Liberia is emerging from a turbulent period in its history. Opinions are divided as to the origins of the civil war that devastated the country, but there is little doubt that the immense differences in wealth and life chances between its urban elite and rural populations played a significant part, as did mismanagement and corruption in Liberia's extractive industries. Prominent among Liberia's extractive industries are iron ore, gold and timber. Liberia still has approximately 4.5 million hectares of forest, covering about 50% of the country's land mass. Liberia hosts about 45% of the remaining rainforest of the West African sub-region.
Liberia’s reconstruction efforts have been focused on rebuilding its shattered infrastructure and reforming the extractive industries to ensure that they contribute to sustainable national development and good governance. As part of the reform, the Government worked with stakeholders to enact the National Forestry Reform Law of 2006, Ten Core Regulations and Community Rights Law; the foundation of the sector’s new legal framework. An Act Establishing Liberia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (LEITI) was enacted in 2009 to reinforce transparency and accountability in the extractive industries in Liberia.
The Sustainable Development Institute is actively engaged with actors in the natural resource sector through the following programs: