Harmonizing Boundaries: Effective Negotiation Procedures to Delimit, Demarcate and Resolve Disputes over Boundaries

This report on Harmonizing Boundaries: Effective Negotiation Procedures for Delimiting, Demarcating and Resolving Boundary Disputes provides information that can be used by individuals, families, clans, communities, towns/villages and political entities to delineate and demarcate boundaries. While prepared as a contribution toward implementation of Liberia’s new Land Policy and Land Rights Act, the latter of which is currently a bill that details procedures for legal recognition of customary land rights, procedures in the report can be used in a variety of contexts and countries where parties want to harmonize either internal or external boundaries.

In April 2016, the LGSA recommended to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Liberia’s Interim Land Task Force (ILTF) that an activity be initiated to assist the Government of Liberia and customary communities identify boundaries between communities as part of the customary land recognition process.

The report is divided into several sections. Section 1.0 provides an overview of boundaries, why they are important, and considerations for their delineation and demarcation. Section 2.0 outlines procedures communities or other entities can use to negotiate agreements on internal boundaries and those with neighbors. Section 3.0 describes issues or disputes that may result in the context of boundary harmonization and potential negotiation procedures to resolve them. Section 4.0 provides information on technical assistance and technologies that can be used to delineate, demarcate and resolve boundary disputes. Section 5.0 describes procedures parties can use to promote voluntary compliance with agreements over boundaries. Section 6.0 details procedures to settle boundary disputes when involved parties are not able to reach agreements on their own. Appendices provide information on statutory documents related to Liberian land law, and field notes from studies of 12 Liberian communities that have engaged in boundary harmonization activities.


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