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Liberia

Suggestions from the Openness in Natural Resources Working Group

Background to Suggested National Action Plan (NAP) Commitments:


The Openness in Natural Resources Working Group has made a number of proposals for
Natural Resource commitments to the Liberian Government in the area of land and natural
resources. It has been clearly articulated by many experts1 that for the first time in Liberias
history a major milestone was achieved with the passage of the first ever Lands Right Policy in
Liberias history in 2013. This policy for the first time recognizes customary land rights
ownership and sets out an ambitious program of reform. We believe that OGP can serve as a
platform to boast opportunities for effective implementation of this policy in the areas of
transparency and public participation consistent with the goals of OGP. In addition we believe
that these commitments have the potential to have transformative outcomes as well as build on
ongoing national and international priorities including the achievement of the Sustainable
Development Goals2.

http://www.sdiliberia.org/sites/default/files/publications/Liberia%27s%20Land%20Rights%20Policy%202013_0.p
df ; http://www.gltn.net/index.php/our-news/gltn-news/243-liberia-s-first-land-rights-policy-presented-to-thegovernment
2

This commitment would additionally work to further the following sections of the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals:
12.2 - By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
12.8 - By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and
lifestyles in harmony with nature
6.6 - By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes
12.2 - By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
12.8 - By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and
lifestyles in harmony with nature
15.2 - By 2020, promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests, halt deforestation, restore
degraded forests, and increase afforestation and reforestation globally
15.4 - By 2030, ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity
to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development

OGP Openness in Natural Resources Working Group

Commitment 1: Make accessible to the public information on proposed


reforms in the land and natural resources sector.
The working group has recognized the good practices and guidelines laid by the Liberian Land
Commissions Land Rights Policy of 2013, particularly in regards to its participatory and
inclusive development. We suggest adopting a similar process of consultation for
implementation of these upcoming reforms in the land and natural resources sector; ones
which value the approach taken in the design of the policy and will help ensure that in the
future Liberias land sector is orderly, just, and contributes to economic growth and
development for all Liberians.
In addition to adequate consultation, the working group would like to see more thorough
publication and access to recently passed natural resource laws, such as the Petroleum Law
passed in December 2015 which is difficult to find and often still published in its 2002 version.

Suggested details:

Carry out a broad consultation process on all land or natural resource reforms
Record the policy discussions with transcripts or memoranda
Ensure consistency with the consultative process for the Land Rights Policy of 2013
Publish all natural resource reforms in a centralized location (perhaps the Open Data
portal from the Technology & Innovation thematic area of the new NAP)

Suggested performance indicators:

The number of people consulted


The number of communities, companies, or agencies consulted
The number of counties consulted
The number of transcripts or memoranda prepared

Liberian Agencies:
Land Commission
The commission plays a lead in the implementation of the Land Rights Policy and should take a
lead in ensuring implementation of this commitment.
Contact: Dr. Cecil T.O. Brandy, Chairman of the Land Commission
Website: http://www.landlib.org/
Law Reform Commission
One of its functions is to Compile research and undertake the examination of particular
branches of the law and the formulation of proposals for their reform. This includes land and
natural resource reform.
Contact: Jallah Barbu, Chairman
Website: http://liblrc.org/
OGP Openness in Natural Resources Working Group

Governance Commission (GC)


The Governance Commission is Liberia's premier governance reform institution that
researches and consults Liberians on governance issues, recommending policy and institutional
reforms
Website: https://www.facebook.com/TheGovernanceCommission

Additional References:
A review of Liberias successful community consultation practices http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/G03832.pdf
Land Rights Policy of 2013 http://www.sdiliberia.org/sites/default/files/publications/Liberia's%20Land%20Rights%20Policy%2
02013_0.pdf
Consultation with other OGP governments on land commitments:
For additional counsel and knowledge exchange, other OGP governments which are
implementing (or have implemented) a similar commitment can be contacted.
Indonesia
Commitment Group 3 Accelerate Open and Good Governance Practices in Land Affairs
National Land Agency

Commitment 2. Ensure that material information on commercial land


use rights is made publicly available
The working group recognizes the work that has been done to create the LEITI in Liberia and
the important steps that have been made to achieve progress. The Group has identified areas
which can benefit from further disclosure in the realm of commercial land use. These are a set
of rather specific suggestions which address natural resource transparency gaps in Liberia
identified as important.

Suggested details:

Publish information on land (hectares) for each commercial land use right
Publish an accurate map of each commercial land use location via a map-based web
platform, in addition to providing hard copies of proposed land-use allocations to
affected populations who do not have access to the internet
Disclose whether a commercial operator has the right to expand their area of
operations, whether that right is being exercised, and the location of those expansions
Publish contract between the state and the concessionaire, and other documents
including: annual volume of resources allowed for extraction, permits, and obligations.

OGP Openness in Natural Resources Working Group

All material information is publicly disclosed before a commercial use right is awarded
by the government

Suggested performance indicators:

Percentage of commercial land allocations with accurate land use maps posted on LEITI
website and map-based web platforms
Percentage of new commercial land use allocations which publish the above information
before the allocation is granted
The number of workshops and sensitization activities held

Lead Liberian Agencies:


LEITI
The LEITI should be leading this project, hosting the information on its website, and be in
consultation with the following agencies regarding their relevant specialties and sectors:
Land Commission
All future reforms to land and natural resource issues should be cross checked by the
commission to ensure that they fit into the framework of its Land Rights Policy.
Contact: Dr. Cecil T.O. Brandy, Chairman of the Land Commission
Website: http://www.landlib.org/
Forest Development Authority (FDA)
Forestry is commercial land use, and is covered by the LEITI.
Collaboration with the Department of Commercial and the Legality Verification Department.
Website: http://www.fda.gov.lr/
Ministry of Agriculture
Agriculture is commercial land use, and is covered by the LEITI
Contact: FLORENCE A. CHENOWETH, Ph.D.
Email: Florencetonia@yahoo.com, Chenoweth@bascom.wisc.edu
Phone Number: 0886-430-429
Website: http://www.moaliberia.org/
Ministry of Mines & Energy
Mining is commercial land use, and is covered by the LEITI
Collaboration with the Bureau of Lands and Surveys

Potential Funders:
USAID
World Bank

OGP Openness in Natural Resources Working Group

Consultation with other OGP governments on land commitments:


For additional counsel and knowledge exchange, other OGP governments which are
implementing (or have implemented) a similar commitment can be contacted.
Brazil
Commitment 1.9 - Development of tools for increasing transparency and enhancing Land
Governance
Ministry of Agrarian Development
Tanzania
Commitment 4.4 Make land use plan, ownership and demarcated areas for large scale land deals
accessible online for public use by June 2016
(Ministry not listed)

Commitment 3. Adhere to public consultation and notice


requirements prior to acquiring or transferring public or government
land or its associated resources, as set forth in national policies and
laws.
The working group again recognizes the good practices set forth by Liberia in its Land Rights
Act, and Land Rights Policy of 2013. The Land Rights Policy is transformative and recognizes
new rules for acquisition and sale of public lands. The new policy recognizes a competitive
bidding process and requirements to inform individuals, private entities, and communities
likely to be affected such that they are given a reasonable period of time to review the sale or
lease. The policy recommendations need of course to be translated into regulations and rules
which are binding and have the force of law.

Suggested details:

Pass regulations to regulate the process of consultation outlined in the Land Rights
Policy of 2013

Suggested performance indicators:

Passage of rules or regulations


Percentage of public or government land transactions which adhere to an adequate
consultation policy

OGP Openness in Natural Resources Working Group

Suggested implementation partners:


Liberian Agencies:
Land Commission (or future land authority)
The commission should be tasked with the undertaking of this commitment, and do
so with the assistance of the other agencies listed below
Contact: Dr. Cecil T.O. Brandy, Chairman of the Land Commission
Website: http://www.landlib.org/
Forest Development Authority (FDA)
Website: http://www.fda.gov.lr/
Ministry of Agriculture
Website: http://www.moaliberia.org/
Ministry of Mines & Energy
National Investment Commission
http://www.investliberia.gov.lr/
National Bureau of Concessions

Potential Funders:
USAID
World Bank

OGP Openness in Natural Resources Working Group

Commitment 4. Conduct a baseline assessment of Liberias land


governance framework
Land Governance Assessment Frameworks have been recognized internationally as a diagnostic
tool to help evaluate the legal framework, policies, and practices regarding land governance
and to monitor improvement over time3. We recommend that Liberia commit to doing a
baseline assessment using an internationally recognized framework.

Suggested details:

Conduct the assessment via an internationally recognized framework of best practices

Suggested performance indicators - The baseline would include assessments of:

Clear land policy developed in a participatory manner


Regular and public reports indicating progress in policy implementation
Land use plans (and changes to them) are based on public input
Transparency in valuing property for tax purposes
Complete recording of publicly held land
Inventory of public land is accessible to the public
Key information on land concessions is accessible to the public
Openness of public land transactions
Searchability of the land registry
Accessibility of records in the land registry
Response time to requests made for records in the land registry
Schedule of fees is publicly available
Informal payments are discouraged
Public institutions in land acquisition operate in a clear and consistent manner

Suggested implementation partners:


Liberian Agencies:
Land Commission (or future land authority)
The commission should be tasked with the undertaking of this commitment, and do
so with the assistance of the other agencies listed below
Contact: Dr. Cecil T.O. Brandy, Chairman of the Land Commission
Website: http://www.landlib.org/

https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/2376/657430PUB0EPI1065724B09780821387580
.pdf?sequence=1
OGP Openness in Natural Resources Working Group
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Forest Development Authority (FDA)


Website: http://www.fda.gov.lr/
Ministry of Agriculture
Website: http://www.moaliberia.org/
Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy
National Investment Commission
Website: http://www.investliberia.gov.lr/
National Bureau of Concessions
Center for National Documents and Records
Website: http://www.cndra.gov.lr/
Ministry of Justice
Monrovia City Corporation
Website: https://monroviacitycorporation.wordpress.com/

Potential funders or baseline administrators:


World Bank
Commitment 5. GOL provides timely access to documents of social and
environmental nature for all uses of public land in the oil, mining, timber, or
agriculture sectors.
According to section 6 of the EPAs 2003 charter (and subsequent revisions) no mining or
logging operation is permitted to be set up without an preliminary Environmental & Social
Impact Assessment (ESIA), and an Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP) including
the period after the working life of the extraction. The working group has recognized the
intention of the EPA to publish these documents in a centralized place which could be accessed
by citizens, civil society groups, and other government agencies. Unfortunately, these
documents have yet to be published, despite the legal necessity of their existence:
http://epaliberia.org/environmental-impact-assessment

The working group would encourage the Liberian Government to publish ESIA and ESMPs. We
believe this commitment to be highly achievable because the EPA should already be holding
these documents in its database...

OGP Openness in Natural Resources Working Group

Suggested details:

Publish all ESIAs, ESMPs, and any other environmental or social mitigation plans received
by the EPA from 2011 and onwards
Assign responsibility to the EPAs Monitoring, Assessment, and Conservation team
Environmental Impact Assessment unit.
Provide paper copies of future ESIAs and ESMPs to the EPAs County Environmental
Committees in the county where the development project will take place.
Share ESIAs and ESMPs with relevant Liberian civil society groups for dissemination to
the public.
Publish ESIAs and ESMPs from all the sectors addressed by LEITI: Mining, Oil, Forestry,
and Agriculture.
ESIAs and ESMPs should all be centralized in one location on the EPA website and
searchable based on: date of publication, company, sector, county, & municipality.

Suggested implementation partners:


Liberian Agencies:
Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC)
Community and NGO complaints received by the EPA, FDA, or the Ministry of Lands Mines
and Energy regarding the misuse of concession land and the breaking of contract promises
regarding environmental obligations should be delivered to the PPCC and posted on their
Complaints, Appeals, and Review Panel (CARP).
Commissioner Amb. Timothy E. Thomas Monitoring and Compliance
Environment Climate Change Media Network (LECCMN)
A group organized by the EPA in collaboration with environmental reporters with the aim to
raise awareness on environment and climate change issues in the country.
Peter A. Fahn, Secretary General
Joseph Sanyon, Vice Coordinator
Forest Development Authority (FDA)
Timber sector ESIAs should be sent to the Commercial Forestry department of the FDA EIA
Division
Website: http://www.fda.gov.lr/
Ministry of Lands, Mines & Energy

OGP Openness in Natural Resources Working Group

OGP governments with similar commitments:


For additional counsel and knowledge exchange, other OGP governments which are
implementing (or have implemented) a similar commitment can be contacted.
Croatia
Commitment 5.6 - Publish comprehensive versions of environmental impact studies on the
websites of the competent bodies
Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection
Mexico Commitment 31: Access to Environmental Impact Studies
Secretara del Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales
Sierra Leone Commitment 7 Scaling up Extractive Industry Initiatives.
part d: Disclose environmental impact assessments prior to the award of any extractives rights
(No ministry listed)

OGP Openness in Natural Resources Working Group

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