Monrovia, July 9, 2019 –Foya District is Liberia’s First Community to Develop a Land Use Plan as per the Land Rights Law of 2018

 The people of Foya District, in Lofa County have achieved a major milestone in Liberia, becoming the first community to complete a land use and management plan as required by the Land Rights Act of 2018.

Under the law, every community is required to develop a land use and management plan as part of the process of formalizing their customary land ownership.

Also, the 2016 Act that created the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) stipulates that the Authority shall promote, support and ensure the development of land use plans and zoning schemes and their implementation through municipalities, towns and other local government structures.

On June 27, 2019, residents of Foya and surrounding communities, including chiefs and elders, government authorities and civil society organizations gathered at the Foya Central High School to witness the event.

The Liberia Land Authority (LLA) and IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) worked in collaboration to produce the plan.

IDH, through a consultant provided expert technical assistance towards the development of the plan, with LLA and IDH staff providing field data and analysis towards the planning process.

The land use plan was developed as a pilot project, utilizing a bottom-up, participatory planning process with communities at the core of the decision making. The lessons learned from this planning effort will be used to inform the national land use planning and management agenda in Liberia.

Foya District’s completed land use and management plan includes maps of the district illustrating land use suitability including, areas suitable for different crops, for subsistence and commercial farming, forest areas designated for protection and water sources that should be managed to ensure that the district water resources are conserved.

The maps also identified land uses for the construction of agriculture related infrastructure such as training and marketing centers, and proposed new roads to improve the farm-to-market road network.

 Receiving the plan on behalf of the district, Paramount Chief Momoh Taylor thanked the Liberia Land Authority and its partners for their support during the process.

He then called on the Liberia Land Authority to help the communities secure their land by issuing them deed for their land. “We need deed for our land, and so we call on the Land Authority to help us get deed for our land” the Chief implored Commissioner Ellen Pratt, the Commissioner for Land Use and Management, at the Land Authority, who traveled to Foya to attend the event.

“Now that we have our plan, we would like to make sure that our land is protected; so that we can be able to develop our communities and improve our lives”, the Paramount Chief concluded.

 Speaking at the event, Commissioner Pratt lauded the people of Foya for their dedication and effort in completing the production of a land use plan. She urged them to complete the remaining processes in keeping with the Land Rights Law. She assured the people of Foya that once they complete the customary land formalization processes, the Authority will thereafter issue them a Statutory Deed for their land.

She then stressed, “To get your deed, you must go through the processes including self- identification, developing community bylaws and establishing your Community Land Development and Management Committee (CLMDC), and conducting boundary harmonization with your neighbors”.

Land-use Planning is a systematic and iterative procedure carried out in order to create an enabling environment for sustainable development of land resources which meets people's needs and demands. It assesses the physical, socio-economic, institutional and legal potentials and constraints with respect to an optimal and sustainable use of land resources, and empowers people to make decisions about how to allocate those resources.

Planning for land use is essential to for the realization of the country’s sustainable development goal. The process embodies an interactive partnership, between government communities, and key stakeholders to address their common concerns to manage land resources sustainably for their mutual benefit. This is consistent with emerging principles of good governance, now viewed as a prerequisite to sustainable development.

 

Reported By: Arthur R. Tucker