11 African countries meet in Arusha to strengthen community land rights

Land institutions from 11 countries shared their experiences, opportunities and challenges in advancing the collective land rights in Africa of local communities and indigenous peoples, focusing on women, youth and pastoralists; the biannual meeting is a unique opportunity for African national land institutions to engage with each other, as well as with technical and financial partners and civil society; the event is organized under the aegis of the African Network of Land Institutions for Collective Rights (ALIN), created in 2017 by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).

More than 100 participants from 11 countries gathered in Arusha, Tanzania, this week for the Fourth Conference of National Land Institutions in Africa, which aims to secure customary land rights.

Participants produced a final declaration in which they strongly call on African national governments to increase financial and technical resources for national land institutions to implement progressive land policy reforms and help them secure the land rights of customary communities, particularly those of women and young people within these communities.

In his opening address, Tanzanian Deputy Prime Minister Doto Mashaka Biteko hailed ALIN as a unique opportunity for African countries and their land institutions to learn about each other’s legal frameworks, institutions, systems and approaches to policy development and implementation. Mr. Biteko reminded participants that Tanzania had been chosen to host the conference because its land rights legislation is an exemplary model for Africa, recognizing communities’ customary rights and promoting a community-based system for managing rural land ownership.

« It’s also an opportunity for us to teach and learn from other African countries to see where we can improve our laws ».

For her part, Ms. Solange Bandiaky-Badji, coordinator of RRI and president of its secretariat, said: « As African governments and regional institutions increasingly recognize the security of land rights of indigenous peoples and local communities as one of the key drivers of social peace and sustainable economic development in Africa, we hope that this conference will provide a strategic opportunity to accelerate the realization of their commitments in the run-up to the 2023 United Nations Climate Conference (CoP28). We hope that this gathering will enable national land institutions to consolidate political will, mobilize resources and establish a roadmap to intensify the implementation of laws and policies in their respective countries. »

Alex Khatib

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