Land Policy Initiative: Generating African-led policies and strategies on land issues

Written by: Elisa Mandelli

AU Declaration on Land issues
and Challenges in Africa. 
From the 4th to the 6th of December, the city of Arusha in Tanzania hosted the members and partners of the Land Policy Initiative for a planning review and the annual Steering Committee. Participants included representatives from governments and intergovernmental institutions such as Tanzania Ministry of Land, African Union, UN Economic Commission for Africa, Union du Maghreb Arabe and Intergovernmental Authority on Development to mention a few. It also included academic institutions such as Ardhi University, civil society platforms, farmers organizations and development partners such as IFAD, AFDB, USAID, and Swiss Cooperation.

The Land Policy Initiative (LPI) was established in 2006 as an initiative from the African Union Commission, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The objective was to generate African-led policies and strategies based on contextual needs and aspirations to ensure equitable access and efficient and sustainable utilization of land in Africa. With this vision, the first phase of the initiative resulted in the development and the adoption by the AU members of the AU Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa and the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa (F&G).

Today the LPI assists African governments to address land tenure security by implementing the AU Declaration and developing policies and strategies in accordance with the F&G. Within this framework, IFAD is supporting the LPI to mainstream good land governance in agricultural development and more specifically in the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). The CAADP is a common framework to stimulate and guide national, regional and continental initiatives to enhance Africa’s agricultural productivity. The grant seeks to support the strengthening of linkages between land governance, rural poverty reduction and agricultural development by fostering the engagement of ministries responsible for agriculture and rural development in land policy implementation. The grant will pilot this approach in  four countries in East and Southern Africa: Malawi, Madagascar, Rwanda and Tanzania and two countries in West and Central Africa: Cote D'Ivoire and Democratic Republic of Congo.

During the planning meeting in Arusha, the LPI Secretariat presented the achievements and progress made in mainstreaming land governance in the CAADP, but also in generating and disseminating data, supporting capacity building, creating or strengthening platforms and partnerships on land governance, addressing  gender-related issues and supporting the monitoring and evaluation of the AU implementation.

Participants of the LPI Partners Review and Planning Meeting, Arusha 4th to 6th of December 2016.
©ILPI 2016.

At the continental level the LPI has provided technical inputs to the 2014 Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa and has supported the integration of land governance into the agenda of institutions like the Panafrican Parliament and the Panafrican Farmers’ Organization.

Regional institutions like the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Regional Centre For Mapping Resource for Development (RMCRD) have also adopted the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa and LPI is supporting them with capacity building and knowledge sharing initiatives.

On the topic of generation and dissemination of evidence to inform and raise the awareness on the situation of land governance in Africa, the LPI undertook continental and regional assessment as well as thematic researches on large land-based investment, women’s land rights, land administration, land ethnicity and conflict, urban development, resilience and climate change. The documents are available online.

In response to the challenges of insufficient human resources and inadequate technical capacity LPI has engaged with other continental institutions (e.g. RCMRD and IDEP) to provide capacity development support and to improve the quality of education and research on land also by elaborating a guideline for the development of an academic curriculum on land policy and land management.

The LPI has also fostered inclusive policy dialogue and technical coordination by supporting the Joint Working Group on Farming, Forestry and Rural Land Management, intergovernmental knowledge sharing workshops, and grassroots and Civil Society Organization networks in collaboration with the International Land Coalition.

The LPI has also put a lot of efforts on gender-related issues as one of the critical areas for action identified by the AU declaration. The recruitment of a land and gender specialist has allowed to elaborate a LPI Gender Strategy that will be published soon and will support the mainstreaming of gender throughout all their activities. As part of these efforts, LPI organized a side event during the week of the Committee of World Food Security (CFS) on secure land tenure for women and prepared a module for training on gender and land that will be adapted to national challenges thanks to field consultation. Moreover, LPI aims to specifically target women through their support to the Kilimanjaro Initiative and the campaign of 30 per cent minimum land certificate for women land ownership.

During the second day of the event, the LPI Secretariat shared the 2017 strategic plan that includes the institutionalisation and consolidation of the initiative which will become the African Land Policy Centre. 

IFAD will continue to support the LPI and is constantly exploring opportunities to strengthen the synergies with IFAD Country Offices, IFAD-supported programmes and relevant partners. IFAD is looking forward to explore collaborations during the upcoming events and trainings that LPI is planning for 2017, in particular:
  • The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) regional dialogue on good land governance and land administration in the East and Horn of Africa, 12-15th June 2017.
  • The Arab Maghreb Union-LPI event on land governance in the Maghreb area, 20 - 21 March, Rabat, Morocco.
  • The African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP) Training of Trainers on land-based investments.
  • Land Policy Initiative gender and land trainings.

IFAD is encouraging anyone interested in engaging with the LPI  to contact us, we will be happy to provide you with additional information!