Draft: (Post National Consultations)
Forestry Development Authority
Implementing the Community Rights Law
of 2009 with Respect to Forest Lands
Regulations to the Community Rights Law
of 2009 with Respect to Forest Lands
Professor Willie Belleh
January 30, 2011
Table of Contents
2. Chapter 1 General Provisions
3. Chapter 2 Establishment of Forestry Communities
4. Chapter 3 Community Forest Governance
5. Chapter 4 Community Forest Management
6. Chapter 5 Primary and Secondary Users’ Rights
7. Chapter 6 Roles and Powers of the Authority
8. Chapter 7 Community Forest Agreement
9. Chapter 8 Forest Management Plan
10. Chapter 9 Commercial Activities
11. Chapter 10 Management of Community Forest Funds
12. Chapter 11 Fiscal Provisions
WHEREAS, the National Forestry Reform Law of 2006 establishes a transparent framework for the use, management and protection of forest resources that integrates the commercial, community and conservation priorities of Liberia;
WHEREAS, the National Forest Policy and Strategy seeks to sustainably manage all forest lands so that forestry resources can contribute to livelihood and economic development of the country but that this is done in a way that will ensure the availability of these resources for future generations;
WHEREAS, the Community Forest Rights Law of 2009 with Respect to Forest Lands (“Community Rights Law”) provides the legal framework that empowers local communities located in or near forest lands to access, manage, use and benefit from forest resources on those lands for sustenance and livelihood improvements as well as for community development;
WHEREAS, there is need for the Forestry Development Authority, within the context of its forestry regulatory powers, to issue regulations for implementing the Community Rights Law;
WHEREAS, the Regulation to the Community Rights Law will determine the rules, guidelines and procedures for the establishment of forest communities to access, manage, use and the benefits of forest resources within the Republic of Liberia; and
WHEREAS, the regulation will also provide means for forest communities to participate in the reforestation, rehabilitation and conservation of forest and wildlife resources in Liberia;
NOW, THEREFORE, the Forestry Development Authority hereby issues this regulation to facilitate effective and efficient implementation of the Community Rights Law with Respect to Forest Lands of 2009 as follows:
Chapter 1: General Provisions
Section 1: Purpose
The purpose of this regulation is to establish rules, guidelines and procedures for the establishment, management and use of community forests in Liberia. The objectives are as follows:
- To facilitate implementation of the Community Rights Law with Respect to Forest Lands of 2009;
- To clarify the rights, roles and duties of the Forestry Development Authority and Communities engaged in community forestry management programs;
- To establish procedures to enable communities to access, manage, use and benefit from forest resources;
- To ensure Forest Communities’ user rights and obligations under Community Forest Agreements; and
- To ensure the sustainable management of community forest resources throughout the country.
Section 2: Definitions
In this Regulation, the following terms have the meaning indicated:
· Authority: The Forestry Development Authority or any of its departments acting on behalf of and in the name of the Institution.
- Community Forest Agreement: a written agreement between a forest community and the Forestry Development Authority that establishes a forest community within a specified area to access, use, manage, protect and benefit from forest resources in a sustainable manner.
- Community Forest: Forested or partially-forested land traditionally owned or used by a communities for socio-cultural, economic and development purposes.
· Forest community: is a community authorized by the Authority pursuant to the Community Forest Agreement to access, use, manage, and benefit from forest resources within a specified area in an agreeable sustainable manner.
· Community Forest Management Body (CFMB): is a five-member body appointed by the Community Assembly to manage the day-to-day affairs of the community forestry program.
· Socio-economic Survey: survey of the social and economic resources of the area specified for a community forestry program to determine its social and economic characteristics and profile to be used in determination of the needs and challenges of the community and in management planning.
· Community Assembly Constitution: is the organic law adopted by the community through its Community Assembly which sets out the broad purpose, objectives, and principles of the community forestry program and the rights and obligations of community members relative to the program.
· Community Assembly By-Laws: are the rules and processes established by the Community Assembly on the internal operations of the Assembly relative to such things as notices, quorum for meetings, decision-making methods, and processes for electing, removing and replacing officers, etc.
· Community Forest Management Rules: are specific rules and/or guidelines issued by the Community Forest Management Body concerning the sustainable use of community forest resources.
· Primary Users: Individuals who are members of a Forest Community that is a party to a Community Forest Agreement with the Authority.
· Secondary Users: Individuals who are not members of a Forest Community that is a party to a Community Forest Agreement with the Authority, but can access and use community resources consistent with the Community Forest Management Plan and the Community Forestry Rules.
· Forest Management Plan: a plan approved and authorized by the Authority, under which a community accesses, manages, uses, and controls forest resources on a specified forest land.
· Sustainable forestry: the management and/or usage of forest resources in a form or manner that ensures that the resources continued to be in existence and available for use by future generations.
· Adjacent Community: a community that is neighboring, nearby, adjoining or bordering a community that has either applied for or been approved as an Authorized Forest Community status.
· Community Forestry Management Operational Handbook: a document prepared and adopted by the Community Forest Management Body that prescribes internal operational principles, rules and procedures regarding the operations of the community forestry program.
· Small-scale commercial activities: commercial activities undertaken on community forest land areas not more than 5,000 hectares.
· Medium-scale commercial activities: commercial activities undertaken on community forest land areas between 5,000 – 49,999 hectares.
· Large-scale commercial activities: commercial activities undertaken on community forest land areas more than 49,999 hectares.
Section 3: Compliance with statues and international treaties
All forestry programs managed by communities shall conform to the National Forestry Reform Law of 2006, the Community Rights Law of 2009 With Respect to Forest Lands, and other statutes of Liberia, as well as to all international treaties on sustainable forest management to which Liberia is either a signatory or has acceded.
Section 4: Compliance with other standing regulations
All forestry programs managed by communities shall conform to the ten core regulations and other relevant regulations.
Section 5: Land ownership Issues
All land ownership issues, with respect to lands with forest resources, shall be left to be addressed by the relevant institutions of government including the Lands Commission, the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of Public Works. Accordingly, this regulation addresses and relates to only issues of community access, management, use, and control of forest resources.
Section 6: Access to Information
All information and documents related to community forestry are public unless explicitly restricted in the law and regulations.
Section 7: Participation of civil society organizations
In all of its activities, the Community Assembly, the Executive Committee of the Community Assembly and the Community Forest Management Body shall operate with openness, inclusiveness, and accountability.
All residents aged 18 and above can participate in activities of the community forestry program under policies issued by the Community Assembly and rules issued by the Community Forest Management Body.
All meetings of a Community Assembly shall be opened to civil society organizations as observers.
Section 8: Penal Provisions
Any community or person that breaches any provision of this regulation is subject to sanctions by the Authority and the criminal justice system. Sanctions imposed may either be a fine, or imprisonment, or suspension, or revocation of the status of a community. However, no monetary fine for a breach of any provision of this regulation shall be more than United States Five Thousand Dollars (US$5, 000), no suspension shall for more two years, and no imprisonment shall exceed five (5) years.
Any person who violates forest management rules established by the Community Forest Management Body shall be subject to sanctions by the Body and the criminal justice system. Sanctions imposed may either be fine, or imprisonment, or suspension from using or benefitting from community forestry resources. However, no monetary fine for a violation of any community forestry rule shall be more than United States Two Thousand Dollars (US $2,000), no suspension shall be for more than one (1) year and no imprisonment shall be more than two (2) years.
Examples of violations include, but are not limited to, obstructing the monitoring of a community forestry program either by the Community Forest Management Body or the Authority; damaging or destroying boundary marks, signboards and other symbols of identification of a community forest; actions that prohibit or impede the implementation of the forest management plan; and doing anything that damages the condition of the community forest. There may be other types of violations for which either the Authority or a Community Forest Management Body may impose sanctions.
Section 9: Due Process and Right to Judicial Appeal
The Authority or a Community Forest Management Body shall impose sanctions consistent with the due process of law as enshrined in the constitution and statutes of Liberia. An aggrieved person or community may challenge the decision of the Authority or the Community Forest Management Committee in a court of competent jurisdiction.
Establishment of an Authorized Forest Community
Section 1: Permission to operate as a forest community
Pursuant to the powers of the Authority under the Act creating it, the 2006 NFRL, and the 2009 CRL, the Authority shall have the powers to grant a community the right to access, manage, use and benefit from forest resources on a specified area of land. Only the Authority has powers to grant rights to a community to plan and implement a forest management program.
Section 2: Initiation of the establishment of forest communities
The establishment of a forest community shall be initiated either by a community or the Authority. Whichever option is used, the establishment of a forest community shall be activated through the submission of a written request by the Community to the Authority.
Section 3: Application for forest community status
A community applying for a forest community status shall contain in its application the location of the forest land area and information on the community’s way of life, particularly as it relates to the usage, preservation and development of forest resources in the area.
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