SGS to pioneer timber verification in Liberia
SGS declared official bid winner for a nationwide timber verification contract in Liberia aiming at ensuring that forest resources contribute to national growth in the framework of the law.
As a result of a successful international bidding process, SGS has been declared official bid winner by the Government of Liberia and has been invited to negotiate a contract. Under the project, a comprehensive timber verification program will be implemented, contributing to the national reconstruction effort and the conservation of critical ecosystems damaged by 14 years of civil war.
The impact of the war on Liberia’s capacity for sustainable development has been devastating. Violence, forced human displacements, and destructions of infrastructures have left a legacy of suffering for the Liberian population. Poorly managed and overexploited natural resources have fuelled the conflict. As timber was cut down to finance the war, logging roads where cut deeper in the forest. Now that peace is restored, the forest industry has the potential to create thousands of jobs. Still, logging operations need to be closely monitored.
With 30% forest cover, Liberia boasts two of the few dense forest areas remaining in West Africa. Liberia’s fauna and flora is exceptionally diverse, with high rates of biodiversity for specific species that are nearly extinct outside of the country. Urgent action is needed to safeguard Liberia forest assets.
Under a strategic partnership with the Government of Liberia (Forestry Development Authority), and with the support of the US Government (US Forest Service, Dept. of Agriculture), the system proposed by the SGS Forestry Monitoring Programme is designed to revolutionize the forest sector, bringing much needed transparency and accountability. Based on the new forest law, the system will use state-of-the-art tracking technology to monitor log movements, ensuring that logging operations are in line with international best practice, respecting local community rights and the new environmental regulation.
With a potential to represent up to 50% of the GDP, timber exports are vital to the Liberian economy. In association with the Central Bank of Liberia and the Ministry of Finance, SGS will design a computerized application to enhance revenue collection from forest products. The system will allow for a fair contribution of the forest sector to the development of Liberia. Additionally, the promotion of responsible forest management will boost Liberian timber exports on international markets that are increasingly sensitive to environmental issues.
Capacity building towards the new forestry administration is also an essential component of this partnership. SGS will provide specific training to the Forestry Development Authority ensuring that the capacity to manage efficiently the national timber tracking system is built up in the long term.
Engaging with all stakeholders of the forest sector in Liberia will be crucial to the success of this initiative. SGS is committed to establishing a constructive dialogue with the local communities, logging companies and members of the civil society. The objective of this inclusive approach will be to facilitate discussions and foster mutual understanding between forest-user groups in a country that has been torn apart by natural resource-financed conflicts.
SGS is proud to be one of the first multinationals to invest in Liberia since peace has been re-established. We perceive our partnership with the Government of Liberia as a direct contribution to the recovery of the country, helping the Liberian people to manage the future of their forests in a more sustainable way.
For further information on this program please visit www.sgs.com/forestry-monitoring .