Skip to content

Norway Agrees to Pay Liberia $150 Million to End Deforestation by 2020

September 29, 2014

In return for $150 million in development aid from Norway, Liberia has agreed to stop cutting down its trees by 2020. The agreement was one of the most significant to come out of the UN Climate Summit, which took place in New York earlier this month.

“This partnership holds promise not only for the forest and climate; but for forest communities that have been marginalized for generations,” said 2006 Goldman Prize winner from Liberia, Silas Siakor.

The BBC article, “Liberia signs ‘transformational’ deal to stem deforestation,” cites the Ebola crisis as one of the main reasons Liberia was targeted for the deal, amid fears that the already poor country would ramp up illegal logging for desperately needed cash.

The article also highlights the connection between deforestation and the spread of Ebola: “Some researchers have connected the current outbreak of Ebola with the widespread destruction of the forests, bringing people into contact with natural reservoirs of the virus.”

In early September, Siakor, a longtime anti-deforestation activist, co-authored an op-ed article for the New York Times, in which he acknowledged the severe secondary problems stemming from the Ebola outbreak and appealed to world leaders to take urgent action:

“The problems facing the country go beyond the virus itself: Liberia must now also manage an array of secondary crises that have metastasized in the wake of the Ebola outbreak. As medical facilities close due to fears of contamination, many people have become ill or have died from easily preventable and treatable diseases like malaria and diarrhea. The country imports at least half of its staple consumables; the suspension of many international flights to Liberia has only increased food insecurity. With prices rising and basic provisions dwindling fast, an uptick in refugees trying to escape across borders is inevitable.”

According to the agreement between Norway and Liberia, no new logging concessions shall be granted until all current ones are reviewed by an independent body, and 30% of Liberia’s forests must be granted protected status by 2020. The Norwegian funds will assist with capacity building to train Liberian communities to monitor forests, an activity for which they will receive direct payment.

“The partnership’s commitment to respecting and protecting community’s rights with respect to forests is laudable,” Siakor said.

Related Posts

Prize Winners Today: How Makoma Lekalakala is Shaping South Africa's Clean Energy Transition

October 4, 2022 – By Ellen Lomonico

Meeting Environmental Justice Leader, Makoma Lekalakala Dressed in vibrant colors and a traditional VhaVenda headscarf, Makoma Lekalakala is a striking figure, even on a pixelated computer screen. It was nighttime in South Africa; Makoma joined our call having recently flown into Durban. “I go where the people are,” she shared. Sometimes that means Johannesburg, sometimes…

Read more

Indigenous Communities: Protectors of our Forests

August 8, 2022 – By Jacqueline Kehoe

It has now become widely understood in environmental circles that Indigenous groups around the world are often the best stewards of land conservation because of their longstanding cultural, spiritual, and physical connections to their territories. August 9, is UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, a day that recognizes the unique role of Indigenous…

Read more

The Legacy of Wangari Maathai

December 1, 2021

Among the most prominent environmental activists of the last century is the late Professor Wangari Maathai, who founded the Green Belt Movement and inspired hundreds of thousands of people around the world to push for environmental progress. In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of her 1991 Goldman Prize win—and the 10th anniversary of her passing—we’re…

Read more