CDR Consults with Governments on Land Ownership Issues and Disputes in Liberia and Timor-Leste


The Liberian government’s new land policy involves new procedures for customary communities to secure legal ownership of community land, which previously has been considered public land owned by the Government. To secure community ownership, customary communities will be required to identify their members (including women and minorities who may have come from or be members of other ethnic communities), negotiate boundaries with adjoining communities, and establish broadly representative governance structures for community land management and administration.

During 2016, CDR Associates Partner, Christopher Moore, conducted research with its Liberian partner, Parley, and wrote a monograph on Harmonizing Boundaries: Effective Negotiation Procedures for Delimiting, Demarcating and Resolving Disputes over Boundaries. This monograph is available on CDR’s website at here.

To facilitate the implementation of boundary harmonization, Moore designed and conducted training programs for staff of Liberian government agencies and non-governmental organizations to prepare them to work with communities to collaboratively delimit and demarcate their boundaries. Subsequently, Parley conducted multiple joint boundary harmonization workshops for adjoining communities and provided coaching assistance as they negotiated and established their common boundaries.

CDR’s assistance has been provided directly for the Liberian Land Commission and through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Tetra Tech’s Land Dispute Resolution Project (LCRP) and Land Governance Support Project (LGSA).


In the fall of 2016, CDR Partner Christopher Moore conducted a speaking tour in Timor-Leste to discuss land issues and dispute resolution systems that could be implemented to effectively resolve them. During the week-long tour, Chris met with government agencies, non-governmental organizations and university faculty and students.  His presentations focused on systems and procedures developed in other countries that could be used to address the kinds of land disputes that will inevitably arise with the passage of the country’s new law.  Chris also made a presentation to print and electronic media reporters on approaches for fair and impartial reporting on land issues and the new law.  The goal of the presentation was to provide guidance and techniques for reporters that would help them to inform members of the public on the new law and mitigate problems and disputes related to its implementation.

For more information on a range of CDR’s international development, environmental, land and water projects, find Chris Moore’s contact information here.