ACORD trains 24 CB-IFMs in forest monitoring techniques
As part of efforts to equip forest’s communities in forest management and governance, the Association of Community Rights Defenders (ACORD) through a partnership with the Civil Society Independent Forest Monitors (CS-IFM) has trained 24 Community Based-Independent Forest Monitors groups (CM-IFMs) from Rivercess and Nimba Counties. The training is part of ACORD 12 months project that is funded by FAO and the European Union FLEGT Programmes. The training covers log scaling, volume, and cubic meter calculations.
ACORD’s report says, 14 Community Forestry Development Committees (CFDC) have been trained and established as Community Based-Independent Forest Monitors (CB-IFMs) in Riverscess County. Their report further reveals that 10 Community Forest Management Body (CFMB) members have been trained as CB-IFMs in Nimba County.
Roland Harris, Program Officer of ACORD who led the project says that the project aim is to train community forest governance structure members in independent forest monitoring mentality and skills to do it themselves.
Harris reveals that ACORD has developed a community guide that is focused on the roles and responsibilities of Community Based Independent Forest Monitors groups (CB-IFMs).
“The guide that we have developed is to be used during the performance of their independent forest monitoring activities,” he says.
Oona Burke Johnson, a facilitator of EU-FLEGT says that community-based independent forest monitors should be the watchdog ensuring that logging contracts and forest regulations are obeyed.
“Liberia is very weak in terms of adherence to the rule of law,” says Johnson. “One of the ways we can bridge that gap between where we are and the rule of law, is to create more eyes. We can create more eyes, we can put more hands around the table and in this way, we are sure that more information will be revealed to the public in terms of issues in the forestry sector.”
Also, Joseph Tally, the Deputy Managing Director of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) says that it is good that forest’s communities are being empowered to get information on logging companies’ operations. He encouraged CB-IFMs and CFMB to get into the field rather than waiting on the FDA to provide them with information. “For them to know what is expected of them is a good venture,” he says.
The rights of local dwellers participation in the management and governance of their forests is one of the pillars of Liberia’s forest reformed laws which is also backed by the Voluntary Partnership Agreement signed between Liberia and the European Union.
Part 7 Section 71 of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Ten Core Regulations provides for a third party’s involvement in forest monitoring activities.
However, many communities are in conflicts with logging companies over their benefits. Advocates have blamed corruption, lapses in the full implementation the forestry laws, its regulations as well as incompetent community governance structures for the conflict.
ACORD is a civil society organization working on issues of natural resources; its management and governance in Liberia.