The United Nations Education Scientific and cultural organization (UNESCO) has begun a three-day training leading to the establishment of a Transboundary biosphere Reserve in Monrovia.
The training, which began in Monrovia on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, will strengthen the capacity of Liberia and Guinea, Man and the Biosphere (MAB) National Committee Members and Environmental experts.
The UNESCO concept of the biosphere reserve is to promote the three interconnected functions–conservation, development and logistic support as well as foster the harmonious integration of people and nature for sustainable development.
This is done through participatory dialogue, knowledge sharing, poverty reduction, human well-being improvements, respect for culture value and by improving society’s ability to cope with climate change.
Speaking at the start of the training at a local Hotel in Monrovia, UNESCO Regional Director based in Abuja, Yao Ydo said the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program was created to develop the basis for the rational and sustainable use and conservation of the resources of the biosphere and for the improvement of the overall relationship between people and their environment.
According to Ydo, Liberia has no biosphere reserve as a result of lack of Man and the Biosphere (MAB) National Committee.
He explained that in Guinea, there are four biosphere reserves (mount Nimba 1980, Massif du Ziama 1980, Badiar 2002, and Haut Niger 2002).’’
‘’There is a need for MAB National committees of Africa member states to intensify efforts in processing the nomination of important natural sites as biosphere reserves especially sites that are transboundary between two countries as transboundary,’’ Ydo noted.
The head of the UNESCO Regional Office who is in Abuja explained that the Transboundary foster peace, encourages collaborative activities at bilateral sub-regional and regional levels and contributes to the development of the MAB World Network of biosphere reserves. “It also promotes the exchange of information and experience between different countries as well as benefit from World Network Biosphere Reserves program,” he said.
Ydo noted that the training workshop which focuses on strengthening the capacity of Liberia and Guinea MAB National Committee Members and Environmental experts will commence the process of completing the nomination dossier for the establishment of a Transboundary biosphere Reserve at Wonegizi area at the boarder of Liberia and Guinea.
‘’The Wonegizi site is already target site of a REDD initiative and seems to have the potential of becoming a transboundary biosphere reserved,’’ he said.
The UNESCO official observed that the development of a transboundary biosphere reserve at Wonegizi will strengthen the joint management between Liberia and Guinea of the natural resources.
According to him, UNESCO in 2017 organized the AfriMAB General Assembly in Nigeria, where biosphere reserves Managers and environmental experts from member states including Liberia and Guinea were trained.
They learned how to effectively manage their biosphere reserves, forest reserves and establish new national and transboundary biosphere reserves for joint management of natural resources.
Moreover, the Deputy Executive Director of Liberia’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Randall M. Dobayou said the EPA in collaboration with UNESCO is conducting the training in bringing members for the two countries in establishing the transboundary reserve between Liberia and Guinea.
Dobayon said the establishment of the Transboundary Biosphere Reserves will help attract investors into the country and other tourist purposes.
The three-day training is organized by UNESCO in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia, and it is bringing together Environmental experts from Guinea and Liberia with several government and Agencies including the Ministry of Information Culture Affairs and Tourism, Forestry Development Authority, among others.
UNESCO MAB program operates through one hundred and fifty-eight (158) National Committees established among the one hundred and ninety-five (195) member states as well as nine associate member states.
In Africa, there are about seventy-nine (79) biosphere reserves in twenty-eight (28) countries, while in the West Africa sub-region within the jurisdiction of the Regional Office in Abuja, there are thirteen (13) National Biosphere reserves and one Transboundary between Togo and Benin Republic.
Currently, the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of the Man and biosphere program consists of a dynamic and interactive network of sites of excellence.
There are currently six hundred and eighty –six (686) biosphere reserves in one hundred and twenty-two (122) countries including twenty (20) transboundary sites.