NGO Coalition Appreciates VPA-SU Team
The leadership of the NGO Coalition of Liberia (NCL) appreciated the management team of the Support Unit for Liberia Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA).
The program took place at edifice of the VPA-SU office on 9th Street; IT brought together scores of Liberian civil society actors.
In 2011, the European Union and the Government of Liberia concluded a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) under the European Union’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance, and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan. The agreement commits the Liberian Government to develop and implement systems to ensure that its timber exports to the European Union come from legal sources.
The VPA also commits Liberia to reform its governance to secure the long-term sustainability of Liberia’s forest sector while contributing to national economic development.
The appreciation ceremony comes amidst final closure of Liberia’s VPA program. In a statement on behalf of the Coalition, the Chairman of the Management Team, Samuel K.D. Kwennah recounted the many contributions VPA rendered to the NGO Coalition of Liberia.
“If you look back five years ago, there is so much we benefited from the SU operation”, He said.
Mr. Kwennah praised the VPA Management Team for always responding to their calls even at odd ours. “There are times you were at our calls on short notices”
According to him, the leadership will forever remain grateful to the VPA-Support Unit for its contribution towards the up-liftment of the Coalition, adding, “it is because of the your support that the Coalition Building/office is completed today.” He said, there is nowhere the Coalition will be mentioned without referencing the VPA Support Unit.
“Therefore, On behalf of the management team of the NGO Coalition, we want to say thank you for the many assistance you gave us. It is just to tell you thank you”, the soft talking NCL Management Team Leader emphasized.
Mr. Kwennah however lamented the closure of the VPA program, noting that, “when I saw the VPA-SU office being cleared, it played on me”.
Responding, Abraham Guillen, VPA-SU Team Leader expressed gratitude for recognizing the effort of the VPA in strengthening the NGO Coalition through partnership with the VPA.
Guillensaid, when the program started in Liberia, they did not know the different role of the NGO Coalition but as time progressed, they realized that the Coalition was significant in the implementation of the VPA.
“We understand that the VPA process in Liberia is legitimate because of the participation of the Coalition”, Guillen noted.
He intimated that without civil society organizations, the VPA process would not have gained the required support or relevance, noting, “Our (VPA)partnership with government and private sector would not have rendered VPA as a viable institution.
Meanwhile, Mr. Guillen urged the Coalition to press on as the VPA process is an ongoing process, which is trying to turn the government from post war issues to implementing law enforcement.
He recounted the role civil society played in the compilation and passage of the Land Rights Law.