After decades of industrial logging and forest mismanagement, the Liberian government has pledged that it will now only issue forest licenses to the communities who own the forest. This welcome change could be undermined however, by weaknesses in the country’s laws that govern how community forest licenses are awarded and managed.

Global Witness, an international organization whose aim is to expose links between the demand for natural resources, corruption, armed conflict and environmental destruction, released a report that showed that environment and land rights activists faced heightened risk - there were, across the world, at least 200 activists killed in 2016 alone.

How corruption, mismanagement and political influence is undermining investment in Uganda’s mining sector and threatening people and environment. Uganda is rich in natural resource wealth such as gold, tin and phosphate that could create jobs and support the country’s developing economy by generating tax revenues.

More than three people were killed a week in 2015 defending their land, forests and rivers against destructive industries, according to Global Witness. The organisation’s new report, On Dangerous Ground, documents 185 known deaths worldwide last year – by far the highest annual death toll on record and a 59% increase from 2014.

Each week at least two people are being killed for taking a stand against environmental destruction. Some are shot by police during protests, others gunned down by hired assassins. As companies go in search of new land to exploit, increasingly people are paying the ultimate price for standing in their way.

This new report by major report by Global Witness shows that killings of human rights defenders protecting environmental and land rights increased sharply in the last decade due to the intensification of competition for natural resources. It calls on national governments and the international community to act urgently to protect the environment and the citizens who defend it.

A quarter of Liberia’s total landmass has been granted to logging companies in just two years, following an explosion in the use of secretive and often illegal logging permits, an investigation by Global Witness, Save My Future Foundation (SAMFU) and Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) shows.

This report identifies risks associated with including sustainable forest management (SFM) within the scope of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). It describes how SFM has often become associated with destructive industrial-scale logging that fails to deliver development benefits, and is frequently a pre-cursor to the conversion of forests to other land uses.