NELGA Highlights from the Africa Climate Summit: Land Governance and Climate Change Side Event

On September 7, the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA) played a pivotal role in an important side event at the Africa Climate Week in Nairobi, Kenya. The event, held at the African Union House/Pavilion, focused on the critical theme of “Effective land use and governance: Pivotal elements in Africa’s efforts towards mitigation and adaptation to climate change,” contributing significantly to broader discussions encompassing agriculture, land, ocean, food, and water.

The session began with opening remarks from the African Union (AU) by Dr. Janet Edeme, setting the stage for a comprehensive exploration of land governance. She stated, “The key focus of this side event is to explore and ensure a common understanding of experiences from different stakeholders and champion the implementation of the AU Agenda on Land.”

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Godfrey Bahiigwa on behalf of AU Commissioner Josefa L.C. Sacko, providing valuable insights into the wide-ranging implications of climate change on land governance.

Following this, expert panel discussions ensued, featuring contributions from distinguished individuals such as NELGA member, Professor Sylvana Rudith King.  The panel also included Japhet Seulu, the Chief Operation Officer for Carbon and Conservation at Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) who was also representing the GIZ Climate Resilience and Management of Natural Resources in the SADC Region Initiative; Ms. Marealle Maria Saguti, African Development Bank (AfDB) who spoke about the intersection between climate change, gender, and land tenure; Mr. Japheth Kasimbu the Transhumance Expert at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), who discussed Pastoralists’ Responses to Climate Hazards in the Horn of Africa and Mr. Audace Kubwimana, Africa Regional Coordinator at the International Land Coalition, speaking on the role of people centered land governance in addressing the climate crises and building sustainable food systems in Africa.

The experts emphasized the importance of policy revisions, integrated land-use planning, climate-smart practices, and the intersection of climate change with gender and land tenure, among other critical topics. Professor King highlighted the need for policy implementation, stating, “We need to invest in policy implementation to tackle issues of land governance, increase resilience, and build capacity for smallholder farmers to cope with climate change.”

An engaging Q&A session further enriched the discourse, with active participation from the audience. The side event culminated with messages of solidarity from influential organizations such as the International Land Coalition, GIZ, and various government representatives. Their messages underscored the imperative need for collaborative efforts to comprehensively address climate change.

The side event served as a platform to emphasize the pivotal role of land use and governance in addressing climate change and fostering climate resilience in Africa. It provided an exceptional opportunity for stakeholders to exchange ideas and explore innovative solutions to these pressing challenges. This event marks a significant milestone in NELGA’s unwavering commitment to effective land governance, crucial for enhancing climate resilience across Africa.