NELGA’s Role in Advancing Community Land Rights at the Fourth Regional Conference

The Fourth Regional Conference on Securing Community Land Rights in Africa, held in Arusha, Tanzania from September 12-14, 2023, brought together delegates from across the continent to address the critical issue of community land rights.

Delegates at the conference emphasized the importance of implementing community titling processes as a means of protecting rural lands from encroachment and conflict. They recognized that the roles of National Land Institutions vary from country to country. For instance, Ethiopia’s ministry primarily focuses on resolving rural land tenure insecurity through land registration to mitigate conflicts, while Liberia’s Land Authority serves as a central hub for land administration and law enforcement to prevent overlapping functions among ministries.

The conference also candidly discussed common obstacles to effective implementation of the AU agenda on land, including institutional capacity limitations, challenges in educating communities about land policies, and inadequate funding for infrastructure and documentation. Key recommendations included improving land information systems, educating rural communities about land registration, monitoring data trends, and conducting research on land rights.

Dr. Dominico Kilemo, a NELGA advisor for Eastern Africa, highlighted two crucial aspects in line with NELGA’s mission. He advocated for closer collaboration between National Land Institutions and universities to inform decisions and policies regarding community land rights. Additionally, he proposed the organization of national stakeholder forums by National Land Institutions to facilitate robust policy dialogues on this issue.

The conference saw participation from influential development partners like the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), GIZ, and the Tenure Facility. These organizations engaged directly with land institution representatives, addressing concerns, and providing support for community land rights implementation.

In summary, the Fourth Regional Conference served as a dynamic platform for insightful discussions, knowledge sharing, and recommendations. These efforts collectively contribute to the pursuit of secure community land rights in Africa, underscoring the importance of collaboration and data-driven decision-making in regional land governance.