Monrovia, June 28, 2019 – Three collaborating organizations and their partners working on land rights in Liberia have ended a National Information Sharing Conference, which participants rated as highly successful.
The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), Welthungerhilfe (WHH), Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) and their associate partners, including Rights and Rice Foundation (RRF), Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), Social Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development (SESDev), Development Education Network – Liberia (DEN-L) and the Liberia Law Society (LLS) are implementing a three-year European Union funded development project, titled, “Land Rights for Liberia: Promoting and Protecting Community Land for National Development.”
Delivering the Keynote Address at the Conference, the Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation in Liberia, His Excellency Teodorus Kaspers says access to land and secure land tenure and use rights for men and women is vital for the economic development of the Liberian people.
The EU diplomat emphasized, and more specifically that access to land and tenure security is a prerequisite for higher productivity of smallholder farmers. He, however, pointed out that unsustainable farming practices and deforestation, along with climate change, are the main causes of land degradation in rural areas.
“The treat presented by land degradation adversely affects living conditions of the poorest in Liberia. Notwithstanding, a properly functioning system of land tenure will further allow for private investment and for donor support in areas such as agriculture and sustainable land use”, Mr. Kaspers noted.
He said with the passage of the Land Rights Act in September 2018, the government and people of Liberia took a big step forward to mitigating threats to peace by allowing the indigenous people and communities to not only use but to also own the land.
The National Conference for Information sharing on Customary Land Rights in Liberia brought together more than 114 delegates and other special invitees from across the country, comprising members of the National Legislature, the European Union, the Swedish Embassy, government ministries and agencies including the Liberia Land Authority (LLA), land-related Civil Society Organizations, national and international land stakeholders, the media, and a broad spectrum of the grassroots community.
It was designed to take stock of the accomplishments and challenges, and to also share lessons learned and best practices derived from the implementation of the Land Rights for Liberia Project being implemented by CAFOD, SDI, WHH, and their partners.
The conference was organized in such a way that the beneficiaries themselves, mainly women were given the opportunity to explain the trends of their success stories, where they were before and where they are now and how the project has impacted their lives and communities in a positive way.
Subject matter specialists in the land sector, serving as panelists confidently deliberated on key land issues ranging from Gender Perspective & Legal Protection around Women Land Rights; the Status of Implementation of the Land Rights Act (LRA) and how the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) is bridging the gaps; Focus of the international/donor community in pushing Land Rights in Liberia - Swedish Government support to the process; Brief Analysis of Land Reforms in Liberia: Community Rights and Concessions; Community/youths perspectives and feedback on land rights engagements specifically on the project.
The panelists then came face-to-face with the delegates in a question and answer period thus making the conference more interactive and productive. The issue of TRUST in the confirmatory survey and boundary demarcation; implementation of the Land Rights Act; the establishment of a specialized court to deal exclusively with land matters and enforcing the Act against the Criminal Conveyance of Land, featured prominently during the plenary discussions.
The project, which started in January 2017 and is scheduled to close in January 2020, is targeting over 100 communities located across eleven (11) counties, including Bong, Margibi, Nimba, Lofa, Rivercess, River Gee, Maryland, Bomi, Grand Gedeh, Sinoe and River Cess.
The program has so far implemented a large number of activities such as providing support to CSOs advocacy on the Land Rights Law; support communities to have greater ownership, access and control rights of their customary lands and livelihoods; support communities to defend their customary land rights against external threats, and providing training workshops, and educational materials to build the capacity of community members and relevant stakeholders in the land sector. Reports, Arthur R. Tucker
Reported By: Arthur R. Tucker —Public Relations Officer
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