LIBERIA: the EU grants 16.5 million dollars for the protection of biodiversity

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LIBERIA : l’UE accorde 16,5 millions de dollars pour la protection de la biodiversité© sittitap/Shutterstock

The European Union (EU) is providing further support for the protection of Liberia's biodiversity. On 5 June 2023, in the midst of the 50th World Environment Day celebrations, the EU signed a $16.5 million financing agreement with the Liberian government. The funds will be used to finance reforestation and sustainable forestry activities.

Further support from the European Union (EU) for Liberia’s biodiversity sector. On Monday 5 June 2023 in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, the head of the EU delegation to Liberia and the Liberian Minister of Finance and Development Planning signed four new EU support programmes totalling 88 million US dollars.

One of these four funding programmes is for forestry and conservation for sustainable economic development, worth around 16.5 million dollars. Specifically, it will promote job creation and income generation through the sustainable use and conservation of natural resources. Agroforestry, firewood planting, multi-purpose nurseries and the formalisation of chainsaw millers are the targeted activities. The programme will be implemented by Liberia’s Forestry Development Authority, with the support of various partners, such as community forestry organisations.

Combating illegal logging

Liberia is the most forested country in West Africa, with tropical forests covering around two-thirds of the national territory. It is home to forest elephants, pygmy hippos and western chimpanzees, all of which are threatened with extinction. Since 2000, deforestation has wiped out some 22% of the country’s forest cover, largely due to illegal logging.

Read also-Ivory Coast/LIBERIA: towards the conservation of the Taï-Grebo-Sapo forest complex

An independent international investigation has revealed 39 specific cases of illegal operations in the last three years. The investigation was launched in 2018 following a number of complaints from local communities. The investigations uncovered a trade in tropical timber valued at three million euros in Grand Bassa County, south of the capital Monrovia.

At the beginning of February 2023, the World Bank and the EU, which finance the protection of biodiversity, raised their voices against the Liberian Forestry Agency’s persistent tendency to ignore illegal timber trafficking, and even more so. EU ambassador Laurent Delahousse denounced Liberia’s “casual attitude, if not denial”.

Boris Ngounou

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