African Land Use Planning enhanced by new experiences and best practices
Niamey, June 11, 2015 (CEA).The Director of the Sub-Regional Office for West Africa of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Dr. Dimitri Sanga, presided over the official presentation ceremony to the Authorities of the Republic of Niger of the Report and the educational tools on the study of land use planning, in the presence of Mr. Ibrah Boukar, Acting Permanent Secretary of the Rural Code. This study, which was carried out as part of the support project for the implementation of the African Union Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa, in accordance with the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policies in Africa, focused on lessons learned from experience and best practices in three African countries which are Burkina Faso, Niger and Tanzania. It was the result of participative work that required the implication and mobilization of several actors and institutions at different levels in the three countries.
The analysis of experiences and contributions identified during the study highlight the need to promote a process of land use planning that guarantees vigorous, full participation of the public but also the coordination and steering of the process by local, inclusive, competent structures for the conduct of the process. It also advocates the democratization of local governance and the strengthening of the powers and skills of the Village and Communal Committees which should constitute important levers for the improvement of local land governance.
The report also notes that in combining the conclusions of the study, the lessons learned and the logic of the roadmap, it is critical to ensure political support for land use planning and to strengthen the role of the rural actors to stimulate a new dynamic for the implementation of rural land policy. This would involve the promotion of reforms that benefit from a strong commitment, from multidisciplinary supervision with public participation and the development and implementation of land use planning schemes, all supported by a mechanism of monitoring-evaluation that can guarantee the land tenure rights of producers and develop a system of indicators to assess progress.
The present study also took into account the marginalization of the land tenure rights of women and youth who constitute the majority of the active population, through the promotion of measures of positive discrimination in favor of disadvantaged groups, in order to improve their access to undeveloped land, restored land or land in the process of being restored.
By officially presenting the document to the Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture, representing the Minister of State in charge of Agriculture, Dr Dimitri Sanga, on behalf of Dr Carlos Lopes, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the ECA, thanked and warmly commended the Government of Niger, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, which is the financial partner of the project, and the Rural Code for their firm “commitment to the Secretariat of the Joint Initiative of the African Union, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank on land use policies”. He added that this Initiative is a model of partnership and support for the socio-economic development of the continent and the combat against poverty among the rural populations. He also declared that, “the presentation of these documents marks the proof of the commitment of the ECA and its partners to improve and strengthen the capacities of actors working on land use processes in order to ensure agricultural development and inclusive growth in Niger”.
As for the Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture, M. Illiassou GAOH, he expressed his sincere thanks to the ECA and all the partners involved in this study before asserting that, as a result of its quality that was unanimously recognized by all, it would unquestioningly provide added value by reinforcing the system of land use management in Niger. He also added that the study would be put to good use and broadly disseminated.
It should be underlined that the report was accompanied by four explanatory educational tools including the following: Rural Land Use Planning, How to develop a Land Use Planning Scheme, How to Implement a Land Use Planning Scheme, and How to Ensure the Participation of Actors in Rural Land Use Planning.