ILC hails long awaited land reforms in Malawi after nearly 15 years of advocacy work by LandNet

Monday, 18th July 2016

ILC joins member Landnet Malawi in celebrating the passing of four Land Bills, the most recent on Customary Land. Together with Oxfam, FAO, UN Women, and other partners, ILC has been supporting Landnet Malawi in their advocacy campaigns for land reforms since the adoption of the Malawi National Land Policy in 2002.  

14 July, Malawi - The Parliament of Malawi passed four bills dealing with land, physical planning, land survey and customary land. Landnet Malawi commends the law for creating a legal framework for land governance and administration as opposed to customary law.  During a press conference on 15th July, Landnet Malawi's National Coordinator, Emmanuel Mlaka noted that "from a gender and women’s rights perspective, customary law in land administration perpetuates gender imbalance and prevents both men and women in different societies from accessing or owning land". Mlaka then emphasized that the recently approved bills  "provide social protection and social development including safeguarding the rights of vulnerable groups especially women by ensuring equitable access to land, tenure security and sustainable socio-economic development".

The newly approved laws will help to improve land governance by decentralizing decision-making roles by providing public participation in the administration and management of land related matters, creating customary estates and land dispute settlement mechanisms while  establishing land committees at various levels.

Landnet will now actively participate in the process led by the Ministry of Land to develop regulations. It will also take part in a consortium with Oxfam and the Center for Environment Policy Advocacy (CEPA)  funded by the EU to pilot the implementation of the new land law in the districts of Mzimba, Phalombe and Kasungu.  

In the past years, ILC has supported Landnet in organizing meetings with various stakeholders including members of the Parliament to illustrate, discuss and to raise public awareness of the land reforms. The challenge ahead is to pass the remaining six related bills on registration, land acquisition, local government, housing and forestry.  

LandNet is a network of 43 civil society organizations advocating for pro-poor and equitable land and natural resources policies, legislation and decision making processes to enhance livelihoods and sustainable use of natural resources.

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