Nairobi, 30 August 2018 – The African Land Policy Centre (ALPC) hosted a Discussion Forumon improving land governance and land use planning for landscape restoration in Arica, at the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) which was held on 28-30 August 2018. Experts and representatives from the African Union, UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), African Governments, traditional authorities and civil society organisations formed part of the panel, discussing the links between land governance, land use planning and tenure rights in the context of landscape restoration across different land uses. The Forum further explored policy options to ensure that land governance plays its central role in advancing sustainable land use to advance landscape restoration.
In her remarks, Ms. Joan Kagwanja, the Coordinator of the Africa Land Policy Centre, highlighted the importance of addressing land tenure challenges through policies and laws to secure land rights, regulate land use, and enhance land use planning in order to advance landscape restoration. “Strengthening land rights of communities and individuals is critical to landscape restoration; good land governance recognises the legitimate link between people and land, and is therefore key to successful participatory processes in sustainable land use and conservation efforts,” she said.
Mr. Elvis Paul Tangem, the Coordinator of the African Union’s Great Green Wall of the Sahara and Sahel Initiative lauded ALPC and its predecessor, the Land Policy Initiative (LPI) Secretariat, for spearheading efforts to galvanise continental actors and other players towards enhancing security of land rights for all land users.
The Forum brought diverse perspectives to the issue of landscape restoration, and showcased examples of initiatives undertaken by ALPC’s partners. For her part, Ms Esther Obaikol from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) illustrated the importance of REC platforms to enhance knowledge and experience sharing, reminding the audience that “the 2009 AU Declaration on Land calls on RECs establish platforms for member states and stakeholders to build cooperation and strengthen partnerships.”
Tefera Mengistu, representative of the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change in Ethiopia gave practical examples of the central role of the land certification and land use planning programs to the Ministry’s efforts to restore degraded lands and build resilience to climate change. This message was echoed by Mwenda Makathimo of the Land Governance and Development Institute (LDGI) who highlighted the need to involve all relevant Ministries, local authorities and actors to ensure harmony when developing land use plans, given there are competing demands and uses of land that cut across various sectors.
One of the highlights of the Forum was the intervention of His Royal Highness Drani Izakari, a Cultural Leader of the Madi people in Uganda, and representative of the Forum for African Traditional Authorities (FATA), an initiative established with the support of ALPC. He noted that with regard to land restoration, sustainable agriculture and protection of forests, traditional leaders play a critical role as these activities occur on land and with communities who are under the jurisdiction of customary authorities. “Traditional leaders have authority and power, and can significantly contribute to building the Africa we want, including restoring landscapes. We are all in this together, trying to achieve the same goals for future generations.”
The Forum, which successfully raised awareness of the linkages between land governance, land use planning and tenure security also benefited from the interventions of other speakers including Ms. Mino Ramaroson representing the Civil Society Platform on Land, and Rolf Sommer representing the Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and the Consultative Group of Agricultural Research [CGIAR] Research Programme (CRP) on Water, Land and Ecosystem (WLE).