The brief highlights our findings concerning the unusual circumstances of two Community Forestry Managment Agreements (CFMAs) obtained by A&M Enterprises Inc., in the Blouquia and Neezonnie Community Forests, Grand Gedeh County, Liberia. There are a number of irregularities in the allocation and
current use of these two CFMAs, leading us to believe that this may be a company-driven, rather than community-driven Community Forest Agreement.
There are currently concerns that the allocations of five of the ten approved CFMAs have not followed the requirements of the Community Rights Law (CRL). Due to there being a further 69 CFMAs awaiting approval, these concerns must be urgently investigated to prevent a repeat of the recent PUP crisis that saw large quantities of timber harvested and exported without providing tangible benefits to Liberian citizens. We show:
- The FDA approved the Blouquia and Neezonnie CFMAs in 2011, yet the two CFMBs were not legally established until almost two years later. The CFMA was not signed by a legitimately appointed CFMB.
- The FDA Board approved the CRL Regulations on 26 August 2011, but the two CFMAs were signed on 15th and 16th August 2011, two weeks before the Regulations were approved.
- The MOU with the logging compnay was signed more than two and half years before the Forest Management Plan was approved.
- The MOU was signed before the FDA approved the Community Forest Management Agreements, and before the CFMB had been legally established. The CFMB did not therefore represent the community during negotiations with the logging company.
- The MOU was signed with A&M Enterprise Inc. who holds no business registration in Liberia.
- The MOU expired on 31 May 2013, yet pre-felling activities are currently continuing in the absence of a contract.