Liberia is facing a new era. After 14 years of civil war, the county is now at peace and in a position to build upon its abundant natural wealth to recover, grow and look to the future.
For over a century, successive governments have plundered and mismanaged Liberia’s natural resources. Gold and diamond exports, and the iron ore boom of the 1960s and 70s accrued hundreds of millions of dollars for the State. In the 1980s-90s, various military dictators ruled Liberia and funded their regimes by exporting tropical wood. Timber accounted for half of Liberia’s national exports and funded a quarter of its national budget.
When a link was found between exports and conflict, the UN imposed trade sanctions on the export of diamonds, arms and timber. Liberia’s natural wealth was destroying the country, by financing the militia and fuelling war in the region.
In 2003, with a new democratic government in power, came a new set of laws to protect the Liberian environment – including the foundation of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Mrs Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf became Liberia’s president on 16th January 2006 and a new Cabinet was installed. International agencies have agreed to assist the new Government with recovery from war, including supporting the connection between good environmental governance and peace.
The EPA is now in a position to formulate a set of environmental policies to effectively monitor and manage Liberia’s environment and to protect its precious natural treasures.