January 25, 2024 (Kampala, Uganda): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) through its Land Governance Unit held a two-day Programme Steering Committee (PSC) meeting in Kampala, Uganda. This PSC is an accountability mechanism for both the IGAD Member States and the IGAD Land Governance unit to take stock of their performance over a twelve-month period of the preceding year, based on an approved workplan and budget.
The Steering Committee brought together Directors of Land Management, Commissioners from the National Land Commission from the IGAD Member States, development partners, and implementing partners to review the status of land governance in the region, Plan and approve the IGAD land governance workplan and budget for 2024.
The IGAD Land Governance report 2023 highlighted the following achievements:
- IGAD’s cluster approach to implementation was deepened with the conflict sensitive and gender responsive participatory land use planning was finalized in the Somali Cluster, comprising the cross-border area of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia. Four (4) urban centers in Mandera, and pastoralist lands in Dollo Ado in Ethiopia were mapped using a collaborative approach with technical teams from the central government, NGOs, local leaders, the local governments in the areas of operation and IGAD.
- All IGAD Member States have commenced the development of their National Land Policies, with IGAD being the first Regional Economic Community to undertake National Land Policy Development at scale.
- Cross country collaboration and learning was enhanced in the year, with Member States financing their own learning visits and establishing collaborations on topical areas of mutual interest.
- The IGAD Land Governance Unit welcomed two development partners, AFDB and GIZ. This will boost IGAD’s work on cross country learning as well as gender transformative approaches to climate action. A new Phase of Funding from the Embassy of Sweden in Addis Ababa was much welcomed as it deepens in-country implementation of land reforms, with a focus on fragile states of South Sudan, Somalia and Sudan, as well as commencing land governance programing in the Karamoja cluster.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop, Dr. Mohydeen Tohami, Head of Agriculture and Food Security Unit, speaking on behalf of the Director of IGAD Agriculture and Environment Division, Mr. Daher Elmi, said:
“It has been three years since IGAD launched its Land Governance business plan for 2020 – 2030. I am proud to say that the IGAD Land Governance program has exponentially grown, harnessing regional convergence, and strengthening land management in the IGAD member states. As an organization, we have moved from developing normative regional frameworks to transforming land governance at the local level through the cluster approach, in-country implementation and regional learning and advocacy.”
The 13th Steering Committee came to an end with the development partners, and representatives from Member States in the steering committee commending the IGAD Land Governance Programme implementation approach and below were key take aways:
- The Region should consider land as an integral part of the development agenda particularly climate change, gender, and human rights. Through this, it should also broaden the stakeholders to include, among others, economists if land is to truly be understood as a key driver of production.
- Improving Capacity building and harnessing the existing knowledge base in the Region is crucial for increasing capacity in country to implement land reforms. Platforms such as RCMRD and NELGA have a lot to offer the IGAD region.
- Addressing fragmented land institutions in the IGAD Member States remains an area requiring political will and commitment. Support for these processes is needed if efficient and sustainable benefits of land reforms are to be realized.
- A further call to institutionalize the IGAD Land Governance Program was made, echoing the commitments of the 3rd Ministerial Meeting on Land Governance held in October 2022.