FDA MD Questions Community Forest Reform Laws


-Stresses The Need For Amendment 

The Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) has emphasized the need for amendment to some provisions in the country’s community forest reform laws that lack clarity and do not seem to be in tone with present day realities.

Mr. C. Mike Doyen minced no words in questioning the intent of those, mainly international partners concerned with forest administration and management, who pushed the enactment of new forest reform laws under past administrations, without taking into consideration the interest and wellbeing of the state.

Recently addressing participants at a 3-Day Retreat of Community Forest Working Group (CFWG) in Kakata, Mr. Doyen expressed concerns about provisions in the Community Rights and the Forest Reform Laws.

“When I took over at the FDA, I reviewed both the Community Rights Law and the Forest Reform Law, and I said to myself these are good laws with bad provisions, and those provisions need to be amended,” Mr. Doyen recently told a gathering of forest managers and experts during a 3-Day Retreat in Kakata, Margibi County.

He described as bad a provision which says “community upon the formation of their committees can seek technical assistance from anywhere.”

“This is your law because it was shut down the throat of the old management team; they did not agree 100% because they were afraid of something.”

Saying that he was not afraid of anything to speak out, Mr. Doyen quipped that some companies might have taken advantage of the loopholes in the laws, and wondered what were those people thinking about when they advocated for the laws.

He however said it was high time that Liberians got serious because the nation has transitioned from the dark period of ‘failed state’ to a state of peace and stability.

“We have reached a point in the history of this country that it’s about time we understand the intent of some of the reform measures, whether they are good for us as a nation or they are there to satisfy a new colonialism-thought-process,” the FDA MD emphasized.

“We need to leave from that stage of ‘failed statehood’ and begin to build our nation with confidence.”

According to Mr. Doyen, some of the laws only favor those who are advocating for restraints in some aspect of community forest operations, not those are direct owners of the forest.

The 3-Day Retreat was held under the theme ‘Reviving the CFWG to strengthen public participation in community forest matters in Liberia.’

It was intended to appraise the activities of the CFWG and seek renewed approaches to issues confronting the forest sector.

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