Liberia: Two Million Acres of Land for Community Ownership, Control

-LLA, 3 Liberian NGOs MoU seek

The Liberia Land Authority (LLA) and three Liberian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have agreed to work with 24 communities in eight of the country's 15 counties to bring two million acres of land under full community ownership and control.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on Friday at the LLA's office in Monrovia, which is aimed at implementing the Land Rights Law of 2018. The other NGOs partners are Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) and Parley-Liberia.

The MoU, which was signed by the acting LLA's chairman Attorney J. Adams Manobah, and Julie T. B. Weah, executive director of the Foundation for Community Initiative (FCI), will be implemented through a grant of about US$2 million over the coming years.

According to LLA, the International Land and Forest Tenure Facility based in Stockholm, Sweden is funding the project.

The Liberian government adopted a new Land Rights Law, recognizing customary land rights and granting communities the same legal protection as private landowners.

According to 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.

At the signing ceremony, chairman Manobah expressed gratitude for signing the MoU with FCI, SDI and Parley-Liberia. "We believe that the MoU will go a long way in supporting LLA to meet key targets for 2019/2020," Manobah said.

Mr. Manobah said the LLA was grateful that the International Land and Forest Tenure made the work possible by providing the grant.

Julie T. B. Weah, Foundation for Community Initiative (FCI) executive director, also expressed gratefulness to the LLA for the opportunity to work together on such important project..

"We believe that together we will do a lot to advance the rights and interests of communities across Liberia," Weah said.

Meanwhile, the project titled, "Protection of Customary Collective Community Land Rights in Liberia (P3CL)" will be implemented in Bong, Lofa, Nimba, Grand Bassa, River Cess, Sinoe, River Gee and Maryland counties.

According to LLA, 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.

Additionally, FCI, SDI and the Parley-Liberia will work closely with the LLA to implement the project.

Stanley Toe, LLA executive director said the partners have been doing great work, but with more focus on the social aspects.

Toe believes that the CSOs would help to implement the Land Rights law as the support has been helpful to the institution.

The signing ceremony brought together officials of the LLA, including Commissioner Ellen O. Pratt, Land Use and Management, Commissioner J. Joseph Burgess, Sr, Land Administration and representatives of the Liberian NGOs.

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