The Liberia Land Authority and three Liberian NGOs today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to implement the Land Rights Law of 2018. Under the MOU, the LLA and the NGOs will work with 24 communities in 8 counties to bring 2 million acres of land under full community ownership and control.
The MOU, which was signed by the Acting Chairman of the LLA, Attorney J. Adams Manobah, and the Executive Director of the Foundation for Community Initiatives, Mrs. Julie T. B. Weah, will be implemented through a grant of about $2 million United States Dollars over the next 27 months. The other partners in the project are the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) and Parley Liberia. The International Land and Forest Tenure Facility based in Stockholm, Sweden is funding the project.
The Government of Liberia adopted a new Land Law recognizing customary land rights and granting communities the same legal protection as private landowners. Under the new law, communities can now develop their own laws to govern land matters and acquire deed from the government to exercise full ownership and control over their land.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Acting Chairman of the Land Authority said, “We are very excited to be signing this MOU with FCI, SDI, and Parley. We believe it will go a very long way in supporting the Liberia Land Authority to meet key targets for 2019 and 2020.”
The Acting Chairman stressed the need to strengthen the partnership between the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) and civil society organizations (CSOs), especially those partners that understand the role of the LLA and are ready to work collectively in achieving President Weah’s vision on land reform.
He disclosed that President Weah is interested in and committed to the full implementation of the Land Rights Law, which gives customary communities the full bundle of rights over their land – to possess and use the land and non-mineral resources on the land; the right to manage and improve the land by planting crops, building schools, clinics, etc. and the right to transfer.
Atty. Adams said it is important for everyone, including government to know about the Land Rights Law, and for Liberia to move forward depends solely on the land, and there cannot be any development if the customary communities cannot have rights to their lands.
Therefore, it is very important to know that it is the statutory responsibility of the LLA as well as the moral responsibility of all Civil Society Organizations to join in buttressing government’s efforts to successfully bring into fruition the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PADP), Atty. Manobah said.
“We are grateful that the International Land and Forest Tenure Facility made this work possible by providing this grant” he concluded.
He then submitted the MOU to LLA Commissioners Ellen Pratt and Josephus Burgess and the Executive Director, Mr. Stanley Toe, for their individual comments.
On behalf of the NGO partners, Mrs. Julie Weah said “we are thankful to the LLA for the opportunity to work together on this very important project. We believe, that together will do a lot to advance the rights and interests of communities in land across Liberia”.
The project titled “Protection of Customary Collective Community Land Rights in Liberia (P3CL)” will be implemented in 8 counties including Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Bassa, Rivercess, Sinoe, River Gee and Maryland Counties. The Overall Objective of the project is that customary collective community land and natural resource tenure rights in Liberia are recognized, formalized and strengthened. The project will focus on supporting communities to harmonize their boundaries with neighbors, develop community by-laws and acquire deed for their land. The Foundation for Community Initiatives (FCI), Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) and Parley Liberia will work closely with the LLA to implement the project.