MONROVIA-The Head of Delegation of the European Union to Liberia has reminded Liberian Government officials that the interest of the country should prevail over the financial interest of a few individuals

Speaking at the 10th Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Forestry Opening, Ambassador Laurent Delahousse officials of government must allow the country interest to prevail over the financial interest of individuals especially when the credibility of the country itself is at stake just as in the recent case on cocaine trafficking.

Ambassador Delahousse noted that in last year, “We agreed that a first draft of a roadmap to achieve compliance would be shared by Liberia before mid-April 2022. This roadmap is important, so we look forward to the presentations, updates and discussions during the technical sessions later today. The road map is important but actions speak louder than words; Liberia has the leadership and EU and others can support but do not replace the Government.

He added, “With respect to the Renaissance case, I want to take this opportunity to clearly state that the EU respects the rule of law and therefore recognizes the decisions of the Courts of Liberia. Let us however also be clear that our understanding is that the Court only decided with respect to the logs for which the FDA issued the fine, their decision does not give the right to harvest additional logs.

“The interest of the country should prevail over the financial interest of a few individuals, especially when the credibility of the country itself is at stake-just as in the recent case on cocaine trafficking,” Ambassador Delahousse noted.

He furthered, “I am confident that this 10th session of the JIC will allow us to move forward on the many subjects which are identified in the agenda. The JIC isn’t a place for judgments; its role is to guide the implementation of the VPA, to allow for dialogue, to monitor progress and, informed by our respective experience, to identify ways to mitigate possible problems and identify how to move forward. Therefore, I would like us to end this JIC on Thursday with good progress on the technical review of the legality matrix and with a clear roadmap for the next steps, with milestones along the way to check up on progress. I thank you for your attention.”

According to the EU Head of Delegation, the VPA process is an important part of the EU flagship support to forests and conservation adding, “Our colleagues in Brussels see the goal of Liberia-VPA FLEGT licenses as a ‘golden nugget’, an emblematic result for this flagship process. Together with our Team Europe partners and in coordination with other donors, we will increase our support to the VPA implementation process. First, through the EU FLEGT program implemented by the French Development Agency (AFD) which is supporting this event. Second, through a new 15 million euro / 16 million US dollar national program on forestry and biodiversity that includes significant support to VPA – 4 – implementation by the European Forest Institute EFI.”

He said the JIC is an occasion to remind stakeholders that the Liberian forest is a unique and indispensable living heritage at many levels, from its role on the climate and the preservation of biodiversity to the support to livelihoods, jobs and revenues for your country and the local communities.

“We cannot afford to see Liberia going the way of Ivory Cost: in 60 years, 90% of Ivorian forest surface has disappeared. We are here to prevent this from happening in Liberia and I salute the presence of representatives of the United Kingdom and Norway as active members of this partnership to save the Liberian forest,” he among other things added

Comments are closed.