Multi-Stakeholder Platform Members commit to peace in concession communities

Jun 26, 2017

Community dwellers of various concession areas in Liberia have promised not to use violence to solve any future problems.

Project affected community members from concession areas in Sinoe, Nimba, Maryland and Grand Cape Mount Counties resolved to channel their grievances through their leaderships organized by the National Bureau of Concessions (NBC). The resolution was made at the end of a two-day national multi-stakeholders Platform meeting in Monrovia.

The meeting was organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the National Bureau of Concession (NBC).

It was designed to strengthen concession monitoring and prevention capabilities of participants by providing space for experiential learning on how to formalize, operationalize and monitor the activities of MSPs in response.

It is part of activities on ‘Strengthening National Reconciliation through Improved Understanding of Conflict Drivers in Concession Areas and the Establishment of Multi-Stakeholder Platforms under the Assessed Contribution Project.

Under the theme “Improving Citizen’s Engagement in Concessions Management, delegates pledged to work with concessionaires to avoid conflict.

The participating concession communities in their recommendations said, “We want the passage of the Land Rights Bill with urgency because it gives communities the right to own land so that community dwellers will have something to protect them.

The concession communities also recommended uninterrupted engagements with residents to ensure that the youth and unborn generations understand concession agreements between the investor and the government of Liberia.

“I am going back to my community to serve as an ambassador for peace. I will hold discussions with women in my community and explain the benefits of living at peace with the concessionaires.” Celestal Kortee Toby said as she reflected on the knowledge gained from the just ended National Multi-Stake holder Platform Meeting on Land Concession Management held in Monrovia .

Toby, the Co-chair of the United Community Initiative (UCI), noted that the meeting was a springboard towards helping the locals understand the processes leading to the signing of a concession agreement.

“What we have learned here, will go a long way in reducing tensions between the concessionaires and the locals. “Noted Celeste, who is from Sinoe County, home of the Golden Veroleum Oil Palm concession.

“We will use traditional means of communication, to explain what we have learned here to our people in the interior” David Gono, a member of a local multi-stakeholder platform in Nimba County assured.

“Information-sharing among the government, concessionaires and the communities is a basic tool that can also promote harmony. And this is the one common message we are taking back to our people “

Speaking at the program, UNDP Resident Representative and Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations in Liberia Yacoub Hillo, stressed the urgent need for issues surrounding land to be adequately addressed as a means of maintaining peace and stability across the Country.

“The tenure and concession issues around land are the main drivers of conflict that need urgent attention” stated Mr. Hillo.

At the same time, the Director General of the National Bureau of Concessions (NBC), said it was important that citizens participate in dialogue instead of engaging in violence in concession areas.

“It is important for the citizens to understand what is in the agreement, and what their roles are, and how they can interact with concessionaires and the government without using violence. When people don’t understand what is in the agreement and don’t have a place to go in order to resolve grievances, then, they take their frustrations out on the concession,” Ciatta Bishop intimated.

The Head of Peace Consolidation Section of UNMIL Francis Kaikai observed that the multi-stakeholder platform meeting was a further indication of progress being made in the consolidation of peace in the country.

He reminded the MSP members that they have crucial roles to play in promoting communal harmony.

Contact

For further information, contact:

Christiana Solomon-Project Manager- Extractive Industries for Sustainable Development/Email: christiana.solomon@undp.org Tel +2310770003859/0886468220

Augusta Pshorr –Communications Analyst E-mail: augusta.pshorr@undp.orgTel: +231-770-003-819/886-521-425

Sam Zota –National UNV Communications Associate Email: sam.zota@undp.org Tel: +231-886-474-563/770175162

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