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Liberia : Indicators

2012 > 20 Key Indicators 2012 > Legal Right to Free Prior and Informed Consent

Ten Core Regulation 102 requires that in order to undertake commercial use on customarily held Forest Land, a Community Forestry Development Committee (CFDC) must grant free, prior and informed consent. The Community Rights Law (CRL) defines customary land as “land, including forest land, owned by individuals, groups, families, or communities through longstanding rules recognized by the community. To be recognized as customary land, it is not necessary for the land to have been registered under statutory entitlements”. Regulation 104 on Major Forest Use Permits also requires that a CFDC gives free, prior and informed consent to negotiate a social agreement.

The existing Forest Management Contracts and Timber Sales Contracts were allocated in 2008 and 2009 before CFDCs were established to represent the interests of communities affected by logging operations. This means that while the rights of local communities are recognised in consultation on new regulations, they did not have the ability to exercise free, prior and informed consent in final decisions on these logging concession allocations. Most or all of the land under these contracts does fall into the CRL definition of customary land. The social agreements between the companies and the affected communities were also hastily concluded and there have been sustained requests by CFDCs to re-negotiate them.

The upsurge of Private Use Permits in 2011 is further exacerbating and eroding local communities' rights to free, prior and informed consent, as some of the private ownership claims are questionable (1).

(1) Global Witness, Save My Future Foundation and Sustainable Development Institute, Signing Their Lives Away: Liberia’s Private Use Permits and the Destruction of Community-Owned Rainforest, 4 September 2012. Available at www.globalwitness.org/library/signing-their-lives-away-liberia%E2%80%99s-private-use-permits-and-destruction-community-owned

Title a. Community Rights Law Section 1.3, 2009
b. Ten Core Regulation 102 Part Six section 61 (c) (3), 2007
Organisation Forestry Development Authority
Source a. http://www.fda.gov.lr/doc/Liberia%20Forestry%20-%20CRL%20October%202009%20-%20official.pdf
b. http://www.fda.gov.lr/doc/FDATENCOREREGULATIONS.pdf
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