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Africa Land Policy Conference opens with calls for pro-poor land policies, equal access and land ownership

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Africa Land Policy Conference opens with calls for pro-poor land policies, equal access and land ownership

Land remains a very sensitive issue in Africa and continues to have major historical significance for people.

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 2, 2021 / APO Group / –

The 2021 Africa Land Policy Conference opened on Monday with a resounding call for African countries to develop propoor land policies and inclusive land rights, especially for women and youth.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Land Governance for the Safeguarding of Art, Culture and Heritage for the Africa We Want”. This is in line with the African Union’s declaration of 2021 as the year of “Arts, culture and heritage: levers to build the Africa we want” which is in line with aspiration 5 of Agenda 2063.

“We need a commitment at the national and regional levels to ensure equity,” said Patrick Karera, permanent secretary of the Rwandan environment ministry, on behalf of environment minister Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya. Karera told delegates at the hybrid event, held partly in Rwanda, that “anything related to land requires strong political will, buy-in from the people and close collaboration.”

He said the negative effects of climate change increase the risk of deforestation and land degradation, and called for innovative ways in implementing land reforms and services.

“Land remains a very sensitive issue in Africa and continues to have major historical significance for people. It is central to their agricultural activities, natural resources and other land-based activities that are fundamental to their livelihoods and to ensuring food security. and socio-economic development for future generations, ”said Josefa Sacko, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Environment Sustainable and Blue Economy of the African Union Commission.

She added that competition for land resulting from the negative effects of climate change is exacerbating conflicts on the continent, as evidenced by the Sahel. She urged member states to develop comprehensive land policies to address gaps in human, financial and technical capacity in line with the African Union framework and guidelines on land policies in Africa.

Through a representative, Dr Beth Dunford, Vice President of the African Development Bank for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, made a strong case for access, use and equitable ownership by all members of the community, especially women and youth.

Represented by Aissa Sarr Toure, Country Director for Rwanda, Dunford said: “Land is a key part of food production and a major source of capital for the poor. In any program on land reform and women’s land rights in Africa, the importance of land and its unequal distribution between men and women should be given more consideration. “

“We at the Bank are very determined on this subject in our overall programming and the implementation of our projects. We will continue to support our Member States in the national vision and the imperative of inclusive and sustainable development, ”she added.

Mama Keita, director of the sub-regional office for East Africa at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, said the creatives could help make technical information on land reform more accessible.

“Information on land governance can be rendered in the form of music, films, visual arts, news and animation, and presented in different African languages ​​for better reach,” said Keita.

She added: “Traditional institutions and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms are used, alongside statutory law, to resolve disputes. But there is still a lot to do.

Sharing his country’s experience on land challenges and the innovations required, Sakombi Molendo, Minister of Land Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said: “We found that 80% of cases brought before the courts and tribunals were land related. . this situation. In two years, we managed to draft new land policies that would soon be submitted to the government for deliberation.

The African Center for Land Policy, a collaborative project of the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank, hosts the Africa Land Policy Conference every two years. The conference brings together African policymakers, academics, civil society leaders, as well as the private sector and international agencies to discuss the future of land policy in Africa.

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