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Liberia : Indicators

2012 > 20 Key Indicators 2012

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Freedom of Information Legislation

The Freedom of Information Act was signed into law in 2010 and is publicly available, but progress towards its implementation has been slow. The Independent Information Commissioner was nominated by the President in May 2012, but at the time of this assessment had not yet been confirmed by the Liberian Senate as required in Chapter 5 of the law. Read more...

National Forest Policy

The National Forest Policy in 2006 sets out to address immediate rehabilitation and 10 year medium term needs of the nation, and is primarily focused on deriving macro-economic benefits from the forestry sector. As a part of the Government Poverty Reduction Strategy II development process, forest sector stakeholders in June 2012 concluded a roadmap which will inform possible review of the policy. Read more...

Codified Forest Law and Supporting Norms

The National Forestry Reform Law 2006, Ten Core Regulations 2007 and Community Rights Law 2009 provide the foundation for forest sector management. An important step forward in 2012 was the approval of the Chain Saw Milling regulation, which aims to support rural livelihoods and mitigate negative environmental impacts. Nonetheless, there are gaps and inconsistencies in the legal and regulatory framework, which most notably have been exploited to grant Private Use Permits. Read more...

Signed VPAs and Other Agreements on Forest Products

Liberia and the European Union initialled a Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) in May 2011. The European Union Parliament ratified the Agreement in April 2012 and the Liberian Government was expected to do so. The VPA has the potential to strengthen governance, reduce corruption and combat illegal logging, but will depend on how effectively it is implemented. Read more...

Provisions for Transparency in Forest Laws and Norms

Sections of the National Forest Reform Law 2006, Chain of Custody regulation 2007 and Community Rights Law include requirements for public information and transparency. These provisions are reinforced by the Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union, which in Annex IX specifies information to be routinely published or provided on request under the Freedom of Information Act. In practice, access to key documents and data is limited. Read more...

Recognition of Customary Rights in Forest Laws and Norms

The Constitution broadly recognises customary and traditional rights, and the definition of customary land in the Community Rights Law (CRL) with Respect to Forest Lands 2009 implies that control of this land is determined by historic right. However, the CRL regulations approved in 2011 do not reflect the intent of the law and there are several challenges relating to how the government limits the ability of community to exercise their customary rights. Read more...

Formal Procedures for Consultation on New Forest Norms

The National Forest Reform Law and Regulation 101-07 on public participation in promulgation of regulations, codes and manuals set out procedures for public consultation, which have been held on newly approved laws and regulations, for example on Benefit Sharing and the Community Rights Law. Read more...

Legal Right to Free Prior and Informed Consent

Regulation 102 on Forest Land Use Planning requires that in order to undertake commercial use on customarily held forest land, a Community Forestry Development Committee (CFDC) must grant free, prior and informed consent. Regulation 104 on Major Forest Use Permits also requires that a CFDC gives free, prior and informed consent to negotiate a social agreement. Read more...

National Land Tenure Policy

There are long-standing issues over land tenure that remain unresolved and no current document sets out the national policy, but the Land Commission has been established to coordinate reforms. Over 2012 it made progress towards producing a policy to address different categories of land rights, including recognition of customary rights, which has the potential to develop a system for equitable access to land and secure tenure. Read more...

Consultation before Commercial Logging Allocation

Part Two Section 22 of Regulation 104 clearly states that “Before seeking a Certificate for Concession with respect to an area, the Authority shall conduct preliminary consultations with Affected Communities”, but in practice this process has been characterised by poor facilitation and documentation. Read more...

Regulation of Environmental Services

There is neither applicable legislation nor policies for environmental services. The government has established a National Climate Change Steering Committee to develop a policy on climate change, but to date it has not yet produced one. Read more...

Strategic Environmental Assessment

The Government has not established a formal process for evaluating environmental impacts and determining future priorities. In recent years, concessions and permits for forestry, mining, agriculture and other land uses have been granted with little apparent regard for the environment and communities; notably it came to light in 2012 that Private Use Permits had been agreed on over two million hectares without any strategic oversight of this major change in land use. Read more...

Forest Ownership and Resource Use Maps

Maps for Forest Management Contracts and Timber Sales Contracts are available in contract documents, and the Forestry Development Authority has produced maps of these concessions and protected areas, which are made available to the public on request. There are no maps that show current forest ownership. Only some Private Use Permits (PUPs) with maps have been made publicly available, but in 2012 it became apparent that there was no map showing the full extent of agreed PUPs for timber extraction. Read more...

Legal Documents for Commercial Logging Operations

The forestry law and regulations and the Public Procurement and Concession Act require transparent processes for allocating forest use permits, including publication of the final contract. Documents for most Forest Management Contracts and Timber Sales Contracts are publicly available, but documents for only a subset of Private Use Permits were released in 2012 and information about these permits has been grossly inadequate. Read more...

Reports on the Verification Process of Eligibility of Commercial Operators

Public procurement and forestry law include requirements for verification of applicants, but not all of the due diligence reports conducted on companies awarded timber concessions have been made public. However, they can be obtained from the Forestry Development Authority on request as these reports are listed as documents that should be available to the public. No formal due diligence procedures have applied to the agreement of Private Use Permits, which represents a major gap in forest sector management. Read more...

Forest Management Plans

The forestry law requires that concession holders should not be issued a harvesting certificate until the holder has an approved forest management plan. In practice, these plans have typically not been published on the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) website or made available to local communities. However, the Info Shop for the FDA in Monrovia had copies for two of the existing seven Forest Management Contracts, which represented a small step forward in public information. Read more...

Reports from Independent Forest Monitoring

Regulation 108-07 on Chain of Custody states that the Forest Development Authority will move over time toward a formal system of Independent Forest Monitoring. There has been little progress in establishing this body, but the Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union includes scope for civil society monitoring and over 2011 and 2012 several Liberian NGOs have received funding to participate in capacity-building and monitoring work. Read more...

Data on the Distribution of Forestry Royalties and Incentives

The National Forest Reform Law set out the entitlement of affected communities to a proportion of taxes and fees from logging operations, and data on their collection and distribution is circulated in monthly updates from the chain of custody contractor Société Générale de Surveillance. The National Benefit Sharing Trust regulations approved in 2011 set out the responsibilities of the Trust Board in managing the distribution and ensuring that affected communities benefit, but to date it has not commenced this work. Read more...

Information on Forest Law Infractions

There is no official or systematic publication of infractions, even though publishing a list of infractors and progress on penalties is a requirement of the National Forest Reform Law 2006. The Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the European Union is expected to improve law compliance, but this will depend on how effectively it is implemented Read more...

Annual Forest Authority Report

The National Forest Reform Law, Section 20.11, sets out the requirement for the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) to produce an annual report. Only a draft 2008 report is available on the FDA website, but in 2012 it provided hard copies of 2009, 2010 and 2011 reports to the Sustainable Development Institute. This is an improvement, but the reports are still only summaries with little detail on forest activities. Read more...
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