Minister for Planning and Development, M & E.
Addressing the stakeholders, Hon. Wallibo shared that there has been a bit of concern in the Ministry and among citizens residing around the Kpo Mountain when it first heard that the Government was turning ‘Kpo Mountain into a protected area’ even with its rich mineral availability, however, from consultation with conservation partners on the biodiversity richness as well of the area, there is a possibility for conservation and mineral extraction demands to strike a balance by looking at the various ‘shape files’ which will be overlaid to see where conservation and mining can occur, stressing that the country needs revenue to thrive.
The Assistant Minister then thanked the Society for the Conservation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL), the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), and partners for taking the lead in conserving and protecting the forest and wildlife habitats. “The Ministry has absolutely no problem with Foya District, we have assessed all the activities, using (scientific data) previously, and it has shown limited mineralization in those areas. Some minerals are present, but maybe in the future, when technology keeps improving, then we can go to explore those places again. The focus is now the Kpo Mountain, but with an alternative livelihood for the citizens, we believe the forest can be preserved,” he pointed out.
Also making remarks were staff from FDA, REDD+ Implementation Unit (RIU), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Liberia Land Authority (LLA). Particularly, Tom Wesley Korkpor of the LLA also promised his institution’s fullest support in the implementation of the project.
For his part, Mr. Saah David, National Coordinator- RIU, gave an overview of the Liberia Forest Sector Project (LFSP), and the REDD+ Program in Liberia. The National Coordinator also urged the implementing partners of the project to honor the contract especially when it comes to the provision of livelihoods to communities. He named the purchasing of motorbikes for communities and ‘setting up structures’ for efficient and effective management of the funds, solar energy, WASH, social infrastructures, and support to schools and hospitals among others as some of the key benefits to the local communities and citizens in the Northwestern landscape of the Country.
At the conclusion of the program, SCNL Executive Director, Michael F. Garbo, speaking as the organizer of the occasion appreciated the collaboration and commitment from each institution on the project and thanked everyone for the support the project enjoys so far and that he anticipates stronger networking as the project rolls on.