Land Commission tenure extended

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has issued Executive Order No. 66 extending the tenure of the Land Commission by one additional year ending January 9, 2016.

During the period of the extension, the Land Commission shall carry out its mandate, functions and duties, including the exercise of all rights and privileges that were afforded it under the Land Commission Act of A.D. 2009.

The Land Commission was established by an Act of the Legislature on August 9, 2009, and charged with the mandate to propose, advocate and coordinate land policy, laws and programs in Liberia. The Commission which has a five-year tenure as prescribed by the Act officially began operation in March, 2010.

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The Executive Order No. 66, signed by President Sirleaf on January 7, 2015, further states that during the period of the extension of tenure, the Commission will work along with other Government agencies to complete draft legislation and activities to facilitate the transition into a new land agency.

A bill is being proposed by the Executive for Legislative consideration that would separate the land functions from several ministries and agencies and establish an agency with a focus on land, which will require a transitional period for the Commission and other agencies of Government to plan and undertake activities leading to the establishment and operational readiness of a new land agency.

The Liberian leader indicated that current issues surrounding land governance, including administration and management still poses serious challenges to ensuring equal access, security of tenure, and the rule of law regarding land transactions within the country.

She further stressed that Government recognizes the extent and seriousness of these land tenure issues, which require a move towards a more equitable system of land rights; a more modern and re-organized land administration system; and the development of the requisite capacity to evolve such a system.

Since its establishment, the Land Commission has made significant progress in fulfilling its key mandate to undertake necessary policy and law reforms as evident by the following: formulation, validation and adoption by the Government and people of Liberia a National Land Rights Policy; the drafting of a Land Rights Act, now before the National Legislature for enactment; the formulation of a draft Land Administration Policy, which among several recommendations will declare Government’s intention to establish a dedicated land agency; and developing policies and drafting laws for Urban Land Use and Land Dispute Resolution, among others.

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