Liberia Timber Sanctions: To Lift or Not to Lift? That is the Question

The UN imposed timber sanctions on Liberia in 2003 because ‘blood timber’ was funding civil war. Lifting sanctions will be considered by the UN next week - a critical time in terms of ongoing forest sector reforms and advances made by the Liberian Government under President Sirleaf. But have the conditions for the lifting of sanctions been met?

Tree, Cameroon

The UN timber sanctions imposed on Liberia on July 7th 2003 were based on the fact that cash generated by illegal logging activities were being used to fund the civil war. For the sanctions to be removed, the UN required that certain conditions first be met. The democratically elected and sovereign government of Liberia, since the installation of President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in December 2005, has made impressive strides in meeting these conditions and has strongly supported forest sector reforms that will meet UN conditions.

The Liberian NGO Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) has prepared the attached briefing document spelling out some of the challenges, accomplishments and progress toward meaningful reform. The document “ highlights issues and concerns regarding the current state of the natural resource sectors in Liberia ” and “also provides SDI’s position on sanctions and recommendations on a way forward following the mid term review of timber and diamond sanction in June 2006.”

The World Conservation Union (IUCN), working through a collaborative partnership called the Liberian Forest Initiative comprised of international and Liberian government agencies, donors and civil society groups has been contributing to the forest sector reform process.

For more information:

Please contact Stephen Kelleher, Senior Programme Officer, IUCN Forest Conservation Programme. Phone: +41 22 999 0258 or email: [email protected]

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