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Liberia holds first major national land conference

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The first of a major National Land Conference in over 15 years of land reforms in Liberia is being organized by the Multi-Actor Platform for Land Governance in Liberia, otherwise known as the MAP Liberia Land Platform.

It is co-convened by the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) and the MAP Liberia Land Platform Secretariat, headed by the Rights and Rice Foundation (RRF).

The MAP Liberia Land Platform is a nationally owned process initiated in February 2018, by the LLA and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) spearheaded by the Rights and Rice Foundation. 

“As we all know now, Liberia celebrated the signing into law a new Land Rights Act in October 2018. Following enactment of the new law, the Liberia Land Authority (LLA), working together with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), other government authorities, policymakers, and international partners have initiated some good steps towards implementation of the law,” said Mr. Haje L. Paasewe, MAP Liberia Communications, and Reporting Officer.

Addressing journalists Monday, 1 November 2021 in Monrovia, Mr. Paasewe said among the early achievements are the development of an Implementation Strategy and standardized messages for disseminating the Act, drafting regulations and guidelines, and undertaking of pilots of community land formalization schemes.

Further, Mr. Paasewe cited capacity-building training programs for some actors in the land sector – mainly from the government and CSOs, as well as developing systems and processes for land administration and management.

In spite of the achievements noted above, he said implementation of the LRA [Land Right Act] is plagued by a range of challenges.

“These challenges are linked to the practical, legal, institutional, and procedural aspects of the actual implementation of the LRA on one hand, and also based on deeply rooted traditional and customary practices on the other hand,” he said.

Within the context of widespread food and land tenure insecurity inherited from the past, he said the historical passing of the LRA and the initial progress are only the first steps of a long and complex process at hand.

Against this background, he continued, the MAP Liberia Land Platform, a nationally owned process comprising the LLA and other key government agencies, CSOs, the private sector, academia and research institutions, international development partners, and local communities, will be hosting this major Land Conference.

He said the conference will take stock of successes achieved so far in the implementation of the law, analyze and highlight challenges, identify opportunities and generate recommendations and commitments for a way forward. 

He disclosed that the conference will be taking place from 1 – 3 February 2022 in the Port City of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, bringing together around 165 participants from across Liberia’s 15 counties under the theme:  Celebrating 3 years of the LRA: Celebrating 3 Years Of Liberia’s Land Rights Act (LRA) 00 –Achievements, Key Challenges, And Opportunities!

The conference is being organized around eight major themes, listed as follows: Mapping of activities and actors in Liberia land sector; Status of regulations, policies, and procedures to implement the land law; Customary land rights formalization; Promotion and Protection of Women’s and youth’s land rights; Monitoring of progress in land governance; Decentralization of land services; Linkage of tenure security to responsible agricultural investment and food security and Land sector coordination.

Planning and execution of the conference are being carried out under the auspices of the following organizational arrangements: National Organizing Committee (NOC) comprising the Liberia Land Authority, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), the College of Agriculture and Forestry of the University of Liberia and Secretariat of the MAP Liberia Land Platform.  

Thematic groups named above will guide the content aspect of the conference, supported by a Logistic Committee, Media Committee and Organizing Secretariat. 

Government and Donors supporting the conference include: the Government of Liberia, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the International Land Coalition (ILC), the World Bank, the United Nations System, the German Government through Welthungerhilfe (WHH), the European Union, ECOWAS, United States Agency for International Development, and the Swedish International Development Agency. 

Other international organizations will provide technical support including the Washington-based Rights and Resources International, the Paris-based Institute for International Development (IISD), among others.  Most of these donors will be supporting the conference through their implementing programs run by international and local NGOs. The donors and their international and national partners have already pledged financial, material, and technical resources in the tone of 60% of the proposed $160,000 budget of the conference.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/liberia-progress-in-map-decentralization/

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