Greater participation of women for improved forest management in Liberia

An article published in Front Page Africa describes the progress made by Liberia towards good forest governance since the end of the 14-year civil war, highlighting the ‘gradual rise’ of women’s participation in the forest sector. The writer outlines the benefits of greater participation of women in decision-making processes related to forests.

People gathered at a Siahn clan meeting in River Cess, Liberia by Tim Lewis, Handcrafted Films

The article focuses on community forest development committees, which are to receive a share of the land rental fees that the logging companies pay to harvest the forest in Liberia. It tells the story of the growing role women are taking within community forest development committees across the country. The writer notes positive developments after the 2006 inauguration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa's first elected female Head of State. These include the signing of a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union in 2013 and a US$150 million deal signed with Norway to stop deforestation. However, it is noted that that these welcome developments have ‘unfortunately, been marred by other transgressions.’

To improve forest governance, the article identifies increased participation of women in forest committees as an effective means of controlling illegal forest practices, and the VPA as having already ‘worked to ensure that women take part in community forest development committees.’

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