• 2014 / 5 / 22

    This report examines the relationship between residents of Fuamah District in Bong County and China Union, a major international investor in Liberia's iron ore sector. It highlights China Union's slowness in adhering to terms of its MDA, it's strained relationship with the community, and allegations of worker abuse. The report also examines the political context in the district, misuse of the social development fund, and the events that gave rise to the deployment of paramilitary police troops into the area in Autumn 2013. It includes a series of recommendations by SDI to China Union, the government of the Republic of Liberia, the local community, and outside observers.

  • 2014 / 3

    States that have not yet implemented a law designed to combat illegal logging should be penalised, says environmentalist. An award-winning Liberian environmental campaigner has called on the EU to act against 20 member states that have yet to implement a timber regulation to combat illegal logging, a year after it came into force.


  • 2013 / 7 / 9

    SDI's Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor and Ashoka Mukpo discuss how the G8's New Alliance will not address hunger and poverty in Africa instead it will support Western corporations and facilitate landgrabs. It's aim is to open up new markers for agribusiness conglomerates rather than supporting sustainable small scale agriculture. A real committment to agriculture in Africa would ensure the voices or farmers and small scale producers are heard in this debate rather than only powerful vested interests.

  • 2013 / 6 / 24

    This report examines the potential socio-economic and environmental impacts of a proposed large-scale oil palm concession in Bopolu District, Gbarpolu County in Liberia. The research provided an in-depth mapping of current resource use, livelihoods and ecosystems services, in addition to analysis of community consultation and perceptions of the potential impacts of the proposed development.

  • 2013 / 6 / 6

    With help from the SDI team the Telegraph's David Blair investigates how illegal logging threatens to destroy Liberia's rainforest and destroy the livelihoods of forest communities. 58 per cent of Liberia's primary rainforest are controlled by timber companies. The government has granted logging permits – most of them illegal – which cover almost a third of the entire country.

  • 2013 / 6 / 6

    In D+C magazine SDI's Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor discusses the detrimental impact of so-called green technologies such as biofuels and the need for a just energy transition. He argues that using vast strips of land for growing palms has serious consequences. Speaking at the Bonn International Centre for Conversion (BICC) in late April, he pointed out that forests are cut down and small farmers are forced to relocate to make place for big monocultures. “This is not just about new technologies. As a global community, we have to talk about how we are going to make the change from one lifestyle to another" he added.

  • 2013 / 6

    This briefing by Global Witness explores how the Liberian government’s failure to enforce its forest laws is encouraging logging companies to find new ways to bypass rules to gain access to the country’s rainforests and exploit local communities/

  • 2013 / 5 / 29

    Wade C. L. Williams visits Equatorial Palm Oil plantation to investigate affected communities' experiences. SDI's Nora Bowier discusses the impact of palm oil plantations on communities in Liberia: “If the government is taking vast amounts of land from rural people and granting them to multinationals without ensuring or providing better livelihood alternatives, it is like taking away these people’s rights to live and increasing their poverty conditions.”

  • 2013 / 5 / 9

    The land crisis between the cooper Family and residents of the ELWA community has hit boiling point and many fear if not handled carefully might degenerate into a crisis. SDI's Ali Kaba comments “If you move these people, giving rights to an individual against an assumed rights by those that are on the land. The danger is this could then question many other lands in the country where people have settled for generations.”

  • 2013 / 5

    SDI's Silas Siakor discusses the social and environmental impacts of landgrabbing by palm oil companies in Liberia. This podcast is part of a series produced by Firoze Manji for EJOLT, in collaboration with EJOLT partner CCS. All podcasts are aired on his programme AfrobeatRadio, broadcast by WBAI in the US to around 500,000 listeners.

  • 2013 / 5

    In part two of this podcast SDI's Silas Siakor continues to discuss the social and environmental impacts of landgrabbing by palm oil companies in Liberia. This podcast is part of a series produced by Firoze Manji for EJOLT, in collaboration with EJOLT partner CCS. All podcasts are aired on his programme AfrobeatRadio, broadcast by WBAI in the US to around 500,000 listeners.

  • 2013 / 4 / 5

    Despite poor performance or being implicated in corruption scandals, many ministers survived President Johnson Sirleaf's recent cabinet reshuffle. SDI's Silas Siakor comments “The cabinet reshuffle we saw is a reflection of a deeper problem we have in Liberian society. The president’s reluctance to break ranks with some of her so-called loyalists reinforces the public perception that being a friend of people in the president’s inner circle is the most important requirement for a cabinet post”. Siakor argues that all the ministers named in government audit reports, like Chenoweth, should be under investigation. “When the president speaks of a commitment to fighting corruption while keeping high profile suspects in the cabinet – to me that is a contradiction.”

  • 2013 / 4

    The Global Witness report identifies a largely hidden pattern of abuse across Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ghana and Liberia, in which permits designed to promote small businesses and meet local needs are being allocated in their hundreds to industrial logging companies. These “shadow permits” open the door to highly lucrative, large-scale logging operations which bypass oversight by the authorities.

  • 2013 / 3 / 28

    Ali D. Kaba Program Coordinator for our Community Land Protection Programme discusses the challenges and contradictions of redistributing power and national wealth for Pambazuka News. Until politicians, economic elites and citizens sincerely address complex and sensitive policy challenges in Liberia, the quest for national development and identity might remain an elusive dream packaged in shiny slogans.

  • 2013 / 3 / 26

    SDI's Ali Kaba and Gaurav Madan from SDI highlight the need for a focus on land rights for women in Liberia's new National Land Rights Policy. Specific provisions need to be included into land policy that will further embolden women’s land claims and help women realise the benefits of progress. The Land Commission needs to ensure the framework for a more just and equitable land tenure system includes proactively asserting women’s land rights.

  • 2013 / 2 / 7

    This FERN report details how strong forest governance improvements have already been achieved through the EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Action Plan. It also compares voluntary partnership agreements (VPAs) the development of which are part of the EU FLEGT Action Plan.

  • 2013 / 2 / 1

    SDI's Silas Siakor writes for the Guardian on land 'grabs' in Monrovia ahead of the high-level panel meeting which is one of many examples across Africa where the rush for resources is threatening peace. He comments "As the high-level panel guests arrive in Liberia, they would be well served to pay attention to the vacant, rubble-filled lots that they will pass in their motorcades. Perhaps the lots can serve as an example of what must change if the chronic state of underdevelopment in Africa and throughout much of the world is to have any chance of improving after 2015. Unfortunately, these cases are not unique. In rural areas, hundreds of communities have had their land leased to multinational palm oil producers without their consent, with some discovering this only when bulldozers began clearing away the forests that surrounded their towns."

  • 2013 / 1

    This report examines the regional investment trends of organisations investing in Liberian agribusiness, infrastructure, and extractive industries so as to better understand their roles in land acquisition as related to deforestation and human rights.