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Environment and Natural Resources Security

We empower communities to protect  nature that everyone depends on  for livelihoods, fresh water and clean air.

We believe the welfare of human societies in West Africa are deeply linked to nature — to the existence of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and when plants and animals are lost, communities get impoverished.  VOSIEDA works to secure  futures for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through research, stakeholders’ engagement, field projects, advocacy and creative media, with a focus on protecting tropical forest, lands, biodiversity, waters and climate that species need to survive.

We want the next generations to inherit a West Africa sub-region where nature is still alive. If you share this vision, Join Us.

The

Every day we depend on the environment and biodiversity to keep us alive and healthy. Our food systems, nutrition, health, clean air, climate, and freshwater depend on biodiversity and healthy ecosystems—an interdependent web of animal, plant, fungal and bacterial life.

Despite important ecosystem services that nature provide, the Mano River Basin of West Africa suffers some of Africa’s serious environmental problems. These include deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution, desertification, wetland degradation, unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, etc. Moreover, wealth from the subregion’s abundant natural resources is too often diverted away from the populations in need into the hands of too few powerful and corrupt individuals. This is fueling human rights abuses, environmental damage, inequality, bitterness, mistrust, alienation, corruption, conflicts and instability.

Our

First, we are working with local communities,  governments, businesses and  organizations to research and carryout field projects;  and multi-stakeholder dialogues aim to protect valuable natural resources and places that we cannot afford to lose such as our forest, biodiversity and critical ecosystems.

Second, we are undertaking series of education and advocacy programs aim to inspire, inform, and enable local stakeholders protect nature for future generations.

Third, we are increasing the effectiveness of law enforcement and citizens’ demands for accountability in natural resources management through different field projects.

What VOSIEDA from others?

What distinguishes VOSIEDA’s environmental program is the combination of what and  how we protect  as well as  our commitment to helping local communities  adopt  more sustainable approaches to development in manner that considers and values nature. We work to solve some of the most critical environmental problems facing West Africa: forest, biodiversity, climate change, resources extractions, community & resources management,  oceans and fresh water,  and  renewable energy.

Since these topics are entwined, our solutions take a multidisciplinary approaches. We work in concert with other civil society organizations, businesses, governments and communities at both national and grassroot levels. We avoid competition and duplication of work already being done effectively by others.

Our

Even though we design and use a wide range of environmental problem-solving tools, we also integrate governance perspective to our work. We believe good governance is the best tool we must use to protect the environment, but it must work properly. Corporate influence in West African politics are getting in the way of progress. These corporations, most of whom are based in Europe, United States, China, are other developed parts of the world, are getting what they want because they’re working together. Our innovation is the integration of technology and democracy in our fight for the creation of environmental solutions that make a lasting difference.

Our Priority Areas of

Deforestation continues at an alarming rate in West Africa’s Mano River Basin region.

VOSIEDA’s forest program focus on the preservation of West Africa’s tropical rain forests through economically and environmentally sustainable land management, and maintenance and enhancement of natural ecosystems within landscapes. We also actively engage stakeholders at different scales, including vulnerable groups, in planning and decision making regarding land use, restoration goals and strategies,  benefit sharing, monitoring and review processes of forest and landscape governance in Liberia and the Mano River Basin region of West Africa.

Biodiversity is the variety of life on the planet and are extremely essential for our economy and for our well-being. Nevertheless, increasing greater pressure on precious and fragile natural resource means that West Africa is at a turning point, where we risk losing many of the vital services we depend upon. In response, VOSIEDA is working to halt biodiversity loss and restore ecosystem services. Among many things, we increase communities and stakeholder’s awareness and involvement biodiversity conservation; enhance contribution of agriculture and forestry to biodiversity and ensure the sustainable use of fisheries resources.

Climate change is one of the most defining and threatening issues in West Africa, with far-reaching impacts in local communities in the Mano River Basin region. VOSIEDA is addressing climate change by strengthening resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in local communities, while improving education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning in the region.

The well-being of people all, especially in West Africa depends on the various goods and services healthy ecosystems continue to provide. Some of these include food, fuel, building materials, clean water and air, and protection from natural hazards. Nevertheless, ecosystems are under increasing pressure from unsustainable use and other threats including outright conversion. In response, VOSIEDA is promoting sound management of ecosystems through the wider application of the Ecosystem Approach – a strategy for the integrated management of land, water and living resources that places human needs at its center, through the ecosystem management and ecosystem based adaptation.

In West Africa, natural resources are the foundation from which rural poor people can overcome poverty.  However, human impacts on biodiversity are increasingly severe. Forest, savannah and coastal ecosystems are being rapidly degraded, along with protected areas, national parks, game reserves and forests. The threats to these areas of high global value come from uncontrolled clearing for agriculture, hunting, poaching, logging, grazing, and fuelwood extraction. Most governments in the Mano River Basin Region have neither the resources nor the effective institutions needed to implement environmental regulations deterring unsustainable exploitation. VOSIEDA is working to implement Community-based natural resource management by creating an environment where people in communal areas are actively manage their ecosystems.  The opportunity to derive benefits from their natural environment provides a strong incentive for conservancies to protect and safeguard their environment.

Oceans and rivers feed us, regulate our climate, and serve as the foundation for much of the local economy in West Africa. Despite their importance, oceans and rivers are facing unprecedented threats as a result of human activity. VOSIEDA is tackling these challenges head-on. We work with governments, businesses, universities and civil society groups to promote the protection and sustainable management of our precious marine and coastal environments. In doing so, we support the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly Goal 14, Life Below Water.

Energy drives economies and sustains societies. The production and use of energy are also the biggest contributors to global warming.

In West Africa, approximately 60% of population still lack access to electricity and rely on dirty fuels like wood, charcoal, palm oil and animal waste for cooking and heating. This significantly limits their development opportunities. Moreover, millions of people die prematurely in West Africa from illnesses attributable to household air pollution from inefficient cooking practices. In response, VOSIEDA is expanding access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services.

Reversing environmental degradation and protecting tropical forest in Liberia and West Africa
Globally, each year approximately 12 million hectares of forest are destroyed, according the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). This deforestation, together with agriculture and other land use changes, is responsible for roughly 25 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Deforestation and land degradation also undermine efforts to build resilience to climate impacts and threaten forest dwelling communities. Our programs are working to reverse environmental degradation and protect tropical forest in Liberia and West Africa.
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