The Extractive Industry and Human Rights programs aims to empower program staff and communities affected by logging, large scale Agricultural Plantation (Land Grabbing) and other natural resources extraction to actively participate in the management processes of these resources to ensure accountability, transparency, environmental protection, and benefits sharing from revenues generated from such endeavors. The program also works with communities to ensure that benefits received from concessionaires are managed properly to promote community cohesion and development.
Land Rights, Forest and oil Palm in Liberia
While the government of Liberia sees oil palm plantation establishment as a blessing, many Liberians have seen it as a curse and have mobilized to resist the expansion.
In 2010 the government of Liberia signed a 260,000 hectare palm oil concession with Golden Petroleum Liberia, with virtually no consultation with the communities they will affect. These concessions overlap with other concessions, cover natural tropical forest and has directly affected thousands of Liberia’s poorest of the poor.
Many communities are already being affected and more to be affected by palm oil plantation. Most community members do not have either the information or the organizational capacity to understand these impacts or negotiate with GVL as to whether the company can operate on their lands, It is important that communities have a thorough understanding of what is contained within agreements between themselves and the company- memorandum of understanding- and are able to hold the company to account to ensure it meets its obligations and provides the community benefits under the terms of the MOU. It is also important to with communities engaged MOU negotiations to ensure that they fully understand what is contained and are in the position to make an informed decision on whether or not to sign based on their long-term interest. Finally, the need for communities to know about environmental and social impacts of concessions is paramount.