CSOs on Land Rights and LLA Meet in galvanizing Supports for Land Sector

As part of efforts in addressing issues affecting the land sector of Liberia, the Civil Society Organizations Working Group on Land Rights (CSOWGLR) and the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) Wednesday April 24, 2024 met to find ways in galvanizing supports for the sector.

Dubbed as ‘information sharing and planning meeting’, the well-attended meeting highlighted progress in the implementation of the Community Land Dialogue (CLD) recommendations strengthening collaboration for the completion of Customary Land Formalization (CLF)/deed.

Others include update on tribal certificate (TC) regulations, strategizing ways for coordination meetings between the LLA and civil society organizations for 2024 among others.

During the Community Land Dialogue on August 17, 2023 in Monrovia, customary land-owning communities made several recommendations to the Liberia Land Authority through the CSOWGLR.

Key among them, the community members called on the LLA to prioritize registering customary land and ensure that communities who have completed the requirements are issued with validated customary land deeds.  They also called for a clear regulations and guidelines to validate tribal certificates (TCs).

As critical partner in the implementation of the 2018 Land Rights Act (LRA), the CSOWGLR convened the meeting on Wednesday April 24, 2024 to clearly understand the status of these recommendations and issues in the land sector.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Daniel B. Wehyee of the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) said the CSOs and other nongovernmental organizations have played their part and it’s the responsibility of the LLA to ensure the communities get their deeds.

Mr. Wehyee speaking on the recommendations from the CLD in 2023, he reminded the LLA that issues surrounding confirmatory survey and boundary harmonization remain a challenge in the sector and the LLA continues to speak of lack of capacity and equipment. Mr. Wehyee also pointed out the slow pace and high cost of Customary Land Formalization (CLF).

For his part, the Executive Director of LLA, Stanley N. Toe recounted that they have drafted tribal certificate regulations and is been reviewed by the World Bank; saying the World Bank has made some valuable inputs.

Also, Mrs. Daniella Gray-Johnson, Program Manager of the LLA said nine (9) confirmatory surveys had been done since December 2023 and they were done in various counties in collaboration with CSOs and nongovernmental organizations.

Although the 2018 Land Rights Act (LRA) has strengthened Liberia’s land governance, but delegates in 2023 Land Dialogue acknowledged that significant implementation challenges remain, particularly in transparency, institutional capacity, equity, inclusiveness, and equitability.

On challenges affecting the LLA as highlighted in 2023, Cllr. Kula Jackson, LLA Commissioner for Policy and Planning informed participants on Wednesday April 24, 2024 that they have overcome some of these challenges.

However, the LLA admitted having serious challenges with funding, competing interests, and forming the National Consultative Forum.

Confirming Cllr. Jackson’s statement, the Executive Director of the LLA, Stanley N. Toe said “Five of our county land offices have been renovated, staffs’ capacity built through the help of the World Bank and the Swedish Embassy. And others will be fully trained and capacitated.”

Mr. Toe said “We are deeply challenged for financial resources, but we are drafting a Swedish funding support concept paper.”

Meanwhile, participants discussed and reasoned that the holding of regular engagement meetings with stakeholders in the land sector was very good. The land sector actors agreed to hold regular meetings to brief donor partners on successes and challenges.

The meeting with the LLA on Wednesday is part of the project implemented by the CSOWGLR with funding support from the Rights & Resources Initiative (RRI) under the project titled: “Addressing the challenges in issuance of deeds and building the governance capacity of customary land community institutions, including adequate representation of women and youth.”

Wednesday’s meeting was attended by Dr. Mahmoud Solomon (Director at LLA), Cllr. Kula Jackson (Commissioner), C. Sylvester N. Bundoo (Director), Stanley N. Toe (Executive Director), and other key officials from the Liberia Land Authority (LLA).

Some members of the CSOs include Daniel B. Wehyee (SDI), James Yarsiah (Rights & Rice Foundation), Daniel Krakue (SESDev), Wlayor Tipayson (SDI), Alphonso Henries (Liberia Reform Movement) among others. This is the first meeting of CSOs and LLA in 2024.

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