Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) / Drafting Workshop sets out the Pan-African framework and guidelines for effective land policy making
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, September 19, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A team of around 30 land experts and key stakeholders from African governments, centres of excellence, civil society, farmer’s organizations and UN development partners are gathered at the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa from 10 to 20 September 2008 to draft a comprehensive framework and guidelines on land policy for Africa. The workshop is part of activities of the Land Policy Initiative (LPI) process which was initiated in 2006 by a Consortium of three Pan-African organizations including the African Union, the African Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Africa .
The main objective of the drafting session is to develop a framework and guidelines on Land Policy, with guiding principles that would help African countries in undertaking and harnessing land policy reforms to achieve poverty reduction, peace and security and sustainable development goals. These guiding principles are much needed in a continent where approximately 60% of the population derives its livelihood and income mainly from farming and related activities. A combination of other factors, including population growth, migration and urbanization, affects the overall per capita availability of land, thus making the land issue a core element of the development policy formulation in Africa .
In response to the various development challenges associated with land, the Draft framework and guidelines outlines the main elements of an appropriate vision for land policy development in Africa including:
• Equitable access to land
• Improved governance in the land sector and
• Reduction of land related conflicts.
This 40-page document also contextualizes the nature and characteristics of the land question in Africa by explaining the reason why the land sector has not so far played its central role in the development process. It gives an indication of the operational processes which the countries could follow in developing comprehensive land policies, analyzes the difficulties that might arise and conditions for a successful implementation process.
The team of the core drafters, which is led by Prof. Hastings Okoth-Ogendo from the University of Nairobi , is drawing lessons and best practices from past processes and various documents including: the continental background document, five regional reports on the assessment of land policy and the key messages and recommendations of regional consultations workshops held previously.
In his opening remarks to the land policy experts meeting, Dr. Dioné Josué, Director of the Food and Sustainable Development Division at ECA expressed the hope that:”at the end of the process, we will come up with a useful tool for consensus building on land policies, to ensure economic efficiency, social relevance and environmental liability”.
The refined draft of the Framework and Guidelines on land policy will be submitted later this year to the review of African Experts/permanent secretaries of ministries responsible for land.
In view of the importance of land to Africa ‘s social and economic development, AU, ECA and ADB agreed to work jointly during 2006-2009 to develop a land policy framework and guidelines, as well as the modalities of its implementation at national, regional and continental levels.
The first step of this process was the consultative workshop held in Addis Ababa from 27 to 29 March 2006. This was followed by five regional assessments of land policies and four regional consultations which took place in Kigali, Rwanda (East) Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (West) Yaoundé, Cameroon (Central Africa) and Windhoek, Namibia (Southern Africa).
The process will culminate with the submission of the Draft Land Policy Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy to the policy organs of the African Union for consideration and adoption.
SOURCE : Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)