On 29th April 2021 a Legality Matrix Workshop took place at the Boulevard Palace Hotel in Sinkor. The main objective of workshop was to present the Legality Matrix to representatives of communities, private sector and involved ministries and agencies with a special focus on community forestry to discuss the way forward on incorporation of specific amendments. The workshop also included group activities to understand the practicability of verifiers to be incorporated into the legality matrix and to propose possible amendments.
The Seven Member Committee (SMC) has the mandate to include Community Forest Management Agreements (CFMA) into the Legality Matrix. Version 3.1 of the matrix includes proposed changes developed by the SMC with VPA-SU2 assistance. The SMC formally presented this version at the 8th Joint Implementation Committee (JIC). Based on a decision of the JIC the Legality Matrix was presented to the Community Forest Department (CyFD) of FDA on 16th December 2020 and to the National Multi Stakeholder Member Committee (NMSMC) in its meeting on 26th January 2021. The third step was the presentation of and discussions on the matrix with the relevant indicators and verifiers in the Legality Matrix Workshop. VPA-SU2 assists the Liberia Implementation Committee (LIC) to incorporate the suggested changes and to present the new version to the JIC in its next meeting.
After presentations in the morning the workshop concluded with a question-and-answer session. Then four groups with representatives from different organizations were formed to work jointly on possible positive and negative impacts of the amended legality matrix. Potential changes were developed as a basis for further amendments. The findings of the four groups were discussed in the afternoon. They are an important contribution to come to the final 4th version of the Legality Matrix.
The workshop participants represented different ministries and agencies i.e. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ministry of Internal Affairs (MoIA), Forestry Development Authority (FDA), NGO Coalition of Liberia, National Union for Community Forest Management Body (NUCFMB), Forestry Operators (Sing Africa Liberia Inc., Euro Logging Liberia, West African Development Inc., EJ&J Corporation, African Wood & Lumber and Magna Logging Company), Multi-stakeholder Forest Governance and Accountability Project (MFGAP), FLEGT Facilitation.
Written by: Shiv Panse, Michael Fischer