Through the support of Qatar Fund for Development and the United Nations Darfur Fund in Sudan; UN-Habitat, UNDP, FAO, the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN), Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Physical Development (MoENPD), and Darfur Land Commission(DLC) co-hosted the first Land Conference on 15-16 in April 2018 in Sudan. The conference has successfully brought over 120 representatives together, engaged in different aspects of land issues in Sudan including the representatives of line federal ministries, state ministries, localities, major tribes, native judicial administrations, nomads and famers association, UN agencies, donors, and international and national NGOs to discuss challenges and opportunities on land issues and develop a key recommendation and a road map for the support of land tenure security, land administration and peace and stability in Sudan.

The conference developed a joint understanding of key land governance challenges and opportunities in Sudan with a focus on Darfur to form a common vision with key recommendations for the way forward.

Mr. Wael Al-Ashhab, Head of UN-Habitat Sudan Country Programme, welcomed the guests and, highlighted that “the conference comes in the time we observe a remarkable improvement in the security situation in the areas of the conflict as well as major reduction of inter-communal/inter-tribal disputes”. Currently, Sudan has been facing many land related challenges including: desertification and climate change, a rapid natural and social population increase that requires urgent interventions for housing and basic services, rapid urbanization, competition over rural land by farmers and pastoralists, large scale land-based investments, and others.

Mr. Wael also stated that “the conference is a first step towards the improvement of land governance and land management in the country by stimulating the debate among key Sudanese land actors on the priority challenges and opportunities and develop a common understanding and vision for the way forward”.

Ms. Marta Ruedas, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations Sudan expressed that the Land Conference has been organized based on a general consensus that good land governance is critical for sustainable social and economic development. The importance of land resources and land management is captured in SDGs as a global goal. The UN family is proud to be part of this workshop on land issues, which is one of the root causes of tensions in Greater Darfur and other parts of Sudan. The conference is a unique opportunity for all of us to engage in discussions around opportunities and challenges, based not only on our experiences in Darfur, but also relevant lessons learned and good practices from other countries, which UN has been collecting to facilitate meaningful technical discussions.

H.E. Mr. Rashid Bin Abdelrahman Al Noaimi, Ambassador of Qatar to Sudan praised the joint effort of the governments, UN agencies and other key stakeholders engaged in the land issues to deliver substantive assistance on land administrations under the support of Qatar Fund for Development.

H.E. Mr. Jaber Aboud, the Federal Minister of States in MoENPD highlighted that today is a valuable opportunity for all the conference’s participants to engage in discussions around opportunities and challenges, based not only on UN experiences in Darfur, but also relevant lessons learned and good practices from other Arab countries.

In the conference, key stakeholders shared their snapshots on land issues with focusing on land tenure security, land administration and peace and stability. UN-Habitat Sudan and the GLTN presented good practices on land administration in Arab States and Africa, and a comparative analysis of land tenure interventions implemented by different African countries to reconcile customary and statutory land administration. UNDP also presented the progress of the UN joint project on “Strengthening Land Management for Peaceful Co-existence” implemented by UNDP, UN-Habitat and FAO in Darfur, Sudan.

The outcomes of the conference and a draft set of recommendations for the way forward, will constitute the basis of a roadmap for strengthening the land governance, peace and stability in the country.