Liberia: Land Authority Takes Awareness, Sensitization Campaign to Bong
Gbarnga, Bong County – Awareness and sensitization on public land sale and inventory are being highlighted in Gbarnga by the Liberia Land Authority with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO).
Report by Selma Lomax, [email protected]
The workshop, which is held under the theme ‘Securing Public Land for Economic Development’, is aimed at minimizing land degradation by basing land use on its capability for future development.
According to Kulah L. Jackson, Commissioner for Land Policy, land use securing public land for economic development not only supports development initiatives but also encourages sustainability and fosters economic growth, leading to improvements in living standards.
He added that “appropriate adaptation measures and mitigation efforts” can protect the land and livelihoods and infrastructure on the country’s agriculture economy.
Kulah admonished participants to apply the knowledge gained from the three-day exercise, and said local authorities who are attending the workshop should understand the significance of acquiring and managing Public Land.
Cllr. Jackson then admonished citizens, who are involved in occupying public lands without title deed, to report to the LLA for consultation in order to avoid potential land conflict.
Giving the objectives of the awareness workshop, the commissioner with the oversight of Land Use and Management at the LLA Commissioner Ellen O. Pratt told the participants that the workshop was vital because since the LLA was established in October of 2016 and with the subsequent passage of the Land Rights Act of 2018, not many people know the workings of the LLA.
He said the workshop allows participants to know “the four different categories of land ownership, to recognize the customary land rights, strengthening ownership rights and management for women”, among others.
She added that the workshop intends to inform local authorities on the categories of land as enshrined in the Land Rights Act of 2018 with specific focus on public land and to ensure that local authorities properly manage public land in keeping with the Land Rights Act of 2018.
She said the awareness workshop is “meant to curtail and abate the haphazard sale of Public Land” allegedly by some local authorities and other individuals; to also strengthen communities’ information capacities in the implementation of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) and the role of the communities in safeguarding Public Land.
Bong County Superintendent Esther Y. Walker, who is also attending the exercise, extolled the LLA and partners for the workshop and said it will help to abate the sale of public land allegedly by some local authorities and their turncoats.
Some relevant topics that are being discussed include, gender equality and land rights, understanding the institutional and organizational arrangements of the LLA, including county land offices and Land Boards.
The importance of public land and how the communities can assist in managing and safeguarding this category of land for future use and meanings and distinction between the four categories of land under the Land Rights Act of 2018, she said.
The workshop has brought together judicial actors, civil society organizations, representatives from the Liberia Land Authority, the local Land Commissioners as well as local surveyors of Bong County.
Facilitators are from the UNDP and the Liberia Land Authority.