The New Customary Land Rights Act in Sierra Leone: Bringing informed community consent to responsible investment | Land Portal
Contact details: 
Neil Sorensen,

Namati: Innovations in Legal Empowerment

Namati is an international organization that tests the potential of legal empowerment through innovative interventions and research. Through our work, we seek a better understanding of the impacts of legal empowerment and the most effective mechanisms for achieving them. 

Language of the event: 

17 November, 2022, 13:00-14:30 GMT | 14:00-15:30 CET

In September 2022, Sierra Leone enacted unprecedented laws related to land, climate, and sustainable development. This new law transforms communities’ ability to protect their land rights and pursue sustainable development. This victory would not have been possible without the direct involvement of impacted communities across Sierra Leone. By combining the power of organizing with the power of law, they won lasting, systemic change. The legislation — and the strategies they used to secure it — serve as models for the world.





The Customary Land Rights and National Land Commission Acts will, among other things:

  • Grant all local communities the right to Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) over all industrial projects on their lands;
  • Ban industrial development, including mining, timber, and agribusiness, in old-growth forests and other ecologically sensitive areas;
  • Incorporate public environmental license conditions into binding legal agreements between communities and companies; and
  • Establish local land use committees to make decisions about how community lands are managed, and mandate that those committees are at least 30% women.

This webinar discussed the processes, the experiences, the challenges, and the context of this new law, highlighting the new responsibilities in Sierra Leone.


Meet the Panelists


Joan Kagwanja, Chief of the African Land Policy Center (ALPC)

Joan Kagwanja, Chief of the African Land Policy Center (ALPC) - Moderator


Eleanor Thompson, Deputy Director, Programs, Namati Sierra Leone


Le Roux Dupper, Business Operations Manager, Miro Forestry SL Ltd.


Mr. Mohamed Albert Tarawallie, Land Owner – Magbass, Sierra Leone


Jobo Samba, Director, GIS, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning


ALIGN: Advancing Land-based Investment Governance 

ALIGN supports governments, civil society, communities and peoples, and other relevant actors in strengthening the governance of land-based investments. The project is implemented by a consortium led by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) and Namati, and is funded with UK aid from the UK government. 

This event is organised as part of ALIGN by Land Portal, IIED, CCSI and Namati, however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of ALIGN partners or the UK Government. This event does not represent legal advice, and the views, opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed are strictly those of the participants.

Related content: 

This blog series focuses on the governance of land-based investments in the Global South. The series explores practical strategies and approaches adopted by rights defenders and others to address common challenges surrounding these investments.

Blog post
Sierra Leone

In September 2022, Sierra Leone enacted unprecedented new laws related to land, climate and sustainable development – the Customary Land Rights Act 2022 and the National Land Commission Act 2022. The webinar focused on the Customary Land Rights Act 2022, and its transformative power to support communities in protecting their land rights and pursue sustainable development. 

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