In Sierra Leone, Stakeholders engaged on sustainable forest management
The Forestry Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security on Friday 19th November, 2010 engaged stakeholders in sustainable forest management on the implementation of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States and Forest Law Enforcement, and Governance and Trade (FLEGT) respectively at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Youyi Building in Freetown.
The objective of the meeting was to allow stakeholders discuss the implementation of the ACP and FLEGT support programme in Sierra Leone which is soon to be hosted by the ministry through the Forestry Division.
Addressing the audience, the Programme Coordinator in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Mr. Hassan R. S. Mohamed said the ACP-FLEGT support programme is geared towards supporting a project titled, “Building Capacity for a Verification System to Support Sustainable Forestry in Sierra Leone.” He said it consists of putting in place an efficient and cost - effective system for demonstrating the legal origins of timber and subsequently, legal compliance of forest management in the country.
The programme, Mr. Mohamed went on, is a collaborative effort of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Eurpean and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States to address forest law enforcement, governance and trade issues in member countries. According to him, the project has four main objectives aimed at arriving at an agreed definition of what is considered as legally-produced timber based on the forest laws of Sierra Leone.
The Director of Forestry, Mr. Sheku Mansaray, revealed that government faces a substantial loss of revenue and royalties as well as social developmental benefits through illegal exploitation of timber in the form of unauthorized logging and in prohibited areas and extending logging outside concessionary zones as well as excess allowable cut of harvests among others. “These malpractices in timber production underscore the importance of implementing the FLEG programme in Sierra Leone in order to fully control logging” he concluded.