With a rise in discrepancies over land rights and ownership in Liberia, communities are increasingly vulnerable to the occurrence of violent, land-based conflict, which can lead to widespread instability. To increase the number of appropriate dispute resolution mechanisms that are used to reduce the number of land disputes, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Land Conflict Resolution Project (LCRP) is collaborating with the Land Commission, the Government of Liberia and international partners to pilot methodologies for resolving land disputes.

Through LCRP, we are developing county-level dispute resolution entities to provide legally recognized collaborative dispute resolution (CDR) and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services. Tetra Tech is providing information on CDR/ADR mechanisms to contribute to a public information campaign that will raise awareness of land rights issues in Liberia.

To address unclear land boundaries and land rights, Tetra Tech is developing methodologies for the adjudication and documentation of community land claims in five counties in coordination with the Land Commission’s Land Dispute Resolution Task Force, Land Coordination Centers based at the county level, the county land commissioner, judicial authorities, land dispute resolution committees, and customary authorities.

Our methodologies emphasize low-cost, consensus-based processes to generate local land rights clarity and land security. The piloting of these dispute resolution methodologies informs the development of legislation pertaining to mediation, arbitration, and adjudication of land rights. Tetra Tech is also redefining the roles of the committees and other municipal entities to best serve these communities.

We are conducting a widespread public awareness campaign on land issues in all five counties, providing information on dispute resolution and peace building through the use of talk shows, drama programs, jingles, fliers, billboards, and newspaper editorials, among other means, in appropriate local languages.

The project has a large monitoring and evaluation component that feeds directly into formulating new legislation and reforming existing policies. LCRP’s monitoring and evaluation specialist transfers skills and capacity to develop data collection guides; apply monitoring, evaluation, and impact assessment best practices to ensure reliable, accurate, and timely data; and observe and participate in data auditing and analysis. The project team works with the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Land Commission to assess these conflict-sensitive data collection tools and to modify, retest, and finalize them for rapid implementation.