Land Governance Support Activity (LGSA) Quarterly Report: January – March 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, two commissioners were appointed to and confirmed on the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) and another three are anticipated to be confirmed in the coming quarter.

LGSA provided technical support to the LLA, in its development of an organizational structure and staffing chart, Year 1 budget, five-year work plan and budget, legal and regulatory reform processes, and transition plan for the LLA once all commissioners are confirmed. Though the exact mechanism/locations for decentralization have yet to be decided, LGSA supported the LLA’s eventual decentralization process, over the quarter, by creating criteria necessary to establish pilot regional land offices. Further refinement of the criteria is anticipated next quarter. Finally with respect to the support to the LLA, LGSA drafted terms of reference for the establishment of and activities to be implemented by a Data Standards Committee.

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.

During the quarter, LGSA maintained contact with and provided technical support to journalists who were trained in the previous quarter on reporting on the land sector. The LLA and Parley, with support from the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), held four one-day regional awareness trainings on the Liberia Land Authority Act and Land Rights Bill among various stakeholders, along with a total of 40 previously-trained land sector journalists. LGSA staff also met with female chiefs and elders in five counties to encourage communities to engage their respective law makers to pass the Land Rights Bill into law. Similarly, LGSA-trained deejays aired land specific content on 16 radio stations across 11 counties, with much of it focused on the importance of passing the Land Rights Bill.

LGSA continued its support to the Women’s Land Rights Taskforce (WLRTF) and Civil Society Working Group, particularly through a joint review of the Land Rights Bill and subsequent presentation to the LLA on areas of concern and recommended changes. LGSA also provided assistance to the WLRTF in developing a concept note and budget, so that the taskforce can sustain itself.

Forty-nine private and public land surveyors received training this quarter via two courses – Processional Practice for Land Surveyors and Establishing a Private Practice in Surveying and Mapping – in Bomi and Margibi. These trainings had the added benefit of starting the development of a Code of Ethics/Conduct for the Association of Public Land Surveyors of Liberia (APLSUL) and private surveyors.