Vice President Boakai Reaffirms Government's Commitment to Preserving Liberia’s Forest Wildlife

Saturday, 18th August 2007

Monrovia, Liberia - Liberian Vice President Joseph N. Boakai has assured the international community of government’s fullest cooperation in preserving Liberia’s forest and wildlife.

He disclosed that it is in line with international best practice that the new Forestry Law has set aside 30 per cent of Liberia’s forest, equivalent to 1.4 million hectares of the country’s over 4 million hectares of forest.
  
He however observed that most rural dwellers who are coming from a protracted civil conflict, are wallowing in poverty and depend on the forests to earn their livelihood.
  
Vice President Boakai gave the assurance Friday evening when a four-member team from the United States based environmental watchdog, Conservation International (CI), accompanied by Forestry Development Authority Managing Director John Woods, National Investment Commission Chairman Richard Tolbert and Conservation International Country Director Alex Peal, paid a courtesy call on him at his Sinkor office.
  
The team, headed by Conservation International President Dr. Russel A. Mittermeier, is in the country to impress upon the Liberian government the need to preserve the country’s forest resources and wildlife.

Vice President Boakai emphasized that the forest is an important resource that the country shares with other countries of the world, and hoped the country would be assisted to conserve its forests, while at the same time benefiting from its forest resources.

Earlier, Conservation International President Mittermeier told the Vice President that Liberia is very important in the West Africa region for conservation, because it has the largest portion of the remaining forest cover in the region.

He said Liberia stands to benefit from excellent new challenging opportunities if it protects its forests,including compensation by the international community.

Dr. Mittermeier said Liberia has amazing species like the Pygmy Hippopotamus, Duiker and Chimpanzee from which it can generate income from tourists.

He said jobs can also be created through reforestation activities to be sponsored by the international community.