July 6,2022-Monrovia, Liberia – To conserve forests, biodiversity and raise revenues, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) is one of the best frameworks adopted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Participating countries such as Liberia are making efforts to become REDD+ ready amidst global warming, air pollution, drought and historically extreme weather such as thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tsunamis.
The idea that communities can receive economic benefits for keeping trees standing in the forest is not an easy message to preach when forest edged communities in Liberia are largely dependent on forest resources. In addition, relevant line ministries and agencies clothed with the authority to enforce policies don’t really understand the roles they should play in biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation.
Hence, increasing communication and awareness raising among key stakeholders is critical in mainstreaming REDD+ in Liberia for smooth implementation.
To this end, a Consortium of four Liberian NGOs: Partners in Development, The Nature Compact, GREENLIFE West Africa, and Eddie Theatre Productions is implementing Liberia’s REDD+ communications strategy under the Forestry Development Authority’s (FDA) Liberia Forest Sector Project.
On June 30, 2022, the Consortium held a meeting at the office of the Nature Compact in Lakpazee, Monrovia with some LFSP implementing Entities including the Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Mines and Energy and FDA to update key messages for dissemination during awareness raising campaigns on REDD+. A total of 14 participants came together to create effective messages that will convince different audiences to “Eat Some, Keep Some!”
In a brief presentation, Mr. Borwen, Sayon, a member of the consortium, added that the REDD+ Communication strategy focuses on the thematic areas which include Land tenure, Protected Area Creation, Benefit Sharing, Policy, Capacity, Participation, Redress, Livelihoods, Environmental and Forest Degradation, Mining, Biodiversity Conservation and Research.
According to him, the overall goal is to increase the visibility and general awareness of REDD+ in Liberia and enhance collaboration between internal REDD+ Technical Working Group (RTWG) partners, donors, and executing agencies by facilitating the sharing of information.
After the working sessions, Jackson Nobeh, the Consortium Lead, revealed that the Consortium is planning a REDD+ refresher training for mainstream journalists in July 2022, which will be followed by various activities involving other stakeholders.
At the end of the meeting, Mr. Jerry Nyemah, head of FDA’s Conservation Department, called on each participating institution to continue to work together to raise awareness on biodiversity conservation, so Liberians can receive economic benefits for keeping their forests.
REDD+ is a mechanism, which aims to provide an economic incentive for countries to conserve, rather than cut down, their forests in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In Liberia, the process started in October 2016, with the National Strategy for REDD+ implementation headed by the FDA’s REDD+ Implementation Unit (RIU).