Conference On Land Tenure Opens In Monrovia…FAO Urges For Stronger Governance

A conference intended to begin a process of raising awareness on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security for Liberia got underway yesterday in Sinkor, Monrovia.

The gathering, which is the first of its kind for the country, brings together over 100 national and international stakeholders including universities, government agencies, the private sector, civil society organizations, the United Nations as well as sector national NGOs.

Addressing the conference at the start of deliberations yesterday, the Country Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Mr. Jean-Alexandre Scaglia, admonished participants “to highlight the issues and come out with clearer roadmaps for Liberia that would give agriculture sector investors and farmers greater confidence to invest more in crop production, fisheries, and forestry.”

He said Liberia and its partners were aware that the attainment of food security and the availability of food for all – where no one sleeps hungry – is heavily dependent on how farmers and community people gain access to land, fisheries, and forests.

The FAO boss then emphasized the need for stronger governance of tenure of land, fisheries, and forests. He further said: “While supporting efforts towards the eradication of hunger and poverty, the Guidelines are also intended to contribute to achieving sustainable livelihoods, social stability, housing security, rural development, environmental protection and sustainable social and economic development.”

Liberia Land Commission Chairman, Dr. C. Othello Brandy, expressed the Commission’s commitment to supporting the Voluntary Guidelines and the tenure rights for the Country. He disclosed that the Commission has put in place measures that are in line with the aims and objectives of the Voluntary Guidelines for the benefit of all Liberians.

For his part, Sen. Fredrick Cherue, Senate Committee Chair on Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries informed the conference that in 2012 Liberia subscribed to the endorsement to regulate the Voluntary Guidelines. He praised the efforts of the stakeholders in organizing the conference for the betterment of the country.

The Guidelines were negotiated in the forum of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in order to improve tenure security, and were endorsed in May 2012. The Voluntary Guidelines provide the first global consensus on universally applicable standards for the recognition and protection of tenure rights.

Organized by FAO, the Liberia Land Commission, and  partners, the conference is the first of three in Liberia. The workshop series objective is to increase the government and citizen’s ability to understand, administer, secure and transfer tenure rights, in accordance with the principles contained in the Guidelines.

The initiative is funded by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture of the Federal Republic of Germany.