Under the Good Growth Partnership, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in collaboration with Conservation International (CI) are supporting the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry Development Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency to promote conservation and sustainable livelihood activities.
With the aim of encouraging sustainable practices for palm oil -conserving forests and safeguarding the rights of smallholder farmers and forest dependent communities while also supporting the sustainable development of the palm oil sector in Liberia- the partnership between UNDP and Conservation International is promoting an integrated approach to tackling the challenges related to unsustainable palm oil production across the entire palm oil supply chain.
With this goal in mind, three Conservation Agreements were signed on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, with three Zodua clan concession communities in the Garwulah District of Grand Cape Mount County, Liberia: Karnga, Falie and Gohn, to protect the Zoduah Community Forests and surrounding forest areas.
Signed by the leaders representing the three towns as well as by representatives from the Forest Development Authority, Conservation International, local leaders, civil society and the global trading company Sime Darby, the three Conservation Agreements are a result of a series of processes of engagement and negotiation - including feasibility analyses that recognized and applied the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) and rights-based approaches.
The Conservation Agreements, initially implemented for a period of one year (renewable), seek to protect the integrity of the Zodua community forests and surrounding forests by providing sustainable improved livelihood options for communities, in return for verified conservation action, strengthening and building the capacities of local communities on sustainable forest management and governance as well as raising awareness on the importance of biodiversity conservation.
"Forestry is everybody’s business. Don’t eat all or else the next generation will hold you responsible,” said the Forest Development Authority representative attending the ceremony.
The Good Growth Partnership is also supporting Liberia via these agreements in its responsibilities as a signatory to the convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), while providing a framework for the relationship between and among parties involved in the implementation of conservation and development activities.
The ceremony took place in Falie and was attended by residents of the three communities, the communities’ local leadership, civil society organizations, youth and women groups and representatives of Sime Darby.
Members of the Communities, local leadership, central government representatives, civil society groups and development partners voiced their appreciation for the initiative, pledging to work together in sustaining the partnership for the benefits of the next generation. Likewise, residents were encouraged to take full ownership of the agreement and apply the provisions laid out in the Grievance Redress Mechanism available.