Earlier this month International Alert conducted a three-day workshop on peaceful natural resource management in Liberia.
The workshop was part of our ongoing efforts to promote sustainable economic development in the country – a key theme of the government’s ‘Liberia Rising 2030’ plan.
Liberia is still recovering from the effects of 15 years of civil war, which ended in 2003. The misallocation of natural resource revenues was one of the primary drivers of the conflict. Although widespread violence has now ended in the country, domestic tensions and the risk of violence are on the rise, particularly surrounding palm oil plantations and iron mines.
This has exposed a number of underlying issues, including: the continued marginalisation of vulnerable groups from economic and development opportunities; and ongoing resentment and growing inequality between the political and economic elite and rural indigenous groups, which is intertwined with ethnic tensions and disputes over land ownership.
Our workshop took place in Tubmanburg, Bomi county, which has been widely affected by large-scale palm oil and iron ore extraction. We brought together 20 community facilitators and three representatives from community-based organisations from three areas in Bomi to learn how they can contribute to the peaceful management of natural resources.
The event was the first part of a four-month project aimed at helping local communities better engage on issues of natural resource governance in the country. The project will provide support on developing effective peacebuilding strategies, engaging with relevant actors and advocating for improved natural resource governance. It will also offer a platform for communities to better engage on the topic.
The workshop was held on 1-3 February and was conducted by Zahed Yousuf, a Senior Programme Officer in our Economy and Peacebuilding team, and Michael Doe, our Liberia Programme Manager.