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USAID CONSERVATION WORKS AND THE FEDERATION OF LIBERIAN YOUTH ORGANIZE NATIONAL YOUTH CONFERENCE

Conservation works

 

It is estimated that nearly 75% of Liberia’s population is under the age of 35. Conservation Works, a five-year program promoting biodiversity conservation and enhancing economic prosperity in Liberia, is working with the Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), Liberia’s umbrella youth organization, to encourage these young people to take the lead in safeguarding the nation’s rich biodiversity and promote sustainable development.

This important youth conference, held on May 30 and 31st in Monrovia brought together youth to engage this critical segment of the country’s population in environmental conservation and sustainability. The event, titled, “National Youth Conference on Conservation & Sustainability: Empowering Youth to Protect Liberia’s Natural Heritage” provided a dynamic and interactive platform for diverse dialogue, awareness and education, and youth empowerment.

The event was attended by over 113 participants, including youth from across Liberia and government officials such as Hon. Frank Saah Foko, Representative of Montserrado County District # 9 and the Chairperson of the Legislative Youth Council, Mr. Abednego Gbarway, Wildlife Manager, Forestry Development Authority, and Hon. J. Bryant McGill, Deputy Minister for Youth Development, Ministry of Youth and Sports. It provided an opportunity for deeper understanding of Liberia’s biodiversity, conservation initiatives, challenges in the forestry and environmental sectors, and the important impact youth can make on environmental protection and biodiversity conservation. During the two-day event, youth acquired skills and knowledge through workshop sessions on sustainable agriculture, wildlife protection, One Health, and community engagement. In addition, partnerships were established among youth organizations, conservation experts, and stakeholders to support ongoing collaborative efforts and drive positive change at local and national levels. Participants were also encouraged to make commitments towards sustainable practices and conservation actions in their own communities.

As the youth population increases in Liberia and the need to sustainably manage natural resources becomes more and more critical every day, it is clear that the country’s younger generation has a vital role to play in protecting the environment,  including water, plants, trees, wildlife, and the climate.

Madam Banica Elliott, President of FLY, thanked USAID Conversation Works for affording young people the opportunity to gather and discuss biodiversity conservation challenges with experts. She further appealed to USAID Conservation Works to embark on more awareness engagements, training, and financial assistance to environmental students, which she said, “Will help enhance more youthful involvement in biodiversity conservation and sustainable natural resource management activities.”

FLY Participants

The conference was both a gathering of minds and a call to action for Liberia’s youth to take the lead in the preservation of the nation’s iconic biodiversity and promote sustainable practices and development. Through knowledge sharing, capacity building, and collaboration, it is hoped these types of interactive workshops will create lasting impacts on Liberia’s environmental landscape, inspiring a new generation of environmental leaders committed to protecting Liberia’s natural heritage for the benefit of current and future generations.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Jim Desmond, Chief of Party of the Conservation Works, said, “It is important for us to collaborate with the FLY and people like all of you to stress the importance of preserving Liberia’s heritage for your futures. We hope you will also hold your leaders accountable for the enforcement of existing policies to protect your national resources and wildlife”.

At the conclusion of the National Youth Conference, a collective call to action by the participants was the “Bella Casa Resolution”, which calls for tangible steps toward environmental advocacy, education, and policy engagements for the protection of Liberia’s forests and wildlife.

About Conservations Works

Conservation Works, funded by the United States Agency for International Development, is a five-year program promoting biodiversity conservation and enhancing economic prosperity in Liberia through a One Health approach.

Conservation Works protects threatened and endangered species, strengthens the management of protected areas, supports communities in becoming less reliant on unsustainable forest resources through livelihood opportunities, and promotes strong partnerships with local communities, the Liberian government, the private sector, and local, regional, and international conservation stakeholders.

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