A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by collaborating Partners for the implementation of the project, called the “Protection of Customary Land Rights in Liberia”.
The pilot project, which is being supported by USA based Rights and Resources Initiatives (RRI) with funding from the International Land and Forest Tenure Facility (ILFTF), is expected to be implemented over a period of 12 months and will cover 12 communities of Liberia.
According to the MoU, the project seeks to increase the capacities of communities and multi-stakeholders in implementing the self-identification process for the legal recognition of the land rights of communities, as provided for by the Land Rights Policy and the Land Rights Bill, which is currently before the Legislature for enactment. The other processes include establishing legal entities to manage and govern community land, delineating and mapping of boundaries; and deeding and recording of community land.
The MoU was signed on April 26 by the representatives of the implementing partners. Dr. Cecil T. O. Brandy signed on behalf of the Interim Land Task Force, while Ms. Nora Brewer, Coordinator, Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) and Ms. Julie T.B. Weah, Director, Foundation for Community Initiative (FCI) signed for their respective institutions.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by Ms. Re-Al Myers, Coordinator of the Project Management Unit, the Director of the Interim Land Task Force, Mr. Stanley N. Toe and some staff of the implementing partners.
In early 2014, staff of the erstwhile Land Commission undertook field training on some of the processes leading to the legal recognition of the collective land rights of communities in Gbarlin Clan, Lofa County. The experience gained by the staff coupled with the lessons learned from the field work informed the development of a draft framework guide for the implementation of community land rights nation-wide.
The results from the pilots in the 12 communities will enhance the further development of the self-identification process as a national methodology for implementation.
“The signing of this project is an initial achievement of the Interim Land Task Force and marks an important step towards self-identification of customary land by the community members themselves.” Dr. Brandy noted.