Land Governance Support Activity (LGSA) Quarterly Report: April – June 2017

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, Collaborative Decision Resources 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.

The Year 2 project work plan continues to support USAID’s engagement in the sector. The Liberia Land Authority Act passed the Legislature and was signed into law by the President in October 2016, and in the last quarter, a third commissioner was appointed to and confirmed on the Liberia Land Authority (LLA), so as to form a quorum of commissioners, which the LLA was waiting for to further advance its implementation. Shortly after the Senate confirmed the third commissioner, the LLA hired its Executive Director.

LGSA provided technical support to the LLA, in its development of a logo, organizational structure and staffing chart, Year 1 budget, five-year work plan and budget, legal and regulatory reform processes, conceptual design for a Regional Land Governance Office (RLGO) and transition plan, now that a Transition Committee has been appointed by the President.

Support for the passage of the Land Rights Act (LRA) continued this quarter, with LGSA providing editorial support for language contained in the LRA as well as facilitating a public hearing on May 22, 2017. The LRA has subsequently been published in the newspaper and more consultations are anticipated in Quarter 4.

LGSA partners SDI and Parley and the GOL continue to work to improve community-based procedures for and conduct public outreach on customary land recognition based on their existing process as well as the findings of the research conducted by LGSA. The focus of both Parley and SDI’s efforts has been on issues surrounding boundary identification, boundary harmonization, and testing mobile mapping tools, in their respective areas and communities. LGSA also worked with a Land Rights Advisor to review the Tenure Facility’s community self-identification methodology, USAID’s PROSPER project and other Tetra Tech experiences to best learn from programs focused on community land rights and forestry.

LGSA and its partner, Landesa, conducted research for an upcoming report on Women’s Land Rights. The research team traveled to Grand Bassa, Nimba, and Maryland counties in April and May 2017. The Women’s Land Rights Taskforce (WLRTF) and Civil Society Working Group used some of these findings to inform priorities to present at the public hearing of the LRA. In addition, a key finding – the strong majority of marriages upcountry are presumptive marriages – informed the WLRTF collaboration with the Governance Commission, and presumptive marriage will be part of a constitutional amendment in the upcoming constitutional referendum.

LGSA conducted a nationwide media campaign this quarter that reached 14 of 15 counties, with activities in the final county, Montserrado, to conclude early next quarter. The focus of the campaign was on raising awareness on the Criminal Conveyance Act and the benefits of passing the LRA. LGSA developed eight new materials and conducted 74 activities over the course of the campaign. LGSA also supported the Press Union of Liberia’s Media Awards in June 2017 by providing prizes for exceptional reporting on the Land Sector.

LGSA hosted a variety of stakeholders in a two-day strategic planning session in support of developing a valuer and appraiser entity that will be responsible for ensuring standards and methods of regulatory organizations. This eventual valuer and appraiser entity will contain a Board of Accreditation and Certification that will be responsible for maintaining standards and methods.