Sustaining Peace and Reconciliation through Strengthening Land Governance and Dispute Resolution Mechanisms
As Liberia makes strides towards consolidating peace, UNDP is helping the Government address some of the key triggers of the civil war including land and property disputes, and tensions arising from concession agreements with multinational companies operating in communally held lands.
About 70% of Liberia’s land is communally owned under customary laws, but up to 40% has been allocated to foreign investors with little reference to local communities. A 2013 audit found that only six out of 68 (less than 9%) of agriculture, forestry, mining and oil concession contracts in country were awarded in compliance of the country’s laws, most contravening Liberia’s international obligations for socio-economic and environmental impact assessments.
In 2018, the Government of Liberia passed two laws, the Land Rights Act and the Local Government Act, paving way for devolved administration and adjudication of land matters, and more equitable land rights. The two laws provide a framework for empowering local communities to make decisions on their lands, and harness land and other natural resources for their socio-economic development.
Working in four counties, UNDP is supporting implementation of the two laws by strengthening County Land Offices to effectively, inclusively and transparently administer land matters. This includes formalization of customary land ownership, and creation of County Land Boards and Community Land Development and Management Committees for dispute resolution.
To support consolidation of sustainable peace in Liberia by strengthening land governance through implementation of the Land Rights Act and the Local Governance Act.
i) Build capacity of National and County Land Offices to prevent land disputes, and administer land inclusively and transparently.
ii) Strengthen existing semi-formal and informal mechanisms for more effective, inclusive and transparent conflict resolution.
What have we achieved so far?
• Printed and distributed 5000 copies of the simplified Land Rights Act for awareness creation.
• Community-level by-laws developed in an inclusive, consultative process involving men, women and youth.
• Supported establishment and equipping of County Land Offices in the four counties, and installed solar power systems for each.
• Trained 30 staff of the Liberia Land Authority on Conflict Resolution, Customary Land Governance, Gender, Development and Women Land Rights, Gender and Human Rights, and gender responsive land dispute resolution mechanisms.
• Supported communities to carryout self-identification of customary land for boundary harmonization with neighbouring communities in anticipation of issuance of community title deeds.
• Provided technical support for customary land demarcation and boundary harmonization in the four counties.
• 400 men and 250 women trained on the steps leading to formal recognition of customary land ownership. These were elected to the Community Land Development and Management Committees.
• Conducted a mapping of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and assessed their gender sensitivity, resulting in the increase of women in all activities such that their representation is at 45%.
United Nations Development Programme
AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
GOVERNMENT OF DENMARK
UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PRO
DELIVERY IN PREVIOUS YEARS