Friday, November 26, 2010

Liberia and Sierra Leone move to designate Gola Rainforest as National Park.

Bird Life

The governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone have started the formal processes of designating the Gola Rainforest as a shared National Park and Protected Area.


“There is every reason for us to protect the Gola Forest on both sides of our border, since doing so will ensure that it will continuously provide ecological services to the surrounding communities”, said presidents of Liberia H.E. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Sierra Leone H.E. Dr Ernest Bai Koroma in a joint statement presented at a recent conference in Sweden.

Gola Rainforest is part of the Upper Guinea Forest Ecosystem, which is one of the world’s most biodiversity-rich ecosystems. Of the 240-250 forest dependent birds in the region – such Whitebreasted Guineafowl Agelastes meleagrides and White-necked Picathartes Picathartes gymnocephalus (both Vulnerable) – more than 25 are threatened or restricted-range species.

It is also home to more than 50 mammal species, such as Forest Elephant Loxodonta cyclotis, Pygmy Hippo Choeropsis liberiensis and ten species of primate, including Chimpanzee Pan troglodytes.

Last year the Presidents of Sierra Leone and Liberia established the ‘The Across the River transboundary Peace Park’ project to protect the Gola Rainforest – an area covering the Gola, Lofa and Foya Forest Reserves (see map). This commitment is now being translated into actions by both countries.

Gola Rainforest is part of the Upper Guinea Forest Ecosystem, which is one of the world’s most biodiversity-rich ecosystems.

In Liberia, the Government announced its intention to set aside and upgrade a portion of the Gola National Forest into a National Park.

This was closely followed by a public consultation by Liberia’s Forestry Development Authority on the intention to set the Gola National Forest aside as a formally Protected Area, and to contribute to a regional effort in cross border conservation initiatives.

In Sierra Leone, Dr Sam Sesay – The Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security – recently announced: “in the coming months Gola will become Sierra Leone’s second National Park, and is the first step in the government ambitious plans to develop a Protected Area network throughout the country”.

Having recently gained Cabinet approval in Sierra Leone, actions are now focused upon tabling the Gola
Rainforest National Park bill before Parliament for final approval.
“Our 20-year dream is becoming a reality now that both governments are pushing ahead with the vital processes of designating their shared Gola Rainforest as a National Park”, said Dr Paulinus Ngeh – BirdLife’s West Africa Sub-regional Coordinator.

Some of these developments form part of the Across the River transboundary Peace Park, which is a four year European Union (EuropeAid fund) grant to Vogelbescherming Nederland (VBN; BirdLife in the Netherlands) aimed at securing long term conservation benefits, improved natural resources and biodiversity conservation and global carbon storage of the most critical habitats of the Upper Guinea Forest ecosystem.

The implementation of the project is coordinated by the BirdLife International Africa Partnership along with its BirdLife Partners: the Conservation Society of Sierra Leone (CSSL; BirdLife in Sierra Leone ); the Society for Conservation of Nature of Liberia (SCNL; BirdLife in Liberia and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB; BirdLife in the UK ); and Government partners comprising the Forestry Development Authority (FDA); and the Forestry Division (FD) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security.

Co-funding provided by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), and the Sustainable & Thriving
Environments for West African Regional Development (STEWARD) Program of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the US Forest Service, International Programs and Basel Zoo CEPF is a joint initiative of Conservation International, the French Development Agency, the government of Japan, the Global Environment Facility, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank.

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Inside Liberia with Bernard Gbayee Goah

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Everyone is a genius

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. – A Einstein

Drawing the line in Liberia

Crimes sponsored, committed, or masterminded by handful of individuals cannot be blamed upon an entire nationality. In this case, Liberians! The need for post-war justice is a step toward lasting peace, stability and prosperity for Liberia. Liberia needs a war crimes tribunal or some credible legal forum that is capable of dealing with atrocities perpetrated against defenseless men, women and children during the country's brutal war. Without justice, peace shall remain elusive and investment in Liberia will not produce the intended results. - Bernard Gbayee Goah



Men with unhealthy characters should not champion any noble cause

They pretend to advocate the cause of the people when their deeds in the dark mirror nothing else but EVIL!!
When evil and corrupt men try to champion a cause that is so noble … such cause, how noble it may be, becomes meaningless in the eyes of the people - Bernard Gbayee Goah.

If Liberia must move forward ...

If Liberia must move forward in order to claim its place as a civilized nation amongst world community of nations, come 2017 elections, Liberians must critically review the events of the past with honesty and objectivity. They must make a new commitment to seek lasting solutions. The track records of those who are presenting themselves as candidates for the position of "President of the Republic of Liberia" must be well examined. Liberians must be fair to themselves because results from the 2011 elections will determine the future of Liberia’s unborn generations to come - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's greatest problem!

While it is true that an individual may be held responsible for corruption and mismanagement of funds in government, the lack of proper system to work with may as well impede the process of ethical, managerial, and financial accountability - Bernard Gbayee Goah

What do I think should be done?

The situation in Liberia is Compound Complex and cannot be fixed unless the entire system of government is reinvented.
Liberia needs a workable but uncompromising system that will make the country an asylum free from abuse, and other forms of corruption.
Any attempt to institute the system mentioned above in the absence of rule of law is meaningless, and more detrimental to Liberia as a whole - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia's Natural Resources
Besides land water and few other resources, most of Liberia’s dependable natural resources are not infinite, they are finite and therefore can be depleted.
Liberia’s gold, diamond, and other natural resources will not always be an available source of revenue generation for its people and its government. The need to invent a system in government that focuses on an alternative income generation method cannot be over emphasized at this point - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Liberia needs a proper system
If Liberians refuse to erect a proper system in place that promotes the minimization of corruption and mismanagement of public funds by government institutions, and individuals, there will come a time when the value of the entire country will be seen as a large valueless land suited on the west coast of Africa with some polluted bodies of waters and nothing else. To have no system in place in any country is to have no respect for rule of law. To have no respect for rule of law is to believe in lawlessness. And where there is lawlessness, there is always corruption - Bernard Gbayee Goah

Solving problems in the absence of war talks

As political instability continues to increase in Africa, it has become abundantly clear that military intervention as a primary remedy to peace is not a durable solution. Such intervention only increases insecurity and massive economic hardship. An existing example which could be a valuable lesson for Liberia is Great Britain, and the US war on terror for the purpose of global security. The use of arms whether in peace keeping, occupation, or invasion as a primary means of solving problem has yield only little results. Military intervention by any country as the only solution to problem solving will result into massive military spending, economic hardship, more fear, and animosity as well as increase insecurity. The alternative is learning how to solve problems in the absence of war talks. The objective of such alternative must be to provide real sustainable human security which cannot be achieved through military arm intervention, or aggression. In order to achieve results that will make the peaceful coexistence of all mankind possible, there must be a common ground for the stories of all sides to be heard. I believe there are always three sides to every story: Their side of the story, Our side of the story, and The truthBernard Gbayee Goah

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