Forestry Development Authority (FDA) Managing Director, Harrison Karnwea, has assured the European Union and other partners that strategies are being devised to improve the forestry sector in order to bring the expectations of partners to reality.Mr. Karnwea made the statement at the Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) meeting held recently in Monrovia and attended by the Head of European Union, Tiina Intelmann, representatives of the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), Ministries of Finance, Agriculture, Justice, the Liberia Revenue Authority, civil society, private sector and key development partners.Mr. Karnwea spelled out his vision to have a well trained, equipped and operational FDA to sustainably manage the forest resource. The FDA vision includes generating revenue from timber and non-timber resources and ecosystem services as well as legally produced timber and finished and semi-finished timber products.Thirty percent of Liberia´s forests, said Karnwea, will be held under conservation status, especially in the Sapo-Tai biodiversity corridor. FDA will also improve the agricultural sector in collaboration with partners to reduce its impact on forests and halt the expansion of the savannah in the north of the country.As part of the vision, Mr. Karnwea said he would also transform FDA into a self-sustaining institution to serve as a catalyst of national development that takes over the services currently provided by SGS and other partners in the end of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) implementation process.Earlier, Madam Tiina Intelmann described 2015 as a crucial year for the global community and the planet, noting that a series of international conferences will agree on financing for development, sustainable development and climate change goals for the next 15 years. The FLEGT VPA between the EU and Liberia could make an important contribution to the joint efforts to tackle climate change.She said deforestation and land use change are the main source of Greenhouse gas emissions in Liberia, but added that good forest governance and law enforcement are critical to the success of efforts to halt deforestation and forest degradation.The objective of the meeting was to jointly review the implementation of the Liberia-EU VPA, take stock of the effects of Ebola on activities and agree on the priorities for 2015. The VPA aims to put in place systems to ensure the legality of Liberia’s timber production and to strengthen forest sector governance. This process expected to last for several years, will promote legal forestry, leading to more sustainable forest management, increased long term revenues for communities and the Government, investment and job creation. The EU has similar agreements with Ghana, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Indonesia, and the Central African Republic and is negotiating with 9 other countries.Among the issues discussed were the key milestones in the development of the timber legality assurance system, further reinforcement of the legal framework and law enforcement as well as recent developments and challenges in the sector, including community forestry management agreements and transfer of timber revenues to communities. Both Liberia and the EU were happy to acknowledge that the Ebola crisis has not derailed the VPA process, although they acknowledged that it has caused significant delays.Members of the Joint Implementation Unit chaired by Sister Mary Laurene Browne were pleased to see that all stakeholders and support projects have fully remobilized.They also expressed hope that the VPA implementation quickly returns to full speed and that some lost time be caught up. Participants also discussed the synergies between the VPA process and the Liberia-Norway letter of intent on “Cooperation on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) and developing Liberia’s agriculture sector.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Attack on teacher…reportedly lied to Police about whereabouts…found with dead woma n’s cellphone – Police sourceAs the probe continues into the gruesome attack on 22-year-old Kescia Branche, investigators have now hauled in the father of the young teacher’s daughter for questioning.Dead: Kescia BrancheDivision Commander, Marlon Chapman, confirmed on Thursday that they arrested the man earlier in the day and that he is in custody “being questioned”.However, Guyana Times understands that the man was reportedly found with a cellphone belonging to the now dead teacher and allegedly lied to Police about his whereabouts on the night the young woman was reportedly attacked.Moreover, upon examining the device, which the suspect said he found in Branche’s apartment after her battered body was found on Sunday last, detectives came across a cell number that got their attention.Even as the new suspect is being questioned, the two Police Constables remain under close arrest while a civilian, who had a confrontation with the young woman in a night club after he reportedly touched her inappropriately, is still being held.This newspaper was previously told that one of the ranks under close arrest is refusing to cooperate with investigators. Meanwhile, two other ranks were also held for questioning after records showed they were in constant contact with one of the Constables after he left the night club in the company of the now dead young woman.The unconscious body of the Richard Ishmael Secondary School teacher was found in the vicinity of Princes Street and Louisa Row, Georgetown on Sunday morning and was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) where she remained in an unconscious state on life support until Tuesday when she succumbed to her injuries sometime around 17:00h.Branche, who resides in Cummings Lodge, Greater Georgetown, was last seen on Saturday evening when she left for a night out with her friends and the Police are seeking the public’s assistance in determining what may have transpired resulting in the inhumane beating the young woman received.A source close to the investigation revealed that detectives were reviewing the CCTV footage at a popular Newtown nightclub where the woman was seen partying on Saturday evening and came across evidence of the two uniformed officers interacting with the deceased.It was shown that the young woman left with the ranks, hopping on the back of one the motorcycles. This publication understands that investigators were told that they then proceeded to Mandela Avenue to get barbeque and while there, one of the ranks reported left to use the washroom.Upon his return, he told detectives that the young woman was not there, and his colleague said she left in a taxi.Investigators have been reviewing CCTV footage from along the route reportedly used by the Constables on Saturday.Members of the public with any information that would assist in the investigations are being asked to come forward. The investigation continues.