land tenure system in liberia


The dependence on forestry presents a unique environmental risk as Liberia’s forest is part of the West African Hotspot. It is one of the two most significant forest blocks in Africa, the other being the ‘Congolese Forest’. These interventions resulted in … The system of land administration (the formal/statutory and informal/customary) breeds conflict, confusion and overlaps in institutional mandates. Some respondents simply indicated they had inherited the land (9%). As of 2007, Liberia’s total Population was 3.8 million; 59.2% of the population is urban and 40.8% is rural. Perhaps 2 million hectares of customary land has so far been brought under collective title. The Act includes stronger protections for women’s land rights, including provisions for women’s participation on local land management committees. 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 … Liberia is one of Africa’s smaller states in terms of population and land area. 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). Photo Credit: Global Diaspora News (www.GlobalDiasporaNews.com). This water system is now operating at about 11% capacity, serving about 1 million people. The inevitable disputes over land tenure could threaten peace and stability, as it has in Liberia (Brottem & Unruh 2009). 1. Otherwise, communities will never be truly empowered, nor will they have the incentive to pursue sustainable resource management. Overall, the main causes of environmental degradation include shifting cultivation, uncontrolled logging, fuelwood harvesting, encroachment into forests by human settlement, illicit fishing, and unsustainable mineral and sand-mining activities (Drakenberg and Dahlberg 2008). One-third of those with access to land indicated that they had only a verbal agreement or nothing as means to prove their rights to the … 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. The Land Commission constituted by the Governance Commission is expected to clarify the legal status of customary forest lands. Indigenous elites in County Liberia acquired statutory landholdings through aborigines land entitlements granted under the Public Lands Law to Aborigines who have become civilized (i.e., adopting Western ways and being literate to some degree) and, later on, through purchase of privately owned lands. Apart from public notice and opportunity for public comment, the government has no duty per se to consult, investigate or adjudicate existing land claims in establishing nature parks or nature reserves. The assessment is intended to aid the Governance Commission (and the Land Commission) in formulating options for policy reforms and donor assistance. Likewise, local communities have no parity of bargaining power with concession holders and have no control over fundamental aspects of the social agreements. The term of the Land Commission expired in January 2016 when a new body, the Liberia Land … To facilitate the process and help local communities, Liberia’s Land Commission developed a draft guide, which was tested and refined as part of the Tenure Facility’s pilot project, completed in 2017. This inevitably generated conflict as indigenous communities lost their food and livelihood source and an important lynchpin of their cultural heritage. Yet the Government faces huge challenges, including the need to jumpstart the economy. These issues helped to fuel the civil war and, post-conflict, have been exacerbated by the seizure and control by ex-combatants of two large rubber concessions – Guthrie and Sinoe plantations. On top of that, the power vacuum left by the FARC in Colombia is troubling There is limited donor intervention in the mining sector. The rate of deforestation is estimated to be 12,000 hectares annually (0.3%), while the recorded planting of new forests to date (a period of several decades) is only about 11,000 hectares in total (GOL 2006). The National Forestry Reform Law provides that all forest resources belong to the state, except forest resources located in communal forests, and forest resources developed on private or deeded land through artificial regeneration. Under Liberian law, forest land is distinct from forest resources. Specific Land Tenure System. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is funding the development of a City Plan for Monrovia, which will include the provision of piped water, sewer and wastewater treatment systems (World Bank 2009b; AfDB 2009; DAI 2008; EC 2007). … Procedure for acquiring Public Lands. 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. The declaration of Gbedin Wetlands as a Ramsar site has caused conflict between the government and local communities, due to lack of prior information and consultation, and an unclear boundary for the Ramsar site (DAI 2008). Liberia maintains a dual land tenure system with unclear terms of ownership for both private and customary lands. The 2009 Community Rights Law explicitly recognizes Tribal Deeds but at the same time limits Community Forest Land to a maximum of 49,999 hectares. MCC’s work on land rights can be transformational—even well after our programs finish. Other estimates, such as that of the FAO, report a lower figure of 3.15 million hectares (2005). Cross-country empirical findings show that increasing population pressure, commodification of land (the emergence of land markets), and agricultural commercialization—all of … About 3.43% of the land is arable, and 1.98% is in permanent crops (2005). ÔBoone (òýÔ¥) uses the term “neocustomary” to describe these tenure systems in which Chiefs or other indigenous authorities manage land on behalf of a descent-based community. The Four (4) exclusive categories of Land ownership in Liberia are: a) Public Land; b) Government Land; All rural land that is not under probated or registered entitlement (deeds) can be assumed to be customary land. Other institutions with forestry roles include: 1) the Environmental Protection Agency, the principal agency for the management of the environment; 2) the National Environmental Policy Council, the environmental policy-making body; 3) the Forestry Training Institute in Tubmanburg to provide vocational training; and 4) The College of Agriculture and Forestry at the University of Liberia, which provides degree-level training in forestry. Iron-ore mining is the main activity and has dominated the industry for more than two decades. 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). They often have no comparable alternative employment opportunities, and work in sub-standard conditions using low cost, simple tools. Liberia’s two major lakes are Lake Piso (the country’s largest) and Lake Shepard. The Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy has begun to address issues related to artisanal diamond mining under a program supported by USAID. The 2002 Environmental Protection and Management Law provides some guidance for water resources management, but it is not comprehensive (DAI 2008; UNDP and EPA 2006). 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. Cross-border smuggling is rampant. There is wide use of pesticides and dynamite in inland fisheries. A guiding principle of the policy is that freshwater is a finite and vulnerable resource (DAI 2008). The 1986 Constitution bestows ownership of all mineral resources to the state. USAID is shifting its aid focus from post-conflict relief projects to reconstruction and development. Forests play an important direct and indirect role in the daily lives of most Liberians. Individual miners exploit gravel beds that lie on or near the surface. 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 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. Some factions have become squatters in mining areas and forest reserves (Richards et.al. The pattern is already recognized for women within the statute law system of Liberia. Prior to this law, only lands purchased by the government from indigenous tribes became public lands. According to the Constitution, with the exception of benevolent, missionary and educational institutions, as well as diplomatic missions, foreigners may not own land. The 1905 Hinterland Law (last amended in 1949) recognized customary ownership, not just usufruct rights, with respect to the Hinterlands. The report presents an analysis of critical implications of the findings of the study and Every piece of land shall be classified as, and held under, one of four (4) distinct categories of land ownership in Liberia, as enumerated in Section (2) of this Article (7). In many places, it is not clear who owns what land, how long they have used the land, or if they have any formal claim to the land.8 Cataloging land use rights is a critical first step in the reform process because it docum… There was considerable national debate on the bill (GOL Community Rights Law with Respect to Forest Lands 2009b; Wily 2008; Methot and Veit 2008). Land-grabbing and claims of ownership of plantation land by local communities could also have security implications. It was tasked with forming a Land Commission to facilitate reforms in land policy, law and programs. The other factor undermining the position of women in Africa vis-à-vis land is the erosion of land rights protection under the customary tenure system due to ongoing social and economic transformation. Women are also involved in small-scale fish-processing, mainly fish-smoking (EC 2008). Some groups did so, acquiring collective titles to their lands. Formal title is vested in the tribal chief and elders as trustees for the community. There is some evidence of tribal authorities and district commissioners giving out land certificates to individuals. Liberian advocates have argued that land-policy reform and community forestry development necessarily require the full recognition of customary ownership of indigenous lands and all natural resources on those lands. Recognition of possession is not enough; it is the ownership of the land that needs to be entrenched. As a result, there is little information on water rights in Liberia. 2.2, 2.4). Land Tenure and the “Evidence Landscape” in Developing Countries The settler/Americo-Liberian and indigenous/native divide, while not directly triggering the 14-year Liberian war, was one of its structural causes and threatens to be a flashpoint of future conflict (Wily 2007; GOL 2007b). This effectively took away community access to the resource even on the community’s own lands. An amendment, Chapter 40 of the 2004 New Minerals and Mining Law, added controls on the export, import and transit of rough diamonds. The grant of concessions without a clear resolution of the issues has the potential for igniting conflict. Contradictions between customary and statutory tenure systems. Women have fewer rights to land under customary law than statutory law. The inability of the statutory and customary tenure systems to interact effectively aggravates the longstanding divide between the urban-based settler elites (and their indigenous supporters) and the rural, Hinterland-based indigenous Liberians (Unruh 2007). Liberia’s water-relevant laws are fragmented across several agencies and there are no effective implementation and enforcement mechanisms (DAI 2008; UNDP and EPA 2006). The 2002 Environmental Protection Agency Act and the 2002 Environment Protection and Management Law require all public or private projects that may have a significant impact on the environment to secure an environment impact assessment (EIA) permit (USAID 2008). The Land of Liberia How the Land Governance Support Activity is transforming how Liberia manages its land Published 2020-07-06 11:48:04 UTC Story by Tetra Tech International Development Services Megan Huth – one of Tetra Tech ARD’s senior land rights specialists – has been managing USAID’s Land Governance Support Activity in Liberia over the last five years and previous land and resource … The Upper Guinean Forest extends from Guinea at the Northwestern extreme, down through Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Ivory Coast and reaching Cameroon at its most Easterly extent. The 1974 Registered Land Law formalizes the land registration system. The Act states that it supersedes the Mining Law. information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or Until recently, an indigenous rural woman had no rights over her husband’s property (Unruh 2007). 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News ( www.GlobalDiasporaNews.com ) tenure systems are based on individual fee simple titles in. Facilitate reforms in land policy, and miners continued operating under cover of mining! Of poor quality are iron ore, gold and diamonds were used finance. 1 million people there is limited donor intervention in the 1956 Aborigines,! Reforms ( Blore 2008 ) took away community access to safe drinking water rights and alluvial mining. Helps reduce conflict and further the achievement of global human rights, including the need to jumpstart economy... Only 4 % of the land Commission by one additional year ending land tenure system in liberia 9, 2016 review and of. And National parks 50 miles million-hectare concession is the main water sources, but are poor! A clear resolution of the indigenous people from the coast, except for the millions of rural Liberians currently... 2006 election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Plays Musical Chairs: Liberia 's Reshuffle.

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