A coastal land on the tropical belt of West Africa, Liberia relies heavily on its natural resources. Agricultural commodity production such as rubber, palm oil and timber, together with mining activities for iron ore, gold and diamond make up the backbone of the country’s economy. Its diverse geography is composed of various landscapes including tropical rainforests, mangroves, grasslands and montane ecologies. Crises, including the 14-year civil war that ended in 2003, and the more recent Ebola outbreak have seriously hampered economic development in the country. In the past decade, however, Liberia has seen positive economic growth and agricultural expansion. This has also meant rapid deforestation rates (approximately 400,000 ha of intact forest are said to have been cut down between 2001 and 2013).
Liberia is therefore in an advantaged position to grow its economy, while minimizing environmental harm. This requires addressing both the production of commodities and the protection of forests.
The IDH managed Smallholder Productivity and Forest Protection program together with its main partners aim to achieve these production and protection objectives. Our leading partners are the Liberian Forest Development Authority (FDA), and a number of international concession holding companies in the palm oil and the mining sector. Focus of the initiative is on three landscapes; two landscapes where large scale palm oil concessions have been awarded, and one landscape with presence of a large iron ore concession holder.
Moreover, through its de-risking facility, IDH has introduced what is called Production-Protection Agreements (PPAs), in which the communities, the FDA and the private sector agree to conserve and actively protect a certain amount of forest in exchange for loan finance and technical assistance to increase agricultural productivity in targeted rural communities. The program also supports income diversification and alternative livelihood schemes for communities that join the PPA scheme.
In close collaboration with public and private partners, the program aims to achieve the following in each of the three landscapes in 2016:
February 9 the IDH Forum DRIVING BUSINESS SOLUTIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE LANDSCAPES was held in Amsterdam. Designed as a catalyzer for innovative solutions, over 100 high level representatives from 11 landscapes in Africa, Asia and Latin America built on each others experiences to drive new landscape business solutions. Check out: #IDHforum
Today NORAD (The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation) signed an agreement with IDH to support ISLA in three countries to help delink commodity production from deforestation.
MONROVIA: The Liberian government has announced the first steps in an ambitious plan to work with leading international companies to improve smallholder productivity and livelihoods, while conserving the country’s forests and growing its economy.
There are two kinds of companies: those that sell sustainable products... and those that will...