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Lofa: Customary Land Formalization Process in Vahun District

Agricultural expansion, unsustainable logging and other unsustainable land use practices are major drivers of tropical deforestation. Between 70% and 80% of deforestation in the tropics, a significant contributor to global climate change, is due to agriculture. The IDH Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), in partnership with the Norwegian International Climate and Forestry Initiative (NICFI), is working to counter the threat of agriculture-driven deforestation using a Production Protection Inclusion Compact (PPI Compact) approach. The aim is to demonstrate that adopting a production-protection approach to land use in these regions would benefit various stakeholders whilst ensuring conservation of biodiversity and maintaining the integrity of the forest. In this approach stakeholders develop and implement a PPI Compact that would involve government, private sector, civil society and communities working together to make land more productive and improve local livelihoods, in exchange for technical assistance and other support for sustainable management of natural resources, most notably forest in the district. The program is actively working in Southeastern Liberia, Western Liberia and Lofa landscapes. The Lofa landscape, covering Kolahun, Foya and Vahun districts, hosts the Wonegizi, Wologizi and Foya proposed protected areas and a potential corridor linking the Wonegizi and Wologizi forest blocks. The program aims to deliver PPI Compacts based on Participatory Land Use Plans (PLUP) and formalized customary collective community land rights. The PPI Compacts then coalesce into a Green Growth Compact for the landscape.

SESDev, with this project, is providing services for IDH to support three (3) communities in Vahun Statutory District (Lofa County) to complete the customary collective community land rights formalization process. Three (3) communities in Vahun district have completed the community self-identification process and verified by the LLA

SESDev has worked with nine communities in Vahun in establishing their community land governance structures and instruments; mapped their customary land area and harmonized their boundaries with their neighbors. Three (3) of the nine communities have completed their confirmatory survey and have been granted a deed.