Land Governance Support Activity (LGSA) Quarterly Report: October – December 2016

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 two project work plan continues to support USAID’s engagement in the sector. While the Liberia Land Authority Act passed the legislature and was signed into law by the President in early October no appointments of Commissioners nor of a Transition Committee were made by the end of the quarter.

Nonetheless LGSA continued to implement components of its year two work plan focusing on the two broad Activity objectives: the land governance structure (i.e. establishing and operationalizing the Liberia Land Authority [LLA]) and the development and testing of a methodology for implementation of the Land Rights Policy (Law), specifically around the recognition of customary tenure.

Working within this broad framework of the Liberia Land Authority Act, the LGSA Land Governance Advisor and Land Administration Specialist developed a draft organizational structure which delineates the functions of each department and unit under that department as well as staffing requirements. This draft organizational structure, including staff structure and functions of departments and sub units was completed during this quarter. LGSA has also finalized an implementation strategy for the transition team during this quarter which will become a working document for the Transition Committee once it is established and will be revised accordingly.

During the first year of LGSA the project developed a set of research topics to inform the process for the recognition of customary land. Seven broad research topics were identified and research was undertaken on six of the seven. LGSA hosted a two day workshop in early November focused on research findings and the next steps for LGSA activities around the process for recognition of customary land. LGSA partners presented findings of studies on boundary identification and negotiations, current land dispute resolution models, models for community land governance, women’s land rights, definition of community membership, and the political ecology of land and agriculture concessions in Liberia. A number of these research activities are ongoing, having been broadened into
other geographical areas to ensure the ability to generalize findings for future pilot site selection.

LGSA concluded its regional media training program for broadcast journalists as well as hosted the first National Media Conference on Land. Public information is a critical component of the land reform agenda and feedback from all workshops indicated the enormity of the task ahead.

LGSA also continued its support for the Women’s Land Rights Task Force and its engagement with government agencies and members of the civil society and non-governmental organization communities.