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The Liberia Land Authority(LLA), with support from the joint United Nations Peace Building Support Programme, will on 2 December 2021, commence a historic land survey in Grand Cape Mount, Maryland, Nimba, and Sinoe counties, paving the way for the issuance of the country’s first-ever legally recognized title deeds to the indigenous community for communally held land.

This is the first time in the country’s history that the government will formally recognize traditional land ownership. It is expected to end centennial tensions between communities, and between communities and companies that are being granted mining and farming concessions with little regard, involvement, or consultation with local communities.

“The boundary harmonization and confirmatory land survey is a major milestone for consolidating Liberia’s fragile peace and preventing future conflicts centering on land demarcation and ownership. It sets the stage for greater social cohesion, and promotes national reconciliation required to spur sustainable development,’’ says UNDP Liberia Deputy Resident Representative for Programme Violet Baffour.

The boundary harmonization and confirming survey will lead to the issuance of legally probated titled land deeds to communities, in effect displacing the informal administration of land that is often challenged in courts of law. The survey will identify and clarify all existing boundary points between and amongst adjacent communities, including the disputed boundaries in the targeted counties.

UNDP, UN-Women, and the World Food Program (WFP), with funding from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), are supporting the survey. It also aims at strengthening the institutional capacities of Liberia’s Land Authority to implement the Land Rights Act and the Local Government Act.

“The issuance of community land title deeds is one of the dividends of peace that will bring about yet a more peaceful social cohesion within and between communities. The LLA should go a step further to put in place effective and sustained measures for land management and prompt resolution of land disputes,” said Baffour. 

Ms. Baffour asked the Government of Liberia to allocate adequate budgetary resources for more confirmatory surveys in the other counties of Liberia so that long-standing land disputes are settled in a peaceful manner with due respect for the rule of law.

Conflicts over land were one of the factors that fueled the protracted 14-year civil war in Liberia. Land disputes have degenerated into violent conflicts between people and communities, with the destruction of property, the loss of lives, and displacement.

The launch of the confirmatory survey sets the basis for encouraging other counties to emulate the use of non-violent approaches such as land survey and titling to settle land conflicts.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/lla-holds-seminar-on-womens-rights-to-land/

Source of original article: The New Dawn Liberia (thenewdawnliberia.com).
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