Land Authority, Partners Finalize Community Self-Identification Project

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Members of the PCCCLR Advisory Group and partners in a meeting at the Liberia Land Authority in Monrovia

The Liberia Land Authority (LLA) on Wednesday, May 3, convened its third and final meeting of the Advisory Group of the Protection of the Collective Customary Land Rights (PCCLR) Project.

The objective of the project is to generate recommendations from lessons and experiences acquired from field-testing the steps and procedures for community self-identification.

Self-identification is the first process land-owning communities must undergo to gain legal recognition of their land rights once the Land Rights Bill is enacted into law and regulations are issued.

The pilot project was supported by the International Land and Forest Tenure Facility (ILFTF), and implemented from April 2016 to March 2017, by a consortium of civil society organizations and the Interim Land Task Force, and later the Land Authority, in twelve rural communities in nine counties of Liberia.

Wednesday’s gathering was to formally present to the Advisory Group, composed of relevant land related agencies of the Government and stakeholders, the final draft guide for Community Self-identification, for their review and inputs.

The guide was first drafted in 2014 by the former Land Commission based on lessons learned from field testing the processes for the legal recognition of community land in Lofa County.

It was refined following the implementation of the PCCLR Project and is to serve as the national methodology for community self-identification.

It was refined following the implementation of the PCCLR Project and is to serve as the national methodology for community self-identification.

Dr. C. T. O. Brandy, the Chairman of the LLA, acknowledged the excellent performance of the Coordinator of the Project Management Unit, Ms. Re Al Myers, and encouraged her to be around as the facility begins the process of making decisions for the next step.

He also extended thanks and appreciation to all institutions that participated in the implementation of the project, especially Ms. Gamsonah Abboah, who headed the Land Authority Team. He further acknowledged the work of the implementing partners and urged stakeholders to continue their advocacy for the passage into law of the proposed Land Rights Act.

Dr. Brandy said: “The Legislature is about to engage all stakeholders. Therefore, we have to increase our advocacy in ensuring the passage of the Land Rights Bill before August 2017.” According to him, “the LLA is concerned the passage of the Land Rights Bill as it is one of the Government’s leading priorities for its 120-day deliverables.”

The one-day activity featured two presentations: One on ‘experiences and lessons learned from facilitating Community Self-Identification processes in customary communities,’ presented by the Foundation for Community Initiative (FCI)’s Loretta A. Pope-Kai; while another was on the ‘Community Self-Identification Guide,’ which was presented by Ms. Gmasonah T. Aboah of the LLA.

At the conclusion of the meeting, it was agreed that members of the AG will review the guide and provide comments, where necessary, in order to complete the guide and have it printed. The meeting was attended by senior officials from donor partners, including the County Manager of the World Bank.

The implementing partners include the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI); Foundation for Community Initiative (FCI); PARLEY, a local NGO; the Liberia Land Authority; and the Development Education Network of Liberia (DEN-L).

The PCCLR Project Advisory Group includes the Senate Committee on Lands, Mines, and Energy, Natural Resources and Environment; the Ministry of Internal Affairs; the Agriculture Ministry; the National Traditional Council; Forestry Development Authority; Governance Commission; National Bureau of Concessions; the World Bank and USAID; Liberia Timber Association; Golden Veroleum; and the CSO’s Land Working Group.

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