Symposium on the Degradation of The Liberian Rainforest
September 24, 2001
The Liberian rainforest, considered as one of the world's last remaining rainforest, has in recent times been subjected to excessive deforestation and pillaging by a plethora of timber and lumber corporations exploiting it. Aside from the environmental concern it has created, it has equally raised political concerns regarding the role timber has played in fueling the crisis in Sierra Leone.
The environmental human rights group, Global Witness, has meticulously documented the important role timber has played in serving as a source of revenue which has been used to purchase arms for the rebel RUF in Sierra Leone. Global Witness is also pushing for timber to be added to the sanctions regime the UN Security Council imposed on Liberia on May 7, 2001, for fostering the war.
But a newly-formed advocacy group, the Liberian Democracy Initiative (LDI), wants to increase public awareness amongst Liberians in the Diaspora, and engage US policy-makers and the Bush Administration in particular, in formulating an effective course of action that would halt the degradation of the environment and the destruction of the Liberian rainforest.
In pursuit of this, the LDI will sponsor a symposium on Friday, September 28, 2001, in Washington, D.C., on the degradation of the environment and the destruction of the Liberian rainforest. According to a press release issued, "the symposium will discuss all aspects including its history, economics, politics, current conditions and actions to be taken, of the degradation of the environment and destruction of the rainforest." The release adds that the symposium "will further demonstrate to the Liberian people and the world that issues affecting Liberia will continue to demand attention and public actions by both Liberians and the International community."
According to LDI's Executive Director, Mr. Timothy Siklo, the symposium will feature speakers with varied experience and background with knowledge of the Liberian forestry sector. Dr. Charles Woefel, a Liberian environmentalist; Mr. John Woods, former Managing Director of the Forest Development Authority (FDA); Ms. Alice Blondel of Global Witness, among others, are slated to make presentations. The group intends to focus much of its work on the Liberian rainforest for the next two years.