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UN-backed workshop tackles land tenure issues in Africa as vital for peace

UN-backed workshop tackles land tenure issues in Africa as vital for peace

Proper management of the pluralistic systems of land tenure in Africa are essential for peace and stability on the continent, a United Nations-backed meeting was told today.

“The majority of conflicts in Africa, and indeed around the world, are related to failures in systems related to the governance, control and use of land and natural resources,” Josue Dione, Director for food security and sustainable development at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), told the Regional Consultative Workshop on Land Policy in East Africa, taking place in Kigali, Rwanda.

He said that for Africa to fully address land issues, the pluralistic systems of land tenure, whether traditional or legislative, must be properly managed.

The workshop should therefore provide guidance to Governments on legal and institutional mechanisms of ensuring an effective coexistence of formal and customary systems of land tenure, he added.

Representing the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Harold Liversage said the main challenges currently facing land policy in Africa are to translate some of the new policy guidelines that are emerging into practical results on the ground, and the need to balance the needs for social justice and economic growth.

ECA, the African Union (AU) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) are jointly working on a Land Policy Initiative to support efforts by African Governments to formulate and implement land policy and institutional reforms.

The Initiative recognizes the central role of multi-stakeholder consultations aimed at gaining consensus on the key elements that should constitute the framework, guidelines, benchmark and indicators for land policy and institutional reforms.

Critical steps include: a continental consultative workshop; an expert group meeting on benchmarks and indicators; regional assessments and consultations; a continental meeting of African experts and ministers responsible for land; and an AU Heads of State and Government summit.