The National Bureau of Concession (NBC), with support from UNDP Extractive Project, organized a two-day national forum in Monrovia, (December 13-14).
It brought together eight Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MSPs) from Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Grand Bassa, Maryland, Grand Kru, Nimba and Sinoe counties.
The exercise formed part of efforts to manage concession-related conflicts and improve community engagements in concession management.
Concession Companies in Liberia are experiencing setbacks in their undertakings due to multiple conflicts between them and the community people.
As a result, these companies have either lost properties worth millions of United States Dollars or cannot meet up with their respective production targets. Government has not been able to raise the much needed revenue and royalties from concession companies to enhance its national agenda.
Communities on the other hand are not getting the required benefits from concession companies as expected. There are multiple sources of grievances that give rise to land concession conflicts in Liberia.
In an effort to mitigate conflicts between concessionaires and community people, the National Bureau of concessions (NBC), with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) established eight (8) Multi-Stakeholders Platforms (MSPs) around six (6) concession companies in seven (7) counties. Each MSP comprised of twenty (20) members representing each community including their leadership.
During the two-day event held in Monrovia, over 300 MSPs were given the platform to share best practices, challenges and experiences on how to formalize, operationalize, monitor and respond effectively to conflict situations in their respective communities.
NBC Chairman Gregory Coleman applauded MSPs for using the appropriate platforms and working together to engage concessionaires on issues affecting their livelihoods.
"The peaceful approach is a demonstration of your commitment, sacrifice and love for your Country to make it work," Coleman noted.
The Policy Associate of UNDP's Extractive Project, Agatha Kollie, called on members of MSPs to continue to work together to solve problems in a peaceful manner, despite their differences.
According to Ms. Kollie, UNDP is working with MSPs to ensure that all eight networks become legal entities through articles of incorporation.
The National Bureau of Concession (NBC) along with its partners have trained these MSPs in conflict management and resolution so that they can serve as mediators between the concession companies and the communities.
Since the establishment of the MSPs, there has been relative calm in concession areas.