Some respondents simply indicated they had inherited the land (9%). During the civil war, all major mines were closed, and the contribution of the sector to the economy declined to negligible levels for almost 15 years. In the rural areas, rivers, streams and ponds are the main water sources, but are of poor quality. Sustainable Developement Institute P.O. There are an estimated 8000 boats on the river system but only about 2000 of these are registered. The procedure is laid out in the Public Lands Law - Title 34 - Liberian Code of Laws Revised. Environmental effects include siltation of dams and rivers; indiscriminate deforestation; additional degraded lands from miners’ settlement patterns; ground- and surface-water pollution, including acidic mine-drainage and heavy-metal pollution from copper, lead, arsenic, mercury or cyanide in highly mineralized zones; dust pollution; oil pollution from vehicle leaks and machinery; habitat fragmentation, decreased habitat effectiveness and increased mortality of wildlife; and displacement of and conflict with surrounding communities (USAID 2008; UNDP and EPA 2006). The unemployment rate was estimated at 85% (2003), and 80% of the population lives below the poverty line (2000) (AfDB 2009; CIA 2009). Sahel regarding land tenure issues, such as the Regional Conference on Land Tenure and Decentralisation, held in Praïa 1994, organised by CILSS and OECD/Club du Sahel, and subsequent workshops such as the Colloque International sur le Foncier, St Louis, Senegal 1997, and the conference on the Observatoire du Tchad, N’Djaména 1998. The UN sanctions were lifted in 2007 after Liberia’s admission to the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (established by the UN in 2003 and designed to certify the origin of rough diamonds from sources which are free from conflict) (UNDP 2006). The Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy has begun to address issues related to artisanal diamond mining under a program supported by USAID. There are several types of statutory or legal title (Wily 2007): The urban residents of County Liberia, immigrant settlers and their descendants, acquire land rights through statutory law, either by allocation or purchase from the government, or through private transactions with landowners. The usufruct rights may be short-term (as for food-crop farms) or long-term, even passed down several generations (e.g., houses, tree farms), but never mature into ownership. Share the following information on land tenure in Liberia: o Land tenure is the relationship between people and land. Cross-border smuggling is rampant. Some Hinterland tribes have converted their landholdings into collective title or deed under statutory law, first through the Hinterland Law and then the Aborigines Law. Traditional secret societies (Poro and Sande) use isolated forest areas for ceremonial and training purposes (Lomax 2008; Methot and Veit 2008). Approximately 90% of civil cases are land disputes, some reported to be socially explosive. Although both women and men have rights to land under statutory and customary tenure, the rights of women and men differ in origin, duration and scope, and are influenced by the legal rules and social norms related to marriage and other family relationships. The United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on the export of rough diamonds from Liberia in 2001, after confirming that diamonds (labeled conflict diamonds) were being used to fund the civil war and were implicated in destabilizing incursions into Sierra Leone. The MOU details MLG’s agreement to pilot a streamlined systematic land titling system and a land administration system that would recognize and record the rights of Liberian landowners. During this time too, a new national forestry law was passed, decreeing that forest resources (trees), as distinguished from forest lands, belonged to the state. Gold and diamond mining are limited to alluvial and small-scale operations with official estimates of over 100,000 artisanal miners in Liberia (International Alert, however, estimates around 250,000 to 500,000 diggers). State policy (established by the Americo-Liberian political elite) evolved from recognizing customary ownership as full ownership rights, whether formally titled or not, to merely recognizing usufruct rights of possession and use of undocumented customary claims. The government is currently focused on emergency repairs of water systems and infrastructure. The land tenure system follows this division. Photo Credit: Global Diaspora News (www.GlobalDiasporaNews.com). Indigenous tribes rise up in violent rebellions to protect their territories. The 1974 Registered Land Law formalizes the land registration system. Communities are shortening fallow periods, expanding into forest areas, and opening up swamplands for farming (Wily 2007). The inevitable disputes over land tenure could threaten peace and stability, as it has in Liberia (Brottem & Unruh 2009). the rules for allocating land are diłcult to discern, outside investors must pay to learn local rules, incurring high transactions costs. The Law gives statutory recognition to customary ownership of both forests and forest resources within community lands, provides for the management of community forests by community forest management bodies, and requires prior informed consent of the community for concessions to be made on community lands. Introduction Liberia faces numerous environmental challenges including land degradation, fragmentation, deforestation, soil erosion, and pollution. This effectively took away community access to forest resources even when these were on the community’s own lands. Today, only 56% of female-headed households own land, compared with 68% of male-headed households, and almost double the number of men (33%) compared to women (16%) owned land in 2006 (WFP data). Climate Change and Natural Resource Management, Using Mobile Applications to Secure Tenure, Liberia: Land Governance Support Activity, Liberia: Land Rights and Community Forest Program, Liberia: Property Rights and Artisanal Diamond Development, Liberia: Land Policy and Institutional Support, Sierra Leone: Sustainable and Thriving Environments for West African Regional Development, Liberia: Land Conflict Resolution Project, Liberia: People, Rules and Organizations Supporting the Protection of Ecosystem Resources, The Challenge of Protecting Community Land Rights: An Investigation into Community Responses to Requests for Land and Resources. Point out that the answers the participants have provided describe their land tenure system. In forested areas these include at least 14 Aborigines Deeds and 19 Public Land Sale Deeds which together amount to over 2.5 million hectares; additional entitlements affecting forested areas may exist (Wily 2007). A component of the program is assisting the high-level Governance Commission and developing policy proposals for administering community land-rights (USAID 2008). The Land Rights Act ensures, for the first time, that the land rights of rural Liberians are recognized, protected, and guaranteed by law – an essential ingredient for these communities to achieve secure land rights. A guiding principle of the policy is that freshwater is a finite and vulnerable resource (DAI 2008). Overview. Summary excerpt: “This report synthesizes the findings from field research on land and natural resource tenure in 11 administrative clan units in Liberia, including Ding, Dobli, Gbanshay, Little Kola, Mana, Motor Road, Saykleken, Tengia, Upper Workor, Ylan, and the community of Nitrian. Since 2013, the Legislature has conducted multiple private and public consultations and public hearings. Prepared for United States Agency for International Development, USAID Contract Number EPP-I-00-06-00008-00, Task 6.5, Liberia Land Policy and Institutional Support Project, under the Property Rights and Resource Environmental degradation worsened as people crammed into camps without basic services, and dumped garbage and wastes into rivers and other ecologically sensitive locations. The statutory system provides the legal basis for land and natural resource concessions (through state claims of ownership of tribal lands), some of which overlap and expand into customary lands. The majority of indigenous Africans live in rural areas. USAID supported the Integrated Inland Valley Swamp Rehabilitation and Development Project, which provided employment for ex-combatants in the rehabilitation and development of fish ponds and rice paddies. The 1905 Hinterland Law (last amended in 1949) recognized customary ownership, not just usufruct rights, with respect to the Hinterlands. Strategic objectives include: 1) equitable and productive access to land, especially for marginalized groups; 2) land tenure security, including on customary lands, and the rule of law in land dealings and dispute resolution; 3) effective land administration and management; and 4) promotion of investment in and development of land resources (GOL 2008c). drafting new land policies to address the weaknesses in Liberia’s land tenure system and rectify historical contradictions and inadequacies in existing legislation. 24 Hilliard , F The American Law of Real Property ( 1869 , Weare C Little & Co ) at 60. There is also a lack of recognition or appreciation for the role of freshwater wetlands in providing ecosystem services (DAI 2008). While most methods of exploitation are traditional, inland fisheries contribute about 25% of the fish consumed by rural dwellers. Agriculture plays an important role in the economy. This is because effective land policy makes an enormous contribution to improve the investment climate of Liberia, ensure maximum use efficiency of land; increase land based revenues and improves equity in the access and use of land, thereby reducing social polarization and violence. Large-scale displacement during the civil war resulted in the growth of slums and illegal home occupations in urban and peri-urban areas. about Johnson Sirleaf Plays Musical Chairs: Liberia's Superficial Reshuffle? The Rubber Plantation Task Force (established jointly with the United Nations Mission in Liberia) evaluates rubber concessions, including the size of a concession granted versus the area of a concession developed, and plantation conditions. Yet clearly, reform of the land tenure system is also a priority of Government. It is critical, however, that the legal and policy framework for community forestry recognize customary ownership of community lands and, secondly, that ownership of the land include ownership of the trees and other natural resources thereon. The term of the Land Commission expired in January 2016 when a new body, the Liberia Land … There are approximately 600,000 hectares of freshwater swamplands, with about 20,000 hectares (3%) under cultivation to augment upland rice production. Commercial logging also largely funded the civil war, prompting the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on the export of Liberian timber in 2003. Liberia is now in post-conflict reconstruction after the January 2006 election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Africa’s first female president. This effectively took away community access to the resource even on the community’s own lands. Government efforts to revitalize the mining sector as a key driver for economic growth and poverty reduction has resulted in the following initiatives: 1) creation of the Mining Cadastre Information Management System designed to minimize conflict in awarding mineral titles and improve information on mineral inventories and other crucial mineral development parameters; 2) drafting of a national Mineral Policy which will serve as a framework for the sector (currently undergoing a stakeholders validation process and expected to be completed by April 2009); 3) completion of a Model Mineral Development Agreement; and 4) issuance of 33 new mineral exploration licenses, adding to the 53 existing licenses (GOL 2008d). The Community Rights Law with respect to Forest Lands was passed by the Liberian Senate and House of Representatives in September 2008, and subsequently signed by the president and passed into law on 16 October 2009. It empowers the government to designate areas for adjudication and registration, and requires landholders to register landholdings (Wily 2007). At the same time, the right of the tribe to exclude others is laid out clearly in the law. The landowner is entitled to be informed of the reason for the taking, prompt payment of just compensation, and the right of first refusal to reacquire the property, if the property ceases to be used for public purposes. Customary land rights are also recognized in the 1956 Aborigines Law, but as usufruct rights, not as ownership rights. The Aborigines Law limited the ability of tribes to sell their land, except by public land sales. Policies on land use and management have been dominated by foreign investors seeking large land areas for mining, plantation (mainly, palm oil), and logging concessions, and in the process squeezing communities into isolated enclaves of “project … Agriculture provides a livelihood for the majority of the population, with most farming carried out on small landholdings, but there are also a number of large commercial plantations. The land-tenure system reflects this division of the population. Only a small number of communities have secured their communal areas under fee simple properties (held under Aborigines Deeds or more modern Public Land Sales Deeds), although the areas cover a large proportion of forested lands. While the land is owned on a collective basis, member families have usufruct rights, dependent upon occupancy or use. The incentive to seek (expensive) formalization of communal land is high; experience compounded by legal uncertainty warns rural communities of the high costs of failing to do everything possible to entrench communal ownership in modern title deeds. Following the establishment of this Commission, a number of donors, including USAID, have started to support its work in addressing land tenure and property rights challenges. About 10% of the coastal area is held under long-term leases by large, mostly foreign-owned agribusiness interests. It has also contributed to conflict, as indigenous communities lost their food and livelihood source and an important lynchpin of their cultural heritage. Land tenure, due to its complex nature, causes many disputes and is strongly influenced by the settlement pattern (Ellen, 1978). Recognition of possession is not enough; it is the ownership of the land that needs to be entrenched. Longstanding ethnic tensions rooted in land claims, particularly between the Mandingo and the Mano and Gio ethnic groups (Nimba County), and the Mandingo and Loma (Lofa County), threaten to become a flashpoint as Mandingo refugees returning from neighboring Guinea find their lands and properties seized by the other ethnic groups. These usufruct rights include the use and possession of as much of the public land in the area inhabited by it as is required for farming and other enterprises essential to tribal necessities (Sec. The World Bank has recently completed a comprehensive assessment of Liberia’s land tenure problems (Insecurity of Land Tenure, Land Law and Land Registration in Liberia). This would ensure that the LRCFP would make a real difference in the lives of indigenous communities and all other Liberians. Such actions exclude many indigenous communities from their land base, and their food and livelihood sources (except as ill-paid workers). Liberia’s main mineral resources are iron ore, gold and diamonds. The MOU details MLG’s agreement to pilot a streamlined systematic land titling system and a land administration system that would recognize and record the rights of Liberian landowners. Liberia’s land rights and land tenure status is under revision and in 2014, a revised and updated Land Rights Act (LRA) was developed and submitted by the former Land Commission of Liberia (presently the Liberia Land Authority). about Searching for the transformation in Liberia, African farms need help, but the G8’s plan is for landowners, not the poor, “We who live here own the land”: Customary Land Tenure in Grand Cape Mount, and Community Recommendations for Reform of Liberia’s Land Policy & Law, Investments into the Agribusiness, Extractive, and Infrastructure Sectors of Liberia, Liberia's landless people have a lesson for visiting world leaders. This water system is now operating at about 11% capacity, serving about 1 million people. There are three areas to consider when initiating land reform: information problems, rights, and markets. The law also provides spouses with equal rights to be members of land owning communities, an important safeguard for … The war devastated the economy, public institutions, physical infrastructure and social capital, killed about 270,000 people, and displaced almost 80% of the population. Unclear land boundaries, caused by haphazard surveys, government adjustments, population growth and migration, overlapping territorial claims of different groups, and seizure and control of areas by different factions during the civil war, have caused confusion and conflict (Unruh 2007; GOL 2007b; Wily 2007). This pattern obtained from the level of high nobility as vassals of a monarch down … There is limited donor intervention in the mining sector. Traditionally, some communities claim customary rights over certain water resources, such as a section of a local river or a spring, but these are undocumented and not recognized in statutory law. Lands that were not occupied, actively cultivated or privately titled were deemed public lands owned by the state (the definition of tribal was debatable). In 2005, the capital city of Monrovia hosted 40% of internally displaced persons (IDPs) (GOL 2008c; Tefft 2005). The 1986 Constitution has a general provision empowering the state to manage the country’s natural resources in a manner that ensures maximum participation of citizens and advances the general welfare, and promotes economic development (GOL Constitution 1986). Liberia entered a long period of instability, marked by descent into a 14-year civil war (1989–2003). MCC’s work on land rights can be transformational—even well after our programs finish. By Alvin Worzi Yacoub El Hillo, Deputy Special Representative of UN Secretary-General (DSRSG) and UN Coordination, says there is an urgent need for Liberia to restructure its land tenure system because the reform will help in the consolidation of peace and continuation of stability and prosperity in Liberia. Industrial mining operations for diamonds, gold and iron ore resulted in the clearance, excavation and flooding of tropical rainforest and farmlands, the collapsing of riverbanks, and the damming or diverting of river courses. In a watershed moment for land rights in Liberia and across Africa, President George Weah on Sept. 19 signed into law a land reform bill that extends land rights to millions of rural Liberians. These included issues over customary ownership, ethnic land disputes (Mandingo issue), and issues stemming from poor land administration systems and capacity. Liberia is also rich in mineral resources, including iron ore, gold and diamonds. 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 … Freshwater resources support 166 species of fish. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has issued Executive Order No. CUSTOMARY LAND TENURE IN LIBERIA: FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS DRAWN FROM 11 CASE STUDIES . 2. Liberia is administratively divided into 15 counties. The 1986 Constitution bestows ownership of all mineral resources to the state. There are two different statutes for tribal land under the Hinterlands Rules and other laws: Tribal Reserves and Communal Holdings. Liberia’s forests represent the largest remaining remnant of the Upper Guinea forest of West Africa (about 42% of total). The causes of Liberia’s recently concluded 14-year civil war were multiple, but central to the war was conflict over land and natural resource rights. Liberia has six major rivers: the Mano, Lofa, St. Paul, St. John, Cestos and Cavalla Rivers. As a result, there is little information on water rights in Liberia. Liberia Land Authority The Liberia Land Authority (LLA) is a product of the policy, legal and institutional reform of the land sector of Liberia led by the erstwhile Land Commission. Other estimates, such as that of the FAO, report a lower figure of 3.15 million hectares (2005). The dual system also breeds resentment by allowing transfers of land from customary tenure to the statutory system through land deeds and titles, without providing for a similar transfer from statutory to customary systems. About 40% of the country is considered coastal, extending 40–50 kilometers inland. The land-tenure system reflects this division of the population. A Multi-Tenure System in Tigray, Ethiopia. The World Bank channeled technical assistance support to the sector through the Liberian Government’s Governance and Economic Management Program (World Bank 2009b; USAID 2008). The sanctions (further discussed below) were lifted in 2007 (Blore 2008). Expropriation of private property by the government is authorized for purposes of national security in the event of armed conflict, when public health and safety are endangered, and for other public purposes. But the pasture of some communities is, like the farmland, divided … However, it has been noted that land rental fees are much smaller than stumpage fees (fees for harvesting forest resources), leaving communities with a disproportionately small share compared to their loss and the negative impacts of logging. Throughout coastal Liberia, the urban elites use a Western statutory system of land ownership based on individual fee simple titles. They often have no comparable alternative employment opportunities, and work in sub-standard conditions using low cost, simple tools. Indigenous Africans (divided into about 16 ethnic groups) comprise 95% of the population; the remaining 5% is composed of immigrant settlers – Americo-Liberians (descendants of American freed slaves, 2.5% of the population), and Congo People (descendants of Caribbean freed slaves, 2.5% of the population). the conversation: #LandRights, Watch our YouTube Latest land sector news delivered to your inbox. Two land and property rights issues need to be definitively addressed as Liberia proceeds with post-conflict reconstruction. About 30 square kilometers are irrigated (2003). 66 extending the tenure of the Land Commission by one additional year ending January 9, 2016. The European Commission (EC), World Bank, and African Development Bank (AfDB) are funding the rehabilitation and extension of water and sanitation systems and infrastructure in urban and rural areas. The seminar, he added, is one way of addressing those issues of land tenure system in the country, further acknowledging the role of women and young people in any society's development. The Government of Liberia has recognized the importance of secure tenure and has established the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) in 2016 and passed the Land Rights Act (LRA) in 2018. The 2009 Community Rights Law with Respect to Forest Lands is discussed below (GOL Public Procurement and Concessions Act 2005). The land-tenure system reflects this division of the population. The mining law also provides guidelines for the mitigation of adverse effects of mining or prospecting on the physical environment and the prevention of mining related accidents and health hazards. The National Rural Water Program was established in the 1980s (successor to the Rural Water Program established in 1974) to provide rural populations with water wells. USAID’s interventions in the sector include: 1) support for the development of a community forestry framework for Liberia through its Land Rights and Community Forestry Program; 2) a conservation initiative, the Civilian Conservation Corps in Sapo National Park; and 3) in cooperation with the US government (USG), policy development support in the areas of forest resource management and commercialization, and biodiversity protection (USAID 2008a; USAID 2008b). A key provision in the LRB defines four main categories of tenure in Liberia: Private Land, Customary Land, Government Land and Public Land. Achieving agriculture-led food security through knowledge sharing, A global knowledge portal for climate change & development practitioners, USAID's knowledge sharing platform focused on land tenure and property rights, A collaborative learning community of development professionals, USAID’s sharing platform for resources on sustainable urban development. There is no effective national water policy to guide resource development, use and conservation. While indigenous communities were allowed to formally register their lands in fee simple collective ownership, lack of formal titles did not diminish or affect their ownership rights (Wily 2007). Since The Act states that it supersedes the Mining Law. This area is referred to as County Liberia or the Littoral, and is occupied mainly by the immigrant settlers who became the country’s political elite. Aquifers have not been fully mapped to determine extent and water quantity. The most basic distinction in communities under chiguraf-gwoses tenure is the division of the land of the village into farmland and pastureland. There is a total of 1800 kilometers of river, most of which is shallow, rocky and with cataracts and fallen logs (DAI 2008; FAO 2006). By custom, community members cannot enter deep, intact forests, clear land for farming or fell trees without the permission of traditional elders. An agricultural survey has shown that women tend to access land through their husbands, and that they experience higher insecurity of tenure (Abril 2007). At first, state policy recognized customary … (Wily 2007). The National Forestry Reform Law is unclear with respect to resolving competing land claims. While the Community Rights Law is a positive development, it should be noted that there are still provisions in the National Forestry Reform Law, the Aborigines Law, and other laws that can undermine customary ownership. The Property Rights and Alluvial Diamond Development (PRADD) program focuses on clarifying and formalizing the land tenure rights for alluvial diamond miners. This repeats in different language the provisions of the 2006 Forestry Reform Law (Ch.2), which declared State ownership of trees and also included exceptions for communal forests and privately generated forest. These refer to lands previously or currently held by the indigenous Liberians under traditional land tenure without ownership title. Point out that the answers the participants have provided describe their land tenure system. The 2003 National Environment Policy is definitive on waste management and sanitation and proposes several strategic policy measures to address the gaps in this sector, which include: fragmented environmental policies; insufficient political commitment; absence of an institutional framework for non-domestic types of waste; absence of a national integrated waste management system; and inadequate equipment and infrastructure (UNDP and EPA 2006). The Forest Development Authority is the main forestry institution. Before 1990, the mineral sector contributed more than 65% of export earnings and approximately 25% of GDP, mainly from iron-ore mining. The reforms needed to create a land governance system that equally protects the rights of men and women; How Liberia’s unique history of settlement by former American slaves shaped the development of dual system of rights and laws; Customary practices in Liberia that affect women’s land rights; These include the development of infrastructure (roads, electricity), schools, job creation and transition from war, civil conflict and social polarization to On top of that, the power vacuum left by the FARC in Colombia is troubling Share the following information on land tenure in Liberia: o Land tenure is the relationship between people and land. USAID is shifting its aid focus from post-conflict relief projects to reconstruction and development. The causes of the war were multiple, but central to it (even if not its direct trigger) was conflict over land and natural resource rights. 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