Inaugural Conference on Land Policy in Africa Puts Land Tenure Security High on the African Development Agenda

By on 12/03/2014
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High rise buildings overlooking the lion sculpture in front of the National Theatre (Beherawi) Image : Vob08, CC BY 2.0 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Addis_Ababa#mediaviewer/ File:Addis_Abeba12.jp

Addis Ababa 3 December 2014 — The inaugural Conference on Land Policy in Africa was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 11 to 14 November 2014, on the theme “The next decade of land policy in Africa: ensuring agricultural development and inclusive growth.”

Despite the importance of land governance to Africa’s developmental agenda, to date, there has been no continental platform organized for exchange, networking and sharing of experiences within the continent among researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders.

The Conference brought together representatives of Governments, parliamentarians, farmers, researchers, civil society, private sector, land practitioners (surveying and mapping companies, administrators), and development partners involved in issues of land policy development and implementation in Africa.

Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director UN Habitat, was one of the keynote speakers at the opening session of the Conference. In her opening address, she noted the role that UN-Habitat, through the Global Land Tool Network, has been playing to change global and continental discourse on land policies as well as security of tenure. She talked about the win-win scenario in which the emerging challenges of rural urban linkage can be addressed. Dr Kirabo also took the opportunity to talk to local and international media on related themes.    

Provision for networking and showcasing emerging practices

It provided a unique opportunity for showcasing emerging and promising practices, and facilitating networking among land experts and land professionals in Africa. GLTN, facilitated by UN-Habitat, was among the sponsors and one of the most active actors during the Conference.

Partners participated in a wide variety of pre-conference events, advocating the GLTN agenda and initiatives such as the Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII), Customary Tenure Security Expert Group Meeting, and STDM Training of Trainers. During the inaugural Land Policy Conference, the GLTN Secretariat made presentations and chaired a number of sessions and side events such as, costing and financing land administration services (CoFLAS) in developing countries, application of STDM to secure land rights, gender and land governance, among others.

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During a high level plenary session Land and GLTN Unit leader- Dr. Clarissa Augustinus gave a keynote address on securing land and resource rights in Africa – review of the last decade. For the last three decades, African countries developed efforts to secure land rights of all users; however most of these efforts were not successful for diverse reasons. Clarissa’s presentation highlighted a new hope for Africa through a number of innovative approaches like the need to consider a continuum of land rights in a perspective of securing the land rights of local communities. During the plenary session, participants had the opportunity to learn to learn from best practices in securing the rights of women and lessons learnt in implementing global tools such as the Voluntary Guidelines for responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests. 

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