Liberia: Government drafts guidelines for free, prior & informed consent to curb land conflicts between local communities & businesses

Author: FrontPage Africa, Published on: 22 May 2019

"Liberia: Government Drafts Guidelines for Free, Prior Informed Consent", 21 May 2019.

The government of Liberia and major stakeholders in the forestland sector are developing guidelines for rural communities to accept and reject concessions targeted for their lands...the guidelines...will spell out how communities can exercise their rights to give or withhold their consent to any concession on their land...The draft was prepared through a project led by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), funded by the Liberia Forest Sector Project and carried out by LTS International...

Silas Siakor, one of the organizers of the event, said Liberia’s communities’ right to consent is a constitutional right as well as a right guaranteed by laws governing forestry, land and the environment...“The idea is that, there will be some consistency in how people are interpreting FPIC and how is being implemented on the ground,” he pointed out...For example, if you want to build a power plant for electricity, which is good because of insufficient energy, but if that community will be affected by smoke, you have to inform the community about the challenge that will come along with the development,” Siakor said...

There have been clashes in Grand Cape Mount with Sime Darby, Nimba with ArcelorMittal but the most infamous of all has been in Sinoe County with Golden Veroleum. Cllr. Alfred Brownell, a Liberian environmental lawyer, was...awarded the 2019 Goldman Environmental Prize for his advocacy against concessionaires—mainly GVL—for alleged land grab. Persistent conflicts with locals have seen the Roundtable on Sustainable Oil Palm (RSPO) reprimand GVL over reported land grab in places like Butaw and Tarjuwon, and led the company to withdraw and readmitted to the global oil-palm certification scheme...Some civil society actors said the community consent guidelines could have prevented the loss of lives and properties over communities-concessionaires clashes...

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Related companies: Arcelor Mittal Golden Veroleum Liberia Sime Darby