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Donors discuss land issues and support for Land Authority

Jos Garneo Cephas-Development Journalist
The Chairman of the Liberia Land Authority, Dr. Othello Brandy (right-Left) with the EU-Head of Operations, Alberto Menghini and the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General (SRSG)to Liberia, Farid Zarid.
The Chairman of the Liberia Land Authority, Dr. Othello Brandy (right-Left) with the EU-Head of Operations, Alberto Menghini and the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General (SRSG)to Liberia, Farid Zarid.

MONROVIA-LIBERIA-A one day land donor working group meeting to discuss land issues and support for the newly established Liberia Land Authority was held on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, at the headquarters of the Authority.

Several development partners present at the meeting, including the United Nations Mission in Liberia, EU, USAID, World Bank, FAO, SIDA, UNDP, ECA/LPI, assured the Authority of their unflinching support to help stand up the new agency in order to meet the objectives for which it was established.

The Chairman of the Liberia Land Authority, Dr. C. T. O. Brandy, in his briefing statement, gave an overview of current developments in land reform, including on planned and on-going donor support to the sector and the Authority.

He expressed gratitude to the donors and said he looks forward for more assistance to enable the LLA perform its work during the twelve (12) month transition period, as prescribed by the Act, and beyond.

LLA senior management and representatives of donors at the meeting

Dr. Brandy also informed the donors that he was grateful to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for the appointment of the members of the Transitional Committee, which will take actions towards the full establishment of the Authority as required by the Act.

He said: “The implementation of activities of the twelve month transition period of the Land Authority, in spite of initial challenges, is progressive and remains on course.”

Among the many activities of the transition period will be the transfer of land functions from key land administration agencies, such as the Department of Lands, Survey and Cartography of the Ministry of Mines and Energy and the Center for National Document and Record Agency.

Chairman Brandy then appealed to participants at the well-attended meeting to be mindful of overlaps and avoid duplication during implementation of their various projects. He further added that going forward, the Authority, as the coordinating agency for land matters in the country, will ensure that a coordination mechanism is established.

Also speaking was the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General (SRSG) to Liberia, Farid Zarid, who informed the meeting that in addition to UNMIL support for outreach on the Authority and the Land Rights Bill through its Quick Impact Project mechanism, the Mission will support the Authority through UNDP with financial resources to further undertake outreach activities and pilot decentralized land governance structures, such as the establishment of county land boards.

He lauded the efforts of the Government of Liberia towards the transitional process, in particular the recent appointment of another commissioner by the President and the establishment of the Transitional Committee by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, he called on the Legislature to pass the Land Rights Bill, which offers enormous benefits to Liberia, including economic empowerment, peace and wealth creation.

The SRSG, who considers land reform as a strong reconciliation process, also praised local CSOs, donor organizations, and the staff of the Land Authority for the work they continue to carry out in support of land reform.

In separate remarks, the representatives of donors present described their areas of support to the sector and the Authority and specific on-going and planned activities.

 

 

(R-L) Dr. Wordsworth Odame Larbi Odame Larbi, of LPI with responsibilities for West Africa, Ms. Lashea Howard-Clinton, of the Natural Resources and Sustainable Development Cluster & Economic Agreements (ECA) and Mamoudou Sebego of RSO West Africa.

 

The donor working group meeting was also attended by the representatives of two missions: the World Bank supported Liberia Land Administration Project Appraisal Team and the Technical Mission Team of the Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) and the Land Policy Initiative (LPI) of the African Union.

The team from the WB is in the country to complete the project appraisal document (PAD) for a five (5) year support project to be implemented by the Authority, while the ECA/LPI team is in Liberia on an assessment mission which will lead to possible support to the Authority in the areas of human and institutional capacity building.

The representatives of both missions lauded the Government of Liberia for the success made in land reform in a relatively short period of time and promised their respective institutions’ support to the Authority.

 


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