Monrovia – Moses R. Quollin, the national coordinator of Liberia Forest Media Watch (LFMW) calls on forest sector stakeholders to find a way to mitigate some of the threats that hamper the growth and development of the sector.

Presenting LFMW’s progress report at the 2nd meeting with editors and senior journalists, the group’s national coordinator described the many challenges facing the forest sector.

“The Liberian forestry sector is fraught with enormous challenges. Among them, illegal logging, failure to meet social obligations, corruption of community leaders, political interference and lack of information are the most important, ”Quollin revealed.

He added: “The government is accused of not having distributed royalties to communities in the amount of 16 million. Amidst this, the Liberian government recently shelled out $ 30,000 to each of 73 lawmakers for a legislative support project, as communities struggle to get $ 5.5 million owed to them since 2019. ”

According to the national coordinator of LFMW, there are 47 signed forest management agreements, of which only 15 percent have little or no problems.

“This means that the remaining 85 percent of the forests under concession agreement are marred by serious controversy due to disagreements between the community and the concessionaires on the one hand and community to community on the other,” he said. -he declares.

This, continues Quollin, who is consistent with the World Bank and other reports. He added that there are 44 approved community forest management agreements (CFMAs), covering 941,560 hectares.

“Community forest management structures are weak and mismanagement of funds is often a problem. In doing so, the effective implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) to mitigate and / or fight against illegalities remains essential, ”he said.

Quollin added: “There had been impressions of good progress in the implementation of the VPA, but as indicated by several reports, including the World Bank (2019), things took a different turn, illustrating that the situation could even get worse. Therefore, the EUD project was designed to help alleviate some of these challenges and ensure the effective implementation of the VPA process.

The 15-month project, according to the National Coordinator of LFMW, aims to build the capacity of civil society for the implementation of the VPA.

Six Liberian CSOs are implementing the EUD. These are the Institute for Sustainable Development (SDI), the Foundation for Community Initiative (FCI), the Independent Civil Society Forests Observatory (CS-IFM), the Development Committee of the National Union of Community Forests (NUCFDC), National Union of Community Forest Management Bodies (NUCFMB) and Liberia’s Forest Media Watch (LFMW).

According to Quollin, the beneficiary communities are Bluyeama (Lofa), Ziadue and Tekpeh (Rivercess), Zuzohn (Grand Bassa), Beyan Poye (Margibi), Tarsue (Sinoe) and Salayea in Lofa.

In this partnership, LFMW is to increase access to information through its Forest Hour Radio program and to investigate and publish short-term investigative reports.