With around 4.3 million hectares of lowland tropical forest, Liberia is the most forested country in West Africa. Liberia’s forestry sector contributes significantly to the national economy. Moreover, about one-third of the population lives in forested areas, many of whom depend on forests for their livelihoods. The government has developed a legal framework, which recognises customary rights of local communities to access and manage forests. Crucial in this has been the Community Rights Law of 2009.
At the beginning of this century the Government of Uganda established oil palm plantations on the island of Kalangala, in Lake Victoria. This caused many problems to local communities. In the case of new oil palm plantations to be set up in Buvuma, the question is whether these negative impacts can be avoided.
Over the last couple of decades, governments all over the world introduced forest tenure reforms. A key element of these reforms is to grant forest rights to local communities and indigenous peoples, which is expected to contribute to local development objectives as well as conservation. So far, however, the outcomes have been mixed.
Earlier this year, three communities in the Tshopo province of DR Congo received forest concession titles. The government and NGOs believe that these will help decrease deforestation and poverty, but researchers have casted doubts whether these expectations are realistic. Alphonse Maindo, Director of Tropenbos DRC, is cautiously optimistic.
Could a local civil society organisation confront one of the largest oil companies in the world? Alone? Unlikely. Through partnerships? Maybe. Our local partner in Uganda worked with other civil society organisations to organize dialogues with oil companies regarding the impacts and risks of oil activities on people and the environment.
ING has been ignoring abuses in the palm oil sector for years. The Dutch National Contact Point for the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) today declared a complaint from three Friends of the Earth groups (Milieudefensie (Netherlands), SDI (Liberia) and WALHI (Indonesia)) against Dutch bank ING admissible.
A coalition of NGOs filed a notice of civil action against the Government of Ghana stating the plans to exploit the Atewa Range Forest for bauxite are in violation of the right to a safe and healthy environment.
With support from IUCN NL, Vietnam’s Centre for Biodiversity and Development (CBD) has made a record of the enormous wealth of species which live in the Ta Kou reserve. The evidence collected by CBD makes it plain just how extraordinary the park is. Ta Kou’s biodiversity is so great that the reserve has been nominated for national park status.