Public Information and Transparency Measures
Communication supports implementation of the VPA and is essential to redress the negative image of the sector given the difficult historical background of Liberia and its timber industry. The VPA is an opportunity to work towards transparency, accountability and legality. The value of communicating about the government efforts to improve governance in the forest sector cannot be overemphasised. The VPA will affect not only the administration, but also different stakeholder groups and the broader public and therefore requires a comprehensive communication strategy that will provide all the necessary information on the VPA, its impact and its benefits, not only in economic, but also environmental and social terms. Communication on action planned and achievements under the VPA will aim to:
- Encourage involvement and guarantee the coherence of actions by various stakeholders;
- Ensure public access to information to facilitate monitoring;
- Promote the image of Liberian timber on the international market; EU/LR/Annex X/en 6
- Secure public support for the action taken by Liberia to promote sustainable forest resource management and development of the communities that depend on it; and
- Promote the benefits of a VPA among the stakeholders and the wider public.
- To this end, Liberia will support measures to ensure effective communication of the ambition and results of the VPA. Key measures may include:
- Preparing and implementing a communication strategy with the goal of raising public awareness via modern and traditional media to keep the public and the timber trade informed about implementation of the VPA and its impact and benefits;
- Identifying appropriate target groups and designing specific printed and electronic messages concerning the VPA for each target audiences with regular updates;
- Establishing an information exchange platform for consistent dissemination of information to domestic and international partners, including considering where it should be located in the overall implementing structure;
- Organising trade shows involving prospective trading partners to promote the benefits of FLEGT-licensed timber;
- Putting systems in place for the appropriate government authorities to publish information and to respond to requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act, as indicated in Annex IX.
PUBLIC INFORMATION AND TRANSPARENCY MEASURES
In line with the desire of the Government of Liberia to adopt transparent and accountable natural resource management, as exemplified by the scrupulous implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the Parties agree that publication of information and other transparency measures are essential for successful implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) as indicated in Article 21 of this Agreement. In this light, both Parties are committed to regularly publishing all information of interest to stakeholders and information to facilitate implementation and monitoring of the VPA. This Annex describes the information to be published by the Government of Liberia or that can be made available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act by the Government of Liberia.
CATEGORIES OF INFORMATION THAT WILL BE ROUTINELY PUBLISHED
- VPA and all its Annexes
- Information on Management of Forestry Sector
- Information on Forest Resource Allocation
- Information on Forest Resource Production
- Information of Forest Fees and Revenue
- Information on Law Enforcement in Concession Areas
- Freedom of Information Act (Ref. Chapter 3, Section 3,1-3.14)