The Government of Liberia (GoL) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and development partners have expressed commitment to implementing two major land tenure regulations, which include the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance (VGGT) on the Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forest and the Land Rights Act (LRA) process.
The government and partners have henceforth, instituted the land tenure regulations to enhance food security, and to ensure land access for many of the citizens.
The commitment was expressed on Thursday, November 15 in Monrovia at the 5th Multi-stakeholder Platform Workshop on the implementation of the VGGT and the LRA.
The meeting, which brought together diverse stakeholders, including traditional authorities, civil society organizations, academia, the private sector, religious leaders, landholding families, the media and development partners, provided the opportunity for the different stakeholders to engage in tenure governance at various levels to take stock of progress and challenges in tenure governance and discuss ways in which land, fisheries and forest resources could be better managed in the country.
The chairman of the Liberia Land Authority (LLA), Dr. Cecil O Brandy, said that he was pleased with the passage of the land rights law, which he said intends to ensure tenure security, especially for agriculture.
Brandy said the Act is critical to the improvement of farmers’ productivity, and to ensure that many citizens have access to land.
“Farmers need access rights and the governance structures, which are guidelines that we have been working collaboratively with stakeholders for the last four years to ensure land tenure security,” he said.
He said that the challenge is how to include those guidelines into implementation strategies to make the Land Act impactful.
Dr. Brandy said the lack of tenure, access and rights have affected rural communities in a profound manner over the years, adding that these conditions are therefore being addressed in the new land rights act to create land access for many citizens.
He called on FAO and other partners to strengthen relationship with his institution to implement those guidelines relating to the VGGT.
Meanwhile, Dr. Brandy said plans are underway to carry out awareness across the country on the LRA process.
FAO Country Representative, Mariatou Njie, said that since the launch of the VGGT, her institution continues to work closely with the government to effectively implement its policy with the overall aim to improve the governance of tenure and to improve food security, especially in the context of large-scale agricultural investment.
According to her, the VGGT regulations are not legally binding on any country, but are meant to build on the principles of international law.
Njie added that with funding from the German Government, the VGGT was introduced in Liberia to address some of the difficulties citizens faced in accessing land.
“In Liberia, it became urgent to address land issues with the advent of large land-scale investment in mining and agriculture,” she said.
She reaffirmed FAO’s commitment to working with the Liberian government and other partners to ensure food and nutrition security.