About the Liberia Forest Initiative

Background

The Liberia Forest Initiative (LFI) originated in early-2004 as an initiative led by the US State Department to provide coordinated support to the Liberian forestry sector. It engaged a number of US government agencies, including the US Forest Service, US Agency for International Development and the US Treasury Department, as well as non-governmental organisations such as Conservation International and the Environmental Law Institute. Later in 2004 and 2005, several multilateral organisations, including the World Bank, the European Commission (EC), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) joined the initiative, giving the LFI partnership a strong multilateral and multinational character.

Purpose

The purpose of the Liberia Forest Initiative (LFI) is to promote and assist reforms in the Liberian forestry sector that will allow for transparent management of forest resources and to ensure that these resources are used for the benefit of the Liberian people. While LFI aims to work with host country authorities to establish an institutional and financial framework that will correct those negative factors that led to the imposition of UN Security Council sanctions, the LFI does not have a mandate to ensure that specific actions will lead directly to the removal of sanctions. Ultimately, the success of the LFI will depend on the political will of host-country authorities to engage in a transparent and meaningful reform process and it is on that basis that the international community will ultimately determine its future responses. A fundamental element of such a transparent process will include full and ready access to documentation pertaining to the forestry sector.

The LFI is an informal mechanism for coordination of activities in Liberia and the activities and statements of one LFI partner does not imply endorsement of those activities or statements by other LFI partners. However, LFI partners seek to form a common position between partners and with other relevant stakeholders on Liberian forestry issues.

Structure

LFI support to Liberian forestry sector reform is organised around three main themes: commercial forestry; community forestry and conservation. In addition, the LFI works on cross-cutting issues, such as: governance and the rule of law; transparency and information management; policy development; legislation; capacity building; and security.

LFI activities are coordinated through the exchange of e-mails and regular steering group meetings, which occur about once a month. The LFI steering group meets in Washington or Monrovia, with other LFI partners connected via telephone. In addition to this, the LFI works actively with the authorities in Liberia and other Liberian stakeholders through the staff members of LFI partners based in Monrovia.