23-2-2016, Djibouti – The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Land Policy Initiative (LPI) with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) are meeting for two days in Djibouti to review progress made in implementing the project to improve land governance in the IGAD region. The aim of the project is to facilitate the implementation of the AU Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in accordance with the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa.
The AU Declaration on Land was endorsed in July 2009 by the Heads of States and Government of the African Union during their meeting at the Thirteenth Ordinary Session in Libya in 2009.
The two days meeting is being attended by representatives from IGAD Member States, senior officials from the SDC, African Union Commission, IGAD NGO-SCO Forum, East African Farmers Federation (EAFF) and IGAD Secretariat.
In his opening remarks Mr. Mohammed Moussa; IGAD Director of Agriculture and Environment expressed his appreciation to the Swiss for supporting the implementation of the project. He also thanked the Member States for collaborating and cooperating on the implementation and improvement of the project in the region.
‘I call on all stakeholders and IGAD through the specialized institutions to support the Land Policy Initiative because land cuts across all elements of society like; security, climate, migration, drought resilience and so on. Land is the focus point and central in economic development’ Mr. Moussa concluded.
During the same opening ceremony Dr. Janet Edeme, the A.G Director, Department of Rural Economy & Agriculture and Head of the Rural Economy Division at African Union Commission added that Africa stands apart from the rest of the world as the only continent that has refined its own continental agenda for land policy governance and development.
‘As we all know land is central to Africa’s socio-economic development and we have come a long way to finding continent wide solutions to the challenges of land governance and tenure security which adversely affects efforts towards socio-economic development in Africa and especially in the Horn of Africa to achieve the goal of poverty alleviation, sustainable human and economic development and sustainable natural resource use in the continent’ Dr. Edeme added.
The objectives of the project are; to enhance the capacity of the LPI and the IGAD Secretariat to facilitate and monitor the implementation of the AU Declaration on land in the region, to mainstream land governance issues in programs and activities of the IGAD Secretariat and Member States, to build capacity of academic institutions in the region to promote and undertake land policy related research, to establish a regional platform for knowledge sharing and advocacy aimed at promoting good land governance and land policy convergence among Member States, to improve partnerships, coordination and alignment of land governance related programs in the IGAD region and facilitate monitoring and evaluation of land policy reform processes.
The participants are reflecting on the progress of the project as well as share individual countries’ experiences and status on implementing the AU declaration on land and approve the revised 2016 project implementation work plan and budget.
Among the challenges noted that cut across IGAD Member States are; limitation in operationalizing of policies, laws and legal frameworks, lack of financial, technical, logistics and human resources, land conflicts, unregistered land, slow amendment of colonial laws, limited awareness, large scale land acquisition, the issue of access to land for refugees, internally displaced persons, women, children among many others.
From the review of the project and sharing of country best practices stakeholders will agree on entre points and identify platforms for sharing experience and expedite the implementation of the project.