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LLA, FDA Sign MoU For Land Formalization For Community Ownership

The Forestry Development Authority (FDA) and the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate and define the scope of land formalization for customary lands adjoining protected areas (PAs) and proposed protected areas (PPAs) across Liberia.

Notably, the MoU, after several months of discussions between the two entities, clarifies the basis on how the formalization of land will be carried out around PAs and PPAs, defines the scope of collaboration between LLA and FDA, and establishes a mechanism for facilitating and funding land formalization within these forest landscapes.

Additionally, the established mechanism, customary community land ownership surrounding or adjoining PAs and PPAs will also be formalized, as the MoU captures the goal of “Power to the People” as envisaged in the government’s developmental framework document.

It can be recalled that prior to the enactment of the Land Rights Act (LRA) in 2018, the issue of land tenure across these forest landscapes was unclarified, as ownership of forests was only granted to communities by the government through the Community Rights Law (CRL) with Respect to Forest Land in 2009.

The Land Rights Act recognizes proposed protected areas and protected areas that existed before its enactment and are generally considered government land.

However, the existence of PPAs adjoining communities whose land areas have not been defined or formalised and communities within and or surrounding the PPAs presented challenges in terms of methods and approaches for land formalization within these landscapes.

Making remark during the signing ceremony at a resort in Sinkor, FDA Managing Director, C. Mike Doryen, expressed excitement about the increased collaboration between the FDA and LLA.

He further extolled the Chairman of the LLA for putting the interests of the community first and agreeing to collaborate towards the protection of Liberia’s forest resources and rich biodiversity, which are already under severe threat.

For his part, the LLA Chairman, Atty. J. Adams Manobah, Sr., said he was delighted in being able to work collaboratively with the FDA to protect Liberia’s natural resources while, at the same time, ensuring that adjoining communities are not negatively impacted.

“This is a win-win situation for everyone, and we must demonstrate that conservation does not mean negative impacts on the host community,” he concluded.

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