The Joint Implementation Committee (JIC) of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement is expected to host it sixth sitting in Monrovia today.
The two days event will bring together government officials, partners especially the European Union and many others to look at critical issues in the forestry sector of Liberia including its proper governance.
The VPA is a legally-binding bilateral trade agreement that aims to improve forest governance and promote trade in legal timber from Liberia to the European Union.
Additionally, it gives timber producing countries market access, not only to the EU, but to other markets that are looking for legal timber.
According to a press release, the VPA aims to guarantee that any wood exported from Liberia to the EU comes from legal sources and help Liberia stop illegal logging by improving forest governance and regulation.
The instrument also promotes legal trade of forest products between Liberia and the European Union as well as to promote sustainable forest development while developing economic opportunities for the present and future generations.
The upcoming JIC meeting which marks the sixth sitting of the Joint Implementation Committee is amongst other things intended to oversee the implementation of the FLEGT Voluntary Partnership Agreement between Liberia and the European Union.
Furthermore, it will also foster dialogue and the exchange of information on matters covered by the Agreement, including the implementation of which Liberia is committed to executing fully in an effort to strengthen law enforcement within the Forestry Sector.
As part of the two days events, the technical and preparatory discussions will be co-chaired by Alberto Menghini of the EU Delegation and C. Mike Doryen of the Forestry Development Authority while Ambassador Hélène Cavé of the EU Delegation to Liberia and Harrison S. Karnwea, Sr. of the Board of Directors of the Forestry Development Authority are expected to co-chair the formal session and sign the Aide Memoire.
Several partners including the European Forest Institute (EFI), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United Kingdom (UK), Department for International Development (DFID), and the World Bank will attend the meeting.
Participating stakeholders from the Liberian side will include; nine (9) ministries and agencies of the Liberian Government, civil society organizations, the Liberia Timber Association and the National Union of Community Forestry Development Committee (NUCFDC).
It can be recalled that the agreement came into force in Liberia in December of 2013.
Proper management and governance of Liberia’s forestry sector has been a major challenge for past governments over the years as it is expected that with the new international partnership and mechanism put in place since 2013 in Liberia the direct beneficiaries (The People) will soon feel the tangible impact.