Monrovia, 22 May 2017
Press Release on the Launch of the FAO-EU Funded Project, “Promoting Women and Community Rights in Forest Governance and Management in Liberia”
Liberia hosts the largest remaining fragments of the Upper Guinea forest ecosystem across West Africa. Reform initiatives have led to policies and legislations to strengthen legal frameworks governing forestry and advance community rights and ownership. Liberia also signed and begun implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union in December 2013, committed to improved forest governance and poverty reduction. The forestry sector in Liberia therefore has a huge potential for transforming communities. However, gender inequalities across the sector and country in general challenge the fulfilment of this promise. This unequal status of women limits meaningful participation in community forest governance bodies. In general, decisions are often made by male-dominated structures and issues paramount to women such as sexual and reproductive health rights and services and gender based violence are relegated further increasing the marginalization of women from community to national levels. Therefore, women participation is necessary to ensure an inclusive community management and governance in Liberia.