Liberia is home to globally significant forests and most of its people depend on them for their livelihoods. But the restarting of large-scale timber extraction in the country has proven disastrous for local people, the environment, and efforts to strengthen governance. The sector has resoundingly failed to generate the expected revenues, jobs and local benefits, while foreign-backed logging companies have routinely ignored reforms and broken laws in collusion with government officials. Recent actions by the President and her government to address these failures provide a brief window of opportunity to bring about profound and lasting positive change for Liberia’s forests, the communities that depend on them, and the wider economy.
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Global Witness welcomes Liberian President’s strong action to tackle illegal logging and urges government to sanction companies and officials responsiblePresident Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s 4 January Executive Order expanding a moratorium on logging under Private Use Permits is a welcome move towards restoring the rule of law in Liberia’s forest sector. The Order also establishes that those found to be responsible for the widespread illegality and abuses associated with these permits will be subject to criminal prosecution.