Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor

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Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor "exposed evidence that Liberia President Charles Taylor used the profits of unchecked, rampant logging to pay the costs of a brutal 14-year civil war that left 150,000 people dead. At great personal risk, Siakor collected extremely hard-to-get evidence of falsified logging records, illegal logging practices and associated human rights abuses. He passed the evidence to the United Nations Security Council, which then banned the export of Liberian timber, part of wider trade sanctions that remain in place today...

"Since Taylor was ousted in 2003, Siakor has been working with Liberia’s new leadership to create sustainable timber policies and give the local forest communities a voice through the first Forest People’s Congress, which he organized. He also is working with the $4 million Liberian Forest Initiative led by the U.S. State Department and the National Forest Service to support Liberia’s forest reform efforts...

"Siakor, the director of the Sustainable Development Institute, is coordinating civil society's participation in the forest sector reform, as mandated by the U.N. Security Council. Siakor organizes workshops and written proposals that outline forest sector reform priorities, emphasizing transparency, civil society input and sustainable forest management. His work led the interim government to protect 3.7 million acres of forest.

"Despite his outstanding achievements to date, Siakor is still fighting powerful forces that want to tap into Liberia’s forests as a source of income. The U.N. Security Council is under intense pressure from China, the new Liberian government and others to lift the timber sanctions." [1]

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  1. Silas Kpanan’Ayoung Siakor, Goldman Prize, accessed October 5, 2008.