ILC at the first Arab Land Conference

Thursday, 29th March 2018

Last month, ILC members the Global Land Tool Network and World Bank along with UN-Habitat, the Arab League and the Arab Union of Surveyors held the first Arab Land Conference in Dubai with the objective of "exchanging knowledge, promoting regional cooperation and developing capacities and innovation in land governance and real estate reforms to promote the social and economic development in the Arab region."

The first of its kind, the Conference was an opportunity to discuss an array of trending land issues including sub-topics such as the land rights of displaced people, the importance of data, the equal participation of women into society and the urban-rural nexus.

ILC sponsored the participation of various civil society organisations to bring a variety of perspective on people-centred land governance. Ghanimat Azhdari of Cenesta, Sofiane Khoukhi of Touiza Voluntary Association, Raed Gharib of SEEDS, Saad Dagher  and Doctor Wael Alrashdan, the rangeland director of the Ministry of Agriculture in Jordan, who is pioneering the implementation of an innovative policy on Rangelands, were all sponsored to attend the event.

ILC also organised a vibrant Masterclass on the "Communities, Rangelands and Investment in Land in the Middle East." Where three of the ILC's sponsored particpants and other members, discussed the state of land rights in their communities that included a diversity of sub-topics such as environmental protection, displacement and inclusive decision making. Other experiences from IFAD and ICARDA about their experiences in Tunisia and South Sudan were also shared with the audience.

View the ILC Masterclass Flyer

What the participants thought

All of the sponsored participants mentioned that the Arab Land Conference was a good starting point for conversation about land governance in the Arab states. Raed Gharib of SEEDS (a new ILC member) called it a  "great opportunity to see this variety of experts in same place " and to "expand our network and knowledge" on issues related to land such as displacement, refugees and youth. 

For Sofiane Khoukhi , it was a motivating experience that brought him awareness on what parts of his work is and is not working. "I learned the ability to structure this data to obtain clear lines of action, to discern my weak points, to become aware of them and to find simple and concrete solutions."

The state of land in the Middle East

In a region like the Middle East, land is constantly underpinned by conflicts, economic interest, and societal transformation, which in turn, continues to effect marginalised groups' relationships with land and land governance.

This meeting was a chance for all involving parties to listen, debate, gain knowledge on the issues at hand, but also commence the initiatives that need to take place in order to address these issues. For ILC it was a good starting point to map out the state of affairs on land governance in the Middle East and that the  ILC masterclass was incredibly important to "further an understanding of land governance in the Middle East region."