Notes From the Field: CDR Assists the Government of Liberia and Customary Communities to Resolve Disputes over Boundaries

Picture for Liberia Boundary Harmonization Article

The Government of Liberia is engaging in a process to empower customary communities to have ownership of their historic lands legally recognized under statutory law. This will be a significant achievement, as in the past most land not on the coast and held under statutory law, was directly owned and controlled by the state.  It is expected that greater community control of land and the formation of community-based land management committees will help promote grass-roots driven development.

Part of the procedure for recognition of customary land involves harmonization of community boundaries, the negotiation of mutually acceptable borders between neighboring customary communities.  As part of the process, CDR Partner Christopher Moore, working with Tetra Tech under a contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development, has conducted a desk study on international best practices on boundary negotiations and drafted a guidance note to help communities more effectively reach agreements on their boundaries. Contributions to the document on Liberian experiences in negotiating boundaries were made by Parley, CDR’s Liberian partner, based on field studies in 12 communities.  The document, Boundary Harmonization: Effective Negotiation Procedures to Delimit, Demarcate and Resolve Disputes over Boundaries, will be published by Tetra Tech and USAID in the fall of 2016.

In addition to writing Boundary Harmonization, Chris in cooperation with Parley, conducted a five day workshop, including a training-for-trainers component, for Liberian NGOs and government personnel who will be working with communities to prepare them for boundary harmonization activities. For more information, contact Chris Moore or visit our housing, land and property practice area page.