Transparency & accountability in forest governance: making the case for communities in Liberia

Transparency & accountability in forest governance: making the case for communities in Liberia

Liberia - 25 September, 2018

An advocacy strategy that seeks to publicize and promote changes in laws, regulations, contracts and agreements in the forestry sector in Liberia has been developed under the framework of the EU sponsored project “Strengthening the capacity of non-state actors to improve FLEGT-VPA and REDD+ processes in Western Africa”, through the NGO Collation of Liberia (NCL).

The strategy focuses on two key issues: making available final contracts for social agreements; and promoting transparency and accountability in accessing the cubic meters fees as well as repealing the law abolishing the laws suspending the ‘bid premium law’. The two recommendations have been advanced by the NCL core team after reviewing briefing papers published by the Civil Society Independent Forest Monitors (CS-IFM).

These points were derived at after reviewing 15 briefing papers published by the CS-IFM on illegality, particularly on noncompliance to social agreements and loyalties covering the period 2014-2017.

Why the 2 advocacy strategies?

Since its inception and after creating awareness and education on forest laws and regulations, the EU sponsored NSA project has been overwhelmed by complaints from community forest structures about their lack of knowledge on contracts relating to social agreements signed between the community leaders and the contractors. Some have complained of not accessing final copies of the social agreements.

This was observed as significantly undermining transparency and accountability, which denies communities their just benefits from the forests.

Hence, making final copy of social agreement and payment of cubic meter fees public will increase community chances to benefit from their forests. It further enables communities to demand their required benefits.

Additionally, this will minimize tension, put contract holders’ under pressure to deliver on social agreements, as well as mitigate challenges, help community members take ownership of the social agreements and ends flagrant disregard to the payment of cubic meter fees.

What Government Stands To Benefit?

The advocacy strategy is expected to have positive impact on national government, in that, communities will now have legal reliance to follow up on the implementation of social agreements following improvement in the laws and regulations. Also, millions of dollars will be paid in tax by loggers when the bid premium law is repealed and enforced.

The advocacy strategy was developed under the framework of the project Strengthening the capacity of non-state actors to improve FLEGT-VPA and REDD+ processes in Western Africa financed by the European Union and implemented by Tropenbos International and VOSIEDA in Liberia.
 

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