VPA Gets Another 3-Year Mandate

first_imgMadam Hѐlѐne Cavé, EU Ambassador toLiberia.— EU, Liberia Launch Phase II TomorrowThe lifespan of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) between the European Union (EU) and the Government of Liberia (GoL) through the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), has been graciously extended by another three-year period, an FDA release has said.The ceremony marking the official launch of Phase II of the VPA takes place on Tuesday, August 20, 2019 in Monrovia. It is expected to be graced by an array of government officials and an EU delegation. This Long Term Technical Assistance to Implement the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) in Liberia is a project, funded by the EU for the continuation of EU support to the forestry sector to assist the implementation of the VPA/Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (VPA/FLEGT).GoL will be represented by FDA managing director, C. Mike Doryen and the EU by Ambassador Hélène Cavé.The objective of this project is to contribute to the development of Liberia’s forest sector by increasing the value of traded timber products through the strengthening of overall forest governance, sustainable management of forest resources, law enforcement, and rule of law, and equitable sharing of forest benefits, among others.This second phase of EU assistance will emphasize the trade rather than aid aspects of the program. This phase aims at enabling Liberia develop its capacity to issue FLEGT Licenses to help increase international trade with higher paying markets like the EU and others.For this to happen, completing the building of systems and procedures and putting these into operation is needed, so that a Legality Assurance System is fully in place in Liberia. Private operators and community forest owners can then be encouraged to obtain FLEGT Licenses and benefit from added-value exports to premium markets.The FDA is already increasingly taking over responsibilities for managing and financing the VPA implementation.The EU assistance to the VPA process started in 2013 under a first phase of VPA support through a co-financing arrangement between EU and DFID by a total of approximately EUR 20 million, implemented through two main technical assistance projects; one to create a Legality Verification Department (LVD), and the other a VPA Support Unit (VPA/SU). This was complemented by funding of specific additional actions, like support to the civil society, and the independent auditor.A key feature of the EU project is that it will help FDA to provide this coordination in its role as Lead-Agency. This will be achieved through the institutions and processes that were set up for VPA in the first phase; such as the VPA Secretariat, the Liberia Implementation Committee (LIC), National Multi Stakeholder Monitoring Committee (NMSMC) and the guidance provided by the Forward Planner (the VPA road map).The main counterparts to this project are the Government of Liberia institutions administering the forest resources namely the Forest Development Authority (FDA), the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MoFDP), the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Ministry of Labor (MoL). The present project is a second phase of the specific technical assistance, totaling around EUR 3.4 million.Liberia, a country rich in natural resources with over 4 million hectares of forests, has successfully emerged from war into a peaceful democracy. With variable figures during the last decade, the current contribution of the forest sector to the GDP is estimated around 10 to 11% with ambitions from the current administration to increase this contribution to at least 12% in the coming years, hence the importance of emphasizing trade.The export of commercial timber generates about US$8 million of government revenue annually, which is roughly 26% of the total earnings from natural resources.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Teams race to rescue birds from massive S.F. fuel spill

first_imgOAKLAND – The Coast Guard on Saturday nearly doubled the number of ships working to clean up San Francisco Bay’s worst oil spill in nearly two decades as rescue teams raced to save hundreds of seabirds tarred with black shipping fuel. At least 60 birds have died since 58,000 gallons of heavy bunker fuel leaked into the bay Wednesday after a massive container ship hit a tower of the Bay Bridge, according to the Coast Guard. Tides carried the oil under the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Pacific Ocean, closing about two dozen beaches around the bay and along the Pacific coast. The Coast Guard deployed 20 oil skimmers Saturday, up from 11 the day before, said Petty Ofc. Sherri Eng. Nearly 20,000 gallons of oily liquid had been sucked up by Saturday morning. “Oil and feathers don’t mix,” said Yvonne Addassi, a wildlife biologist with the state Department of Fish and Game. “We’re in a time crunch. The birds can only stayed oiled for so long before they can no longer be rehabilitated.” Fish and Game officials said the fuel generally stays on the water’s surface, and they had not seen any evidence that fish have been harmed – though they are concerned that the spill could affect bay herring that spawn at this time of year. Fishermen are worried that the spill could impact the much anticipated Dungeness crab season that begins Thursday. Bay Area fishermen planned to meet Saturday to discuss delaying the commercial season, said Larry Collins, who heads the San Francisco Crab Boat Owners Association. Once the crabs are harvested from the ocean floor, sea water is circulated in boat tanks to keep them alive, and the fishermen are concerned the spilled fuel could contaminate the crustaceans. The oil was blamed for the deaths of some crabs kept in tanks of circulating bay water at Fisherman’s Wharf, Collins said. “If the crabs get contaminated and someone gets sick, then you’ve lost your market,” said Collins, who believes the season should be postponed until the spill is cleaned up. “This is a big mess.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Still, authorities said most of the spilled oil will never be captured and eventually will dissolve into the water. Concentrated globules could remain for months and cause problems for seabirds. About 500 workers joined shoreline cleanup crews Saturday to mop up the damage – a job that is expected to last weeks or possibly months. State wildlife officials said they have received hundreds of reports of oiled birds found on Bay Area beaches. So far, 200 live birds have been recovered and sent to a rehabilitation center in Solano County. Most of the injured birds are surf scoters, a duck-like species that lives on the water’s surface and dives for fish. When oil gets on their feathers, it disrupts their waterproofing system and ability to stay warm, forcing them on shore where they are at risk of starvation. last_img read more