US$3.6m Awaits Liberia If...
The Liberia Media Initiatives says it gathered during a two-day workshop that with the establishment of institutions, crafting of laws and political will on the part of the government to develop a successful Reduction of Emission from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) strategy, the Country stands to benefit approximately 3.6 million USD to flow from the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility beginning in mid-to late 2012.
The Liberia Media Initiatives said, it captured the information during a two-day workshop on Communicating Reduction of Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation towards REDD+ Readiness in Liberia which ran from January 26-27 last week at the Belle Casa Hotel in Sinkor Monrovia.
The LMI said, the Head of Liberia's Forestry Development Authority, Mr. Moses Wogbeh who attended the opening ceremony at the Belle Casa Hotel last Thursday encouraged participants especially Communicators to take up extra time to research on the REDD+ since the responsibility of informing the larger population for their effective participation rests on the media.
The LMI explained that the FDA boss noted that an effective awareness on REDD+ in Liberia could serve as the beginning of the success of the program because communicators will use their talents to design the relevant programs intended to educate communities that occupy the greater portion of forests in the country.
For the participants, awareness on REDD+ in Liberia needs to start now with the designing of programs in all Liberian vernaculars to create an avenue for easy understanding for stakeholders in the country especially forest communities since their involvement is key if success must be realized.
The LMI quoted that the participants called for more trainings on how to carry out REDD+ awareness, education and messages so that the new idea that can be accepted by Liberians considering the global attention being given to it.
The LMI further said, the workshop which was a continuation of the formulation of a Communication Action Plan (CAP) for REDD+ in Liberia created a space for an interactive discussion involving experts from the Fauna and Flora International (FFI) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) the Media and some forest owners from Southeastern Sinoe County.
Participants promised to work through their respective communication methods to ensure that the REDD+ initiative cannot be down played in Liberia since experts have confirmed that the Liberian forests now remain the last hope for West Africa's forests and that the country is one of the 20 mega-hotspots in the world.
The LMI further quoted participants as saying that with the global declaration that Liberia is a global hotspot for conservation with some of the world's key populations of a large vulnerable and endangered species that are endemic to the West African region, Liberia must act fast and rapid in taking those steps necessary for a successful REDD+ in the supreme interest of its citizens most of whom depend on the forest for survival.
The participants according to LMI media house want stakeholders to urgently embrace REDD+ in Liberia because most forest communities under the program will keep their forests while making more money including other greater benefits that future generations would be proud of.
The LMI indicated that participants acknowledged that Liberia has no better time rather than now to make positive marks in the global undertaking since it has been proven that Liberia has 43% of the remaining upper Guinea Forest Ecosystem far compared to other nations in the region.
The facilitators for their part expressed satisfaction over the category of Communicators and Civil Society personnel that formed part of the workshop adding that it signals the sort of practical awareness that should be expected on the REDD+ in Liberia.
The facilitators cautioned participants especially communicators to apply the persuasive communication skills in making people to understand the realistic importance of REDD+ and what the benefits for Liberians are under the program.
The facilitators want effective Communication programs that would take into consideration the involvement of every sector of the Liberian society especially indigenous people and the larger forest dependent Communities.
They are convinced that a successful communication platform on REDDS+would set the pace for indigenous and forest dependent communities to consent and even become driving force behind REDD+ in the Country.
The REDD+ Communication Action Plan Workshop facilitators the LMI said see a motivating and persuasive media undertaking as a key formula in making people to understand and get involved with the REDD+ exercise that seems relatively new to many people including Liberians.
Experts according to the LMI think awareness on REDD+ in Liberia is relevant because the lack of awareness on REDD+ in Liberia stretches from grass-rooters right to the top political and economic leadership of the country.
The LMI also said that though REDD+ is another greater opportunity for the war ravaged country, more needs to be worked out for the conservation of the Liberian forest taking into consideration its usage by indigenous people, forest dependent communities and even the Liberian government that is still awarding concession contracts to investors in the Liberian forests.
According to LMI, the workshop organized by the Fauna and Flora International in collaboration with the REDD Technical Working Group ended with a call for the total involvement of stakeholders in the country for the success of REDD+ in Liberia.