On Monday, August 26, 2019 the Liberia Land Authority (LLA), with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and United Nations Peace-building Support Office (PBSO), commenced a three-day (August 26-28) awareness and sensitization campaign on public land and its inventory in Gbarnga, Bong County.
The event, which is being hosted under the theme, “Securing Public Land for Economic Development,” has brought together judicial actors, representatives from civil society organizations (CSOs), and those from the LLA, the local Land Commissioners as well as local surveyors in the county.
LLA Commissioner Ellen O. Pratt, with oversight of Land Use and Management, informed participants about the importance of the workshop, “because since the LLA was established in October 2016 with the subsequent passage of the Land Rights Act in 2018, not many people know the workings of the entity.”
Madam Pratt added that the workshop will allow each of the participants to know the four different categories of land ownership; to recognize the customary land rights; strengthening ownership rights and management for women.
She informed the participants that the workshop intends to inform local authorities on the categories of land as enshrined in the Land Rights Act of 2018 with specific focus on Public Land; to ensure that local authorities properly manage Public Land in keeping with the Land Rights Act of 2018.
She said the awareness workshop is meant to curtail and abate the haphazard sale of Public Land allegedly by some local authorities and other individuals; to also strengthen communities’ information capacities in the implementation of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and the role of communities in safeguarding Public Land.
Earlier, the Commissioner for Land Policy and Planning at the LLA, Cllr. Kulah L. Jackson, admonished participants to apply every knowledge gained from the three-day exercise, noting that local authorities, who are attending the workshop, should understand the significance of acquiring and managing Public Land.
Cllr. Jackson then admonished citizens, who are involved in occupying Public Lands without title deed, to report to the LLA for consultation aimed at avoiding potential land conflict.
Bong County Superintendent Esther Y. Walker, who is attending the exercise, extolled the LLA and partners for the workshop and said the exercise will help to abate the sale of public land allegedly by some local authorities and their turncoats.
Some relevant topics that were being discussed included gender equality and land rights, understanding the institutional and organizational arrangements of the LLA, county land offices, Land Boards, the importance of Public Land, and how communities can assist in managing and safeguarding this category of land for future use; meaning, distinction between the four categories of land under the Land Rights Act of 2018.
Facilitators are from the UNDP and the LLA.