The chairman of the Interim Land Taskforce, Dr. Cecil T. O. Brandy, has called on the National Legislature to pass the land rights and land authority laws.
Dr. Brandy made the call yesterday at the Monrovia City Hall during the 3rd Multi-Stakeholders Workshop on the Voluntary Guidelines for Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forestry (VGGT).
Under the theme: Establishment of the VGGT Governance and Institutional Framework to facilitate VGGT Implementation, he said the two laws are passed by the Senate and they are before the House of Representatives.
“These two laws have the legal basis for which we can begin implementing the land rights law and begin to have the framework under which guidelines such as deeds can be implemented,” Dr. Brandy said.
“The commission has worked very hard to develop a set of four land rights; and probably the most interesting one is the customary land right, because most of our farmers still operate on customary arrangements and most of the land is still in the hands of traditional leaders.
“However, the right that ensures we have that land is not guaranteed by law and so the land commission has submitted through the office of the President and to the Legislature two major pieces of legislation,” he said.
“We need to put in place an institutional framework that will enable us to actually begin using these guidelines in a way that becomes meaningful for us. I want to thank the FAO for the effort in ensuring that we are here today and discussing the voluntary guidelines,” he added.
Dr. Brandy said the framework will allow Liberia to move forward in implementing guidelines in areas that will have meaningful impact on the economy, including food security.
Mr. Marc Abdala, Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said as part of the UN family, FAO will continue to support the government and people of Liberia in their efforts to improve and make more sustainable use of natural resources.
“Liberia is blessed with abundant land, forests, and marine resources. Granting equitable and fair access to these resources is key to development and one of the objectives of the Liberian government. In the last decade, a lot of work has been done in Liberia to access available resources…clarify citizens’ rights and responsibilities related to these resources and agree on how the use should be regulated,” he said.
He said the VGGT is the result of a global dialogue between sovereign nations that have identified tenure governance as one of the enabling factors for development and for the wellbeing of their citizens.
The VGGT sets global best practices on how tenure resources should be governed, but at the same time it leaves each country with the responsibility to adapt and adopt those best practices and make them work in their contexts, he said.Mr. Abdala added, “We understand that having a solid pact between the state and people and system that protects and guarantees people’s rights is critical to strengthening peace and achieving sustainable development objectives.”
The 3rd Multi-Stakeholder Workshop was attended by women representatives of local organizations, chiefs and elders of various counties, including Bong and Margibi, government officials, civil society representatives, and international experts.