The Liberia Land Authority (LLA) with funding from the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), conducts a three-day engagement with citizens in Gbarnga, Bong County.
The exercise is part of efforts to create awareness amongst the people about the significance of public land and how communities can assist in managing and safeguarding the lands for proper and future use.
The three-day event held under the theme: “Securing Public Land for Economic Development,” brings together judicial actors, representatives from civil society organizations (CSOs), the LLA, local Land Commissioners, as well as local surveyors from Bong, Grand Bassa and Montserrado counties.
Speaking on behalf of the Resident Representative, Pa Lamin Beyai, UNDP Programme Analyst Robert Dorliae told the 125 participants to ensure that their deliberations focus on how to use the country’s land space for the promotion of peace and social cohesion for sustainable development in Liberia.
Dorliae said it was important for the people of Liberia to use their rich God given land for the economic benefits of the country and its people and not to promote any form of violence and disunity amongst them.
He said the public awareness campaign is one of the unique ways the people will be empowered with the needed information about their rights, responsibilities and benefits as provided by the Land Rights and other laws in Liberia.
“It is time that the Land Rights law be summarized and simplified in different vernaculars for the understanding of every Liberian, as the basis for the prevention of conflict in the country,” Dorliae noted.
He urged the beneficiaries to serve as ambassadors in their various counties and communities for the promotion of peace and social cohesion for the development of Liberia.
For his part, LLA Commissioner for Land Policy and Planning, Cllr. Kula L. Jackson, encouraged participants to apply every knowledge gained from the three-day event, noting that local authorities, who are attending the workshop, should understand the significance of acquiring and managing public land.
Cllr. Jackson told the people occupying public lands without title deeds, to go to the LLA for consultation aimed at avoiding potential land conflict and embarrassment.
Also speaking, Bong County Superintendent Esther Y. Walker thanked the LLA, UNDP and other partners for organizing the workshop in Bong County.
Superintendent Walker said the exercise will help to reduce the rampant sale of public land allegedly by some local authorities.
In her presentation, UNDP Gender Advisor, Chantal Ekambi said lands are usually unevenly distributed among women, people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups being affected.
She encouraged female participants at the gathering to discuss those issues that continue to affect them and how these issues can be addressed.
Topics covered include, gender equality and land rights; understanding the institutional and organizational arrangements of the LLA- county land offices, land boards; the importance of public land, and how communities can assist in managing and safeguarding this category of land for future use; meaning, distinction between the four categories of land under the Land Rights Act of 2018 among others.