Training on Field Activities for the Implementation of The VPA and Support Unit
On the 18th of September 2013 Liberia ratified a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union (EU) in the context of EU’s Action Programme Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT). This programme aims at reducing illegal logging by strengthening sustainable and legal forest management, improving governance and promoting trade of legally produced timber. To further strengthen Liberia’s ability to comply with the Agreement, the VPA Support Unit (VPA-SU) was launched in 2013 with the primary function to build the capacity of key stakeholder groups playing a direct role in
the implementation of the VPA, including the Forest Development Authority (FDA), Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), Ministry of Labor (MoL), among others. The first 5-year phase of the Support
Unit, which ended in September 2018, gave tremendous support to these stakeholders and other actors
including infrastructure, furniture, equipment, improving systems, and manpower development.
Capacity building trainings
The second phase of the Support Unit (VPA-SU2), which started in April 2019 and will end in April 2022,
embarks on intensified training to ensure the capacity of stakeholders is built so that Liberia can deliver on
the VPA. Within 11 months (December 2019-October 2020), the VPA-SU2 Unit has conducted:
- 11 inspection trainings to train staff of FDA, EPA and MoL in assessing the performance requirements of the Code of Forest Harvesting Practices;
- 3 scaling trainings to improve the aptitude of FDA staff in scaling of logs and volume assessment as means to provide accurate data for revenue generation, invoicing of stumpage fees and deriving ommunity benefits;
- 2 Brush-up workshops to refresh FDA staff on work planning and reporting, Forest Law Enforcement issues, and distinguishing roles of different departments to avoid overlaps;
- 1 Orientation workshop for newly recruited staff to understand basic topics, functions and expectations of their department; 2 trainings on LiberTrace to improve the knowledge of system users to effectively carryout traceability, legality, fiscality, and transparency checks of logs; and
- 1 training on Quality Management System involving various FDA department.
Participants and venues
The trainings covered all 5 regions of FDA from conference hall to forest sites. They involved over 50 field
and regional employees of FDA, EPA, MoL, Community Forest Management Bodies, Forest Operators and
some central technical staff of these entities.
The capacity building activities have strengthened the participants’ ability (i) to conduct inspections using
the Inspection Checklist of the Code of Forest Harvesting Practices and to identify non-compliances in
logging operations; (ii) to improve the knowledge and competence in log scaling and volume calculations,
and the essentiality of the Chain of Custody System; (iii) to enhance the understanding and use of
LiberTrace (a software for verification of legality, traceability and fiscality of the logs being exported from
Liberia); and (iv) to strengthen field reporting skills.