The National Land Institutions Regional Workshop to Secure Community Land Rights in Africa
African governments are taking actions to reverse the damages caused by long years of land conflicts and weak tenure systems by working towards developing people centred land reforms. But such systems need to look beyond legal frameworks. Governments must weigh the opportunities and challenges that developing a solid land reform will have not only on markets but also on the lives of people. Fragile communities, Indigenous Peoples and women are often forgotten in policy processes and need to be involved. Additionally, countries need to learn from each other to get workable solutions and eliminate bad answers.
Against this backdrop, the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), the civil society network, le Solidarité des Intervenants sur le Foncier (SIF) and the International Land Coalition (ILC) are collaborating with the Ministry for Land Use Planning, Housing, and Public Works of the Republic of Madagascar to organise the National Land Commissions Regional Workshop (NLCW) in Antananarivo, Madagascar on 21-23 May 2019.
The workshop brings together National Land Commissions from selected African countries to facilitate cross-country learning and experience sharing. The forum hopes to support representatives of land commissions, actors and similar agencies responsible for leading land reforms from African countries to develop answers to securing the rights of local and indigenous communities and women.
The event builds on the experience of a first workshop organised in 2017 in Accra Ghana and will evaluate the implementation efforts of the commitments of actors since the initial gathering.
The workshop expects to host around 80 participants from around 15 countries which are major influencers in their respective sub regions. To capitalise on this willpower of states and build support for tenure rights for women and marginalised groups across Africa, the workshop has three main objectives:
- Strategies to expand community land rights.Which strategies (e.g., titling) have been used and were effective in securing land rights? What lessons have been learned about the feasibility of these strategies to operationalise securing community land rights? What are the challenges and opportunities for innovation and scaling up?
- Roles and functions of national land institutions in the implementation of reforms: Roles and functions of national land institutions in the implementation of reforms; reflecting on challenges – Do land commissions satisfactorily respond to this mandate?; what are their operational hurdles in this respect?; and what happens after their term ends? Forward-looking opportunities – What can land institutions now conclude from their work in reform processes and implementation? What are the essential parameters for policy-making bodies to learn from the past and their present mistakes and frustrations? What should the role of land institutions be in reform processes and implementation, in the context of promoting and entrenching majority customary/community land security? What has proven to be effective since Accra?
- Champion statutory recognition of customary land tenure and its subsequent operationalisation at the national and regional levels. Reflecting on the progress against the Land Right Now! targets.
- Participants present implementation of work plans developed at 2017 Accra workshop and lessons learned;
- Participants share the progress on the implementation of the Land Right Now campaign set of best practices are determined using national models from Madagascar and participant countries;
- National land institution officials exchange views and techniques on how to address challenges related to land issues; and
- Growing challenges, opportunities and a regional agenda for securing local communities’, women’s, and Indigenous Peoples’ land rights are determined.