Kigali, 6 December 2016 – Over 40 government delegates representing directorates of physical planning,  and land administration and management from 17 Eastern and Southern African countries agreed to explore ways of integrating and enhancing collaboration, coordination and dialogue when implementing land and urban policies.

This was during a workshop co-convened by the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), UN-Habitat, , Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) and the Land Policy Initiative (LPI) on the margins of the RCMRD Governing Council and Ministerial Conference in Kigali, Rwanda from 18th - 19th November 2016.

In his opening remarks, Dr Emmanuel Nkurunzinza, Director General, Rwanda Natural Resources Authority & Chief Registrar of land titles welcomed participants to the meeting and observed that the meeting presented the participating countries with a rare opportunity for stakeholders in planning and land management to discuss interaction. He observed that land and natural resources are crucial for development. He further noted that “Rapid urbanization affecting land management and planning effectively brings solutions affecting land management and administration”.

After welcoming the participants, Professor John Kiema, the Director of Technical Services at RCMRD underscored the role of the Centre in providing resource based mapping services to member countries that would assist in the realisation of an integrated and sustainable development. He reiterated that the meeting was a platform for sharing experiences and learning from one another.

Collaboration for effective implementation

Judy Kariuki from LPI highlighted the importance of the Land Policy Initiative to support African countries improving their land policies.  She indicated that LPI is ready and interested in working with partners to implement the African Union Declaration on Land.

Remy Sietchiping observed that UN-Habitat is the UN agency specialised in supporting Member States in addressing their urban and human settlements issues at all scales around the world. To do so effectively, Habitat partners need to collaborate. “Planning and land management needs to highlight what entails land policies and planning guidelines in streamlining all components of planning and land administration to spur socio-economic growth and development”, he noted.

At the end of the two day event, participants learnt about the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning (IG-UTP) and the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa (F&G) spearheaded by the Land Policy Initiative and its application in integrating planning and land administration. The Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) also shared a suite of tools available to support both urban and territorial planning and land policy processes.

Key outcomes of the workshop included a communique and road map that commits to the promotion of and integrated planning and good land governance through enhanced consultation, dialogue between authorities and professionals of urban and territorial planning and land management/administration when implementing land and urban policies.

Other highlights of the roadmap included developing or reviewing land policies based on the International Guidelines on Urban and Territorial Planning; developing and reviewing land and urban related legislations; developing the capacity of planners and land administrators in respective countries; bridging institutional and governance frameworks for land and planning officials in various countries, and; promotion of research and development in land and planning and improvement of tenure systems in the respective countries. The programme is likely to be scaled-up to other regions in Africa to ensure the impact is felt across the continent.