Listen to the latest installment of our Radio Program Development Talk. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf stated that some NGOs have acted as "Super-national Bodies" that are undermining the sovereignty of the State. Several NGOs, particularly those that work in Land Rights and natural resources, feel that these statements are a politically opportune attacks that may make the relationship between government and civil society more tenuous and even hostile.
A number of weeks ago, there was a mass demonstration at the China Union concession by members of the Bong Mines community, as well as students from the area attending university in Monrovia. The demonstration became quite heated, with insults and physical abuse directed towards the Minister of Internal Affairs, Rep. Korpu Barclay, and the district commissioner. The demonstrators blocked the entrance to the China Union mine, stating that they refused to allow iron ore shipments to leave the area until the company fulfilled its social obligations.
Development Talk is the Sustainable Development Institute’s new radio program that aims to provide a platform for debate on development issues confronting Liberia and Liberians. Focusing on how decisions are made about natural resources and how those decisions impact on Liberians’ development aspirations, the program aims to sensitize the population and stimulate informed public debates on development challenges across the country.
A call for urgent action in support of Liberian farmers producing food for Liberia
On September 12th 2013 Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor presented to the Liberian House of Representatives on the ‘National Oil Company (NOCAL) Act, 2013’ and the ‘Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act, 2013’ two crucial pieces of legislation which could be passed without any public consultation.
Liberia’s government has opened vast forest areas up to corporate interests. Poor people are bearing the brunt. Weak governance is part of the problem – and so is rich nations’ huge demand for forest resources.
In recent weeks Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) has been the subject of a campaign of misinformation in the press and through public statements made by Mr. Walter Wisner, Vice Chairman of the Land Commission of Liberia. On August 5, SDI issued a statement directly responding to this campaign of misinformation and to clarify some key points related to its advocacy and purpose as an organisation.
Recently, the G8 convened to discuss the most pressing issues facing the global economy. On the agenda yet again was Africa’s state of underdevelopment and poverty, with a particular focus on the critical role of agriculture in feeding the continent's people and boosting economic growth. The initiative under discussion, spearheaded by President Barack Obama's administration, is called the “New Alliance,” and it threatens to accelerate the transfer of resource ownership from rural Africans to multinational corporations while failing to meaningfully improve their lives.
Liberia is a test bed for many of the issues faced by governments across Africa. Although a small country, its choices matter. Recovering from more than a decade of civil war, Liberia has begun a process of major land tenure reform. At the same time, the government aims to revive its economy by expanding commercial resource extraction and large scale agricultural concessions, including to Malaysian palm oil company Sime Darby. If not managed carefully, there is a high risk that these two trajectories will result in conflict.
Speakers will include: