Fate of GIS lab in Liberia remains uncertain as LFR Project ends

Fate of GIS lab in Liberia remains uncertain as LFR Project ends

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The US$1.2 million LFR project funded by eight international donors including European Commission Forest Budget Line, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Conservation International, and Tropical Rain Forest program of UN-IUCN, and managed by Fauna & Flora International, folded up officially recently. Starting in 2001, its overall objective was to promote sustainable forest management and conservation of Liberia’s biodiversity, and improve overall environmental management. At the close of the project, a US$150,000 GIS laboratory has been established with several technicians from various line ministries and agencies of government trained both internationally and locally.

In continuation of the public awareness campaign aimed at taking the project to the people, an impressive session was held before the close down for government institutions and non-governmental organizations in the Ministry of Planning & Economic Affair’s conference room. Following the presentation by the training coordinator, Tyler Christie of Conservation International, concern was raised about the sustainability of the GIS lab.
According to Deputy Planning Minister T. Edward Liberty the GIS equipment would be housed temporarily at the UN Humanitarian Information Center (HIC). Mr. Liberty said at the HIC, all line ministries and agencies will have access to the GIS and that the local technicians will continuously be trained. The majority of speakers at the ceremony, appealed to the Liberian government through Min. Liberty to begin healthy negotiations with relevant governments and institutions aimed at securing funds for the sustaining the GIS.