Details

  • Service: Advisory
  • Type: KPMG information
  • Date: 12/19/2013

11 community organisations supported to manage local natural resources  

In Liberia, eleven community organisations representing 172,000 people have been established and supported to participate in the management of forest resources, including royalty income from logging activities in affected communities. To date, at least US$207,000 in royalties has been received by these groups.

 

A revised legal framework that includes strong provisions on benefit sharing and redistribution of royalties to communities has made this possible. Steps have been taken towards a more fundamental shift to direct community management of forests: a community rights law for forest lands has been drafted (and passed), including provisions for 55% of forest revenues to accrue to communities rather than the 30% under the existing concessions system.

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Context and Theory of Change

 

Key elements of context

 

  • The 14-year Liberia civil war was precipitated in part by forests and other natural resources being in the hands of a powerful minority, and utilisation being highly extractive and exploitative. As a result, UN sanctions were placed on timber and other products, and were only lifted after all logging concessions were annulled (in Executive Order No. 1, in 2005) and new, more equitable laws were enacted the following year.
  • Almost all of Liberia’s population of 3.6 million continues to be dependent on forest products for fuel, building materials and food – as people have been for generations – so customary rights to land and forest resources are deeply embedded, but not fully recognised in the written laws.
  • The policy and regulatory context is now relatively positive. The 2006 National Forest Reform Law, included an obligation to pass a “comprehensive law governing community rights with respect to Forest Lands”. The 2007 regulations to implement the forest law laid the ground rules for Community Forestry Development Committees (CFDCs), to represent the interests of communities affected by logging vis‐à‐vis the logging companies and the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).
  • A strong national civil society group working on forests exists in Liberia, in which the NGO the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) has been instrumental in national policy change and has links to communities. Global Witness (GW) has had a strong relationship with SDI for over a decade.