Indeed, the government has allocated an estimated 73% of land to concessions for logging, mining, and large-scale agriculture, often resulting in the displacement of communities or restriction of their livelihoods. Yet clearly, reform of the land tenure system is also a priority of Government. The New Mining Law of 2000 (promulgated in 2005) reiterates state ownership of all mineral resources, and provides an exploration and licensing system for mining. Cross-border smuggling is rampant. About one-third of the population lives in rural areas and depends on forests for farmland, animal protein (bushmeat), timber, traditional medicines, energy (wood-derived domestic fuels), and healthy watersheds for fish and clean water. 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. In practice, however, some indigenous people obtained ownership title stated in terms of fee simple. The Four (4) exclusive categories of Land ownership in Liberia are: a) Public Land; b) Government Land; 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). Neither of these is fee simple ownership. Large-scale displacement during the civil war resulted in the growth of slums and illegal home occupations in urban and peri-urban areas. Liberia faces numerous environmental challenges including land degradation, fragmentation, deforestation, soil erosion, and pollution. Share the following information on land tenure in Liberia: o Land tenure is the relationship between people and land. Small-scale artisanal operations typically involve the digging of pits within alluvial river channels. Likewise, local communities have no parity of bargaining power with concession holders and have no control over fundamental aspects of the social agreements. The law also reiterates the Constitutional provision allowing women to retain land brought into the marriage (GOL Equal Rights of the Customary Marriage Law 2009a; Abril 2007). This pattern obtained from the level of high nobility as vassals of a monarch down … 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). 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. The biggest threats to Liberia’s forests are uncontrolled logging and the expansion of land for agricultural purposes (including shifting cultivation). Individual miners exploit gravel beds that lie on or near the surface. Land issues contributed to the devastating Liberian Civil War (1989 – 2003) and, though the conflict ended fourteen years ago, security of tenure has not been achieved for most rural dwellers. This effectively took away community access to the resource even on the community’s own lands. CUSTOMARY LAND TENURE IN LIBERIA: FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS DRAWN FROM 11 CASE STUDIES . The Forest Development Authority is the main forestry institution. in 2009 to explore and analyze Liberia’s land tenure issues and propose policy and legal reform. 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. 2005; Tefft 2005). Some of the objectives of the Land Commission are to ensure, among other things; security of tenure in land and the rule of law; and effective land administration and management (Section 3.1) 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). There are also numerous micro-watersheds and sub-watersheds. USAID is shifting its aid focus from post-conflict relief projects to reconstruction and development. Under the Aborigines Law, ownership of all lands not otherwise privately titled or deeded became vested with the state. The 1904 Public Lands Law (last amended in 1972) lays down the procedures for the purchase, allotment to aborigines (indigenous peoples), or lease to foreigners of public lands, and the procedures for claiming back land that has reverted to the government (Wily 2007). The government’s goal is to rapidly expand mining to jumpstart the economy and development through the formalization of small-scale operations based on cooperative schemes, and by improving the efficiency of recovery methods of alluvial mining and production from medium-to large-scale operations (GOL 2008c). It empowers the government to designate areas for adjudication and registration, and requires landholders to register landholdings (Wily 2007). Lands that were not occupied, actively cultivated or privately titled were deemed public lands owned by the state (the definition of tribal was debatable). Research reveals that there are now more indigenous tribes working to get formal collective titles to their lands (Wily 2007). Liberia accounts for more than half of … 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. Disincentives to land investments stem primarily from tenure insecurity resulting from confusion regarding formal and customary tenure systems, and poor land administration systems, particularly the lack of a national land registry (Unruh 2007). The government is currently focused on emergency repairs of water systems and infrastructure. Liberia is administratively divided into 15 counties. 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. These include the development of infrastructure (roads, electricity), schools, job creation and transition from war, civil conflict and social polarization to Throughout coastal Liberia, the urban elites use a Western statutory system of land ownership based on individual fee simple titles. Waterborne diseases are major problems (UNDP and EPA 2006; DAI 2008). By tradition, women and children are responsible for fetching water for the family, spending several hours each day on the activity. Women are also involved in small-scale fish-processing, mainly fish-smoking (EC 2008). The donor community in Liberia is transitioning from relief aid to development aid. The majority of proposed sites for the resumption of logging and the creation of additional conservation areas are within these various collective deeds (Lomax 2008; Wily 2007). In 2005, the capital city of Monrovia hosted 40% of internally displaced persons (IDPs) (GOL 2008c; Tefft 2005). In August 2009, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf signed into law An Act to Establish the Land Commission. There are no in-depth studies on freshwater resources or water tenure. Addressing gender divisions of land ownership is also essential to improving rural livelihoods. An undetermined portion of County Liberia remains under the control of the indigenous population (Wily 2007). 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. There is also a lack of recognition or appreciation for the role of freshwater wetlands in providing ecosystem services (DAI 2008). Half were owners of their land (49 %), but other tenure systems were common, including borrowing the land from family or neighbors (15%), accessing land granted by the town chief (14%), and rental (9%). Improving Liberia's land tenure system is critical for poor urban and rural populations, whose rights to land and natural resources are tenuous. In practice, land held under customary regimes has long been considered “public land.”. At first, state policy recognized customary ownership as full ownership rights, whether or not formally titled. With the passage of this law, a widow will now inherit one-third of her deceased husband’s property regardless of the regime under which they were married, and daughters now gain equal rights to inherit land. In most cases, there are no post-extraction plans. 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. Before 1990, the mineral sector contributed more than 65% of export earnings and approximately 25% of GDP, mainly from iron-ore mining. Appraisal Project Information Document-Integrated Safeguards Data Sheet - Liberia Land Administration Project - P162893 (English) ... land administration system;Drivers of Economic Growth;Land Administration and Management;Environmental and Social Impact; safeguard policy; ... See More + Language English; Rel. The Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy coordinates and regulates all mining activities and issues mining licenses. Clearly the question raised is fundamental to the social fabric of the customary society, and it is an area that has to be reconciled. (Wily 2007). Since 2013, the Legislature has conducted multiple private and public consultations and public hearings. 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 … Proceeds from small-scale diamond mining largely financed the war (GOL 2008d). These included issues over customary ownership, ethnic land disputes (Mandingo issue), and issues stemming from poor land administration systems and capacity. The Land Commission constituted by the Governance Commission is expected to clarify the legal status of customary forest lands. 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. The land-tenure system reflects this division of the population. The dependence on forestry presents a unique environmental risk as Liberia’s forest is part of the West African Hotspot. Foremost, the National Forestry Reform Law disregards pre-existing customary ownership interests over forests recognized in earlier laws (Hinterland Law and Aborigines Law), some of which have been converted into formal collective titles. In effect, they had to buy back their lands from the government to acquire legal ownership. 23 World Bank “Liberia: Insecurity of land tenure, land law and land registration in Liberia” (report no 46134-LR) (22 October 2008) at 17. 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). All lands not formally titled became public lands owned by the state, paving the way to the grant of concessions of vast tracks of customary lands for logging, mining (iron ore), and rubber plantations, as well as the creation of national parks and reserves. 22 [a]). The World Bank, UNDP, the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Liberia Ministry of Labor are supporting the improvement of solid-waste management (DAI 2008). IDPs and refugees returning to their communities (including the capital, Monrovia) are finding their lands occupied by others, resulting in confrontational land claims and evictions (Gregory Myers and Timothy Fella, personal communication, 2010; Unruh 2007; GOL 2007b). There are approximately 600,000 hectares of freshwater swamplands, with about 20,000 hectares (3%) under cultivation to augment upland rice production. Women have fewer rights to land under customary law than statutory law. 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 term of the Land Commission expired in January 2016 when a new body, the Liberia Land … 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 … 2. Only 4% of rural households and 25% of urban households have access to safe drinking water. USAID is in a unique position through the LRCFP and other land tenure programs to provide technical and legal expertise that can help clarify the issues and their proper resolution for the Liberian Government. Latest land sector news delivered to your inbox. They often have no comparable alternative employment opportunities, and work in sub-standard conditions using low cost, simple tools. The Communal Holding is land that has been surveyed and deeded, but it is explicitly stated that the tribes cannot pass fee simple ownership by sale of the land to another person. The procedure is laid out in the Public Lands Law - Title 34 - Liberian Code of Laws Revised. The draft LRA recognizes the ownership of Customary Land, a complex system of land rights and principles which include: “the right to possess and use the land and all natural … The PRADD program will implement a land rights formalization methodology to help artisanal diamond miners achieve clear, secure and publicly-acknowledged rights to land and resources. This August marks the 14th anniversary of the Accra Peace Agreement, … The World Bank also provides technical assistance for land sector reforms to Liberia’s Governance and Economic Management Program (World Bank 2008). Since 1960, the Basic Agrarian Law provided that: about Johnson Sirleaf Plays Musical Chairs: Liberia's Superficial Reshuffle? Groundwater, though of relatively high quality, has not been fully developed. Dust-laden harmattan winds blow from the Sahara from December to March. A component of the program is assisting the high-level Governance Commission and developing policy proposals for administering community land-rights (USAID 2008). The Community Forestry Management Body is appointed by the Community Assembly which is composed of county legislators. The paper has been prepared primarily by Mike Winter … 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 … Emmanuel Urey, Landesa Women clear grass from a small palm-oil farm in Liberia. Other tribal lands, such as forest lands, remain open for members of the tribe (Wily 2007). Strangers, or those in the community who are not of local descent (such as temporary residents, sharecroppers, or a person marrying into a community), are also granted usufruct rights under certain conditions. “Liberia’s history of land disputes was an underlying driver of the nation’s civil war,” explains USAID’s Land Tenure and Conflict Advisor, Tim Fella. It prepared the 2007 National Integrated Water Resources Management Policy. Introduction Liberia faces numerous environmental challenges including land degradation, fragmentation, deforestation, soil erosion, and pollution. Liberia is rich in natural resources, including valuable timber species, significant biodiversity, and mineral resources, including iron ore, gold and diamonds. 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. 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. While key sector reforms have been introduced in the post-conflict period, there is still more work to be done with respect to land policy reform, land dispute resolution, legal recognition of customary rights and the promotion of community forestry development. Liberia is situated in the fragmented band of forest known as the ‘Upper Guinean Forest’. Read more about SDI response to recent media reports; African farms need help, but the G8’s plan is for landowners, not the poor . The 1986 Constitution (which replaced the 1847 Constitution) sets forth a citizenship requirement for land ownership, and with some exceptions limits citizenship to persons who are Negroes or of Negro descent. Land Tenure and the “Evidence Landscape” in Developing Countries Other estimates, such as that of the FAO, report a lower figure of 3.15 million hectares (2005). The Law amends contradictory provisions of the National Forestry Reform Law and establishes precedence over it. David Felson, an associate focused on land tenure and property rights with Tetra Tech International Development Services, reflects on the role of land resources management in Liberia and how secure property rights can promote stability, following decades of conflict. Even in 2007, some towns, clans and chiefdoms set out to secure collective ownership in fee simple by buying their own land back from the government (Wily 2007). There is no effective national water policy to guide resource development, use and conservation. The Forest Development Authority is poised to grant forest concessions amid protests from communities and civil society. information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or Forests cover about 45% of the total land area (CIA 2009; USDOS 2009; GOL 2006). 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. 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 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 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. The land tenure system follows this division. According to the Constitution, with the exception of benevolent, missionary and educational institutions, as well as diplomatic missions, foreigners may not own land. USAID also supports the rehabilitation of smallholder tree-crop farms of rubber, cocoa and palm oil (USAID 2008a). About 10% of the coastal area is held under long-term leases by large, mostly foreign-owned agribusiness interests. 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. The forestry policy states that community forestry will be of roughly equal priority to other uses, but the general legal framework and direction of government efforts clearly favor commercial forestry and conservation. There was considerable national debate on the bill (GOL Community Rights Law with Respect to Forest Lands 2009b; Wily 2008; Methot and Veit 2008). Vast areas of rubber concessions, amounting to hundreds of thousands of acres, remain undeveloped and idle, but cannot be accessed by traditional users (Unruh 2007). Feudal land tenure is a system of mutual obligations under which a royal or noble personage granted a fiefdom — some degree of interest in the use or revenues of a given parcel of land — in exchange for a claim on services such as military service or simply maintenance of the land in which the lord continued to have an interest. FigureÔ: Discontinuity in Liberia’s Land Tenure Regimes Tenure System Boundary 40-miles from Coast ... Land deals under the customary system require negotiating with local au-thorities under vague laws. Clan and Paramount Chiefs (heads of larger units) are primarily involved in land-dispute mediation (Wily 2007). Most are navigable up to 20 miles from the coast, except for the Cavalla, which is navigable up to 50 miles. o Liberia has had two … At the same time, the right of the tribe to exclude others is laid out clearly in the law. Searching for the transformation in Liberia. The first is the issue of the legal status of customary land rights, and the second is the issue of ownership of trees and other forest resources on community forest lands. Abstract To implement the vision of fostering economic development, social equity, and a transparent and effective government, the Government of Liberia has outlined key transitio The land-tenure system reflects this division of the population. Indigenous tribes rise up in violent rebellions to protect their territories. Read more about SDI response to recent media reports; African farms need help, but the G8’s plan is for landowners, not the poor . The statutory land tenure system in Liberia has had a long history of rural neglect, with laws and practices systematically excluding rural communities. 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… Under the previous land tenure system, as much as 80 percent of Liberians lived without legally recognized rights to land. Key authorities in the customary land administration system include the town chief and community elders. As part of its Liberia Threshold Program, MCC helped develop the country’s Land Rights Policy. 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