Supporting the Development of Liberia's Chain of Custody System

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CHALLENGE
The objective of the national Chain of Custody (CoC) System is to capture the economic potential of the Liberia forest sector and its associated benefits for rural livelihoods and national growth through a comprehensive monitoring system ensuring that wood products and associated revenues are tracked down and accounted for. The CoC allows the tracking of logs harvested in the forestry concessions in Liberia, from the stump to the port. In addition to the tractability of commercial timber, the CoC controls the legality of log export and ensures that all taxes and fees related to the logging concessions are reported and collected.

The CoC is considered a crucial governance and transparency initiative, mandated by law in Liberia, and was a requirement for the lifting of the UN logging ban on Liberia. It provides a foundation for the Liberian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (LEITI) and the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) that has been negotiated and signed with the European Union and is due to be ratified. 

APPROACH
Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS) was hired in October 2007 to build, implement and eventually transfer the CoC system known as LiberFor to the Forestry Development Authority (FDA).

SGS is responsible for the following services:

  • Control logs and wood products from stump to point of export or domestic market, and develop and maintain a computerized CoC information system;
  • Invoice and monitor all forest payments related to log, wood production and trade;
  • Issue timber export permits upon confirmation that the shipment originates from registered harvesting area and all relevant forest payments have been made to the Central Bank of Liberia;
  • Provide training to FDA counterpart staff and other relevant government staff in the Ministry of Finance, Central Banks and Ports Authority.

In addition to providing support for Liberfor in 2010-2011, PROFOR committed to sharing lessons from the development of this chain of custody system on its website.

RESULTS AND NEXT STEPS

  • Between 2009 and end of 2012, almost 370,000 m3 of timber were exported under the CoC sy