Land Governance Support Activity (LGSA) Annual Report: Year 1

The Land Governance Support Activity (LGSA) supports the establishment of more effective land governance systems, ready to implement comprehensive reforms to improve equitable access to land and security of tenure, so as to facilitate inclusive sustained growth and development, ensure peace and security, and provide sustainable management of the environment. Tetra Tech and partners Landesa, Namati, CDR Associates (CDR), Sustainable Development Institute (SDI), and Parley form a collaborative team providing technical and organizational assistance to the Government of Liberia (GOL), civil society, and communities in their land rights reform process.

Throughout the Year 1 work plan, LGSA made the assumption that the Land Rights Bill and Liberia Land Authority Bill would be passed in a timely fashion. While the Land Authority Bill passed the Senate in April it did not pass the House until late September. No action has been taken on the Land Rights Bill as the Legislature has now adjourned and will only reconvene in January 2017. The Land Commission’s mandate expired in early January 2016 and in late March was replaced by an Interim Land Task Force (ILTF) appointed by the President to institutionally bridge the gap between the Land Commission and the Liberia Land Authority. LGSA has updated its risk analysis and mitigation table in Section 1 to reflect the changing situation.

Delays in the legislative agenda have not had a significant impact on LGSA’s ability to continue project activities and meet the Year 1 objectives. In January 2016 LGSA consultant John Bruce completed his analysis of the legal reform process surrounding the land sector which reviewed the experiences of the Land Commission during its lifetime, but also developed a prioritization strategy for future policy, legal, and regulatory reform. LGSA completed institutional audits of the principle entities to be consolidated into the new Liberia Land Authority: the former Land Commission and Land Coordination Centers (LCCs), the Center for National Documents and Records Agency (CNDRA), the Department of Land, Surveys and Cartography of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, and the County Land Commissioners of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. At the request of the ILTF, LGSA also prepared a draft transition plan for the Liberia Land Authority. LGSA, in consultation with the ILTF, developed a learning agenda comprised of seven studies to broaden the understanding of issues surrounding customary land with the work focusing on the process of negotiating boundaries and boundary harmonization, an impact assessment of the establishment of community governance structures under previous People, Rules, and Organizations Supporting the Protection of Ecosystem Resources (PROSPER), SDI, and Land Commission activities, women’s land rights, the determination of community membership, and the economics of livelihoods in areas impacted upon by concessions.

LGSA has also developed the necessary monitoring and evaluation tools for data collection, analysis, and reporting; finalized a draft of a communication strategy for the land sector reform agenda and project implementation and worked to re-establish the Women’s Land Task Force and the Association of Public Land Surveyors of Liberia (APLSUL).

Administratively, all senior, administrative, and technical project staff have been hired. Weekly general staff meetings are held to keep all project staff abreast of project activities. Weekly technical staff meetings are also held to ensure coordination of field activities both technically as well as logistically. Financial management, procurement, and administrative procedures are in place and continue to be followed.