A Seminar themed Implementing the African Union (AU) Declaration on Land: The Role of Regional Economic Communities, organized by the EAC Secretariat in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) was held on 7th December 2016 at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The seminar was held back to back to Sessions of the Ordinary Meeting of the African Union (AU)/UNECA Land Policy Initiative (LPI) Steering Committee that met on 6th December 2016. Prior to the LPI Steering Committee meeting, an experts planning and review meeting was held in the same venue from 4th - 5th December 2016.
All the meetings were hosted by the EAC and marked the first meetings of LPI Implementing Partners and Steering Committee in the EAC as a Regional Economic Community (REC).
Group photo opportunity of the participants of the EAC-UNECA Seminar themed Implementing the African Union (AU) Declaration on Land: The Role of Regional Economic Communities held at the EAC Headquarters, Arusha, Tanzania.
The seminar, which was attended by officials from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, African Union Commission, Land Policy Initiative Secretariat, and the EAC Secretariat, aimed at raising awareness on the AU agenda on land and the mandate of the RECs/EAC in this regard; and draw lessons from existing LPI/REC partnerships for possible consideration to enhance technical and financial support to implement AU Declaration on Land, by the Community.
Addressing participants at the official opening of the meeting, the EAC Director of Productive Sectors, Mr. Jean Baptiste Havugimana, commended the ongoing continental efforts to ensure successful implementation of the LPI and informed the delegates that under the regional integration process, the EAC Partner States had taken initiatives to develop land Policies and Acts with the view to address land challenges in the region. He said land problems including access and ownership were presenting challenging situations in the region.
At regional level, the Director noted that land issues were being addressed as part of natural resources in general under Chapter 19 of the EAC Treaty where Partner States agreed to take concerted measures to foster cooperation in the joint and efficient management and sustainable utilization of natural resources within the Community, and to harmonize their laws and policies on Natural Resources Management.
On her part, the Director of Agriculture from African Union Commission, Dr. Janet Edeme, informed the delegates that the Land Policy Initiative was established in 2006 as a joint initiative of the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
She said the AU Heads of State and Government, through a Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa, during the Thirteenth Assembly of the African Union, in Sirte, Libya, in July 2009, launched the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa.
“The AU Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges calls on RECs to appropriately capture and address issues of land policies within their respective common frameworks. Two broad expected outputs from RECs are Land mainstreamed in REC programs and plans; and Land mainstreamed in National Governments Plans and Strategies”, affirmed the AUC Director of Agriculture.
The Chief of LPI Secretariat, Dr. Joan Kagwanja, highlighted progress made in implementing the Land Policy Initiative in support of efforts to mainstream land governance in key African institutions. Dr. Joan Kagwanja disclosed that the LPI Secretariat was ready to support EAC in implementing the LPI, particularly through capacity building in mainstreaming of Land in EAC projects and programmes.
LPI Secretariat further pledged to support the EAC Secretariat in different aspects including undertaking more assessments to understand the land issues in the EAC Partner States and to develop areas that need harmonization, operationalization and establishment of a monitoring framework for mutual recognition agreement for Land Surveyors and Land Valuers, and support to Partner States in completing the land registration and establishment of efficient land administration systems which is very key in the management of conflicts over land and its associated natural resources.
Notes to Editors
About Land Policy Initiative
The Land Policy Initiative is a joint programme of the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Its purpose is to enable the use of land to lend impetus to the process of African development.
The programme is governed by a Steering Committee that meets periodically, while a Joint Secretariat implements day to day activities. The Secretariat is assisted by an African Taskforce on Land. It’s goal is to assist Member States in the implementation of the declaration on land issues and challenges in Africa in accordance with the Framework and Guidelines on land policy in Africa in order to achieve socio-economic development, peace and security, and environmental sustainability.
About AU Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges
The Declaration is focusing on the centrality of land to sustainable socio-economic growth, development and the security of the social, economic and cultural livelihoods of the people. The AU Declaration on Land calls on Member States to prioritize and initiative land policy development and implementation in a participatory and consultative manner; set up appropriate institutional mechanism; and allocate adequate budgetary resource.
The AU Declaration on land issues and Challenges was signed by the Heads of States and Government of the African Union meeting at their Thirteenth Ordinary Session in Sirte, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, held from 1 to 3 July 2009; (Assembly/AU/Decl.1 (XIII) Rev.1).