Global Witness Director Patrick Alley says the Norway-Liberia partnership could be a real game-changer for Liberia. According to Alley, it promises to turn the page on a long history of forest destruction, recognizing that trees are worth far more standing than when they are cut down, and that the people who live in forests are their best protectors.
“If Liberia delivers on this promise it could help spur the country’s economy and set development on a sustainable path at such a difficult time. The deal also embodies the spirit of international cooperation and pragmatism that is needed to prevent irreversible and catastrophic climate change”, Alley noted.
This was disclosed in a dispatch from New York emanating from a joint-press conference held by Liberia’s Foreign Minister Augustine K. Ngafuan and Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg.
It said measures to be implemented by Liberia in the initial phase include refraining from issuing any new logging concessions until all concessions have been reviewed by an independent body and building capacity in the relevant institutions and further increasing efforts to enforce the law and strengthen forest governance.
The measures require the government to place 30 percent or more of Liberia‘s forest estate under protected area status before 2020, piloting direct payments to communities for protecting forest, addressing all key existing and potential drivers of forest-related emissions and develop appropriate measurement and reporting systems for carbon emissions from forests.
In addition, Liberia would commission a study to consider alternative models of agriculture investment, including those driven by Liberian small and medium-scale initiatives, inform identification of land areas suitable for deforestation free agricultural supply chain investments, and compose an overarching strategy for the allocation of selected areas for such use.
The dispatch stresses that there will also be efforts to establish a public-private coalition with multilateral companies committed to ambitious zero deforestation policies, only allowing companies adhering to such policies – and signing up to relevant Tropical Forest Alliance compacts – to do business in Liberia.
In the initial years funds from Norway up to USD 70 million will be devoted to the implementation of policy measures and institution building necessary to reach the phase which entails payments for reduced carbon emissions.
In the period towards 2020, an additional $80million USD could be paid for verified reduced emissions. Implementation of the partnership will be flexible and adapted to the challenging circumstances of Liberia.