Accra, Ghana, 20 July 2017 (ECA) – The Land Policy Initiative (LPI) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) today unveiled a Monitoring and Evaluation of Land in Africa (MELA) project to track progress in the implementation of the African Union Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in 12 African countries.
The pilot project was launched at an inception workshop in Accra, a day after Africa’s Land Commissions completed their own workshop on securing community land rights on the continent.
It aims to develop a comprehensive baseline database that will form the basis for future tracking of progress in implementing the AU Declaration on land in Africa.
In her opening remarks to the workshop, Janet Edeme, Head of Rural Division in the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture at the AUC, said: “We recognize that we are to a large extent in unchartered waters given many of our member states have not monitored land governance processes in the past. Even at the global and regional levels, M&E of land governance is still a developing area.”
“That is why we are pleased that all of you are here as experts and as institutions also involved in advancing land governance monitoring to assist us as the LPI together with IFPRI which has partnered with us on this journey.”
Ms. Edeme said they were hopeful as the LPI, a joint programme of the Economic Commission for Africa(ECA), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), “that with your commitment and support to implement this project will facilitate achievement of the call by our Heads of States to put in place mechanisms to track progress” in land governance on the continent.
“We hope this project will enhance your own activities in monitoring how well we are addressing land issues in the land, agricultural and other sectors,” she said.
The AU agenda on land as summarised in the Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa (2009), commits AU Heads of State to prioritise and lead in land policy review or development processes, support appropriate institutional mechanisms, and budgetary resources for processes of development and implementation of policies.
It also mandates the LPI to establish an appropriate institutional mechanism and an M&E framework for tracking progress on land governance in Africa; Regional Economic Communities to convene periodic regional platforms to facilitate consensus and lesson sharing in support of land policy processes; and address land policies in agricultural-related protocols and plans on the continent.
LPI Coordinator, Joan Kagwanja, said the MELA will also track progress made in policy development and implementation over the past seven years in the selected countries; document and disseminate best practices in policy development and implementation to inform policy processes across the continent and build and sustain the capacity of member States to ensure regular tracking and reporting of progress made in land policy development and implementation.
“Through this pilot project, we expect at the end to have, among other things a record of the status of land policy development and implementation since the implementation of the declaration was launched in 2010,” said Kagwanja.
“Unless we address land governance issues on the continent, we won’t be able to meet most of our obligations and goals,” she added.
The project will draw in actors, including officials from relevant government departments, RECs, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), farmers’ organizations, research and academia, private sector and development partners.
Ms. Kagwanja said the LPI-IFPRI pilot project also aims to contribute to the implementation of the AU Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa by supporting member States to track progress in land policy formulation and implementation.
This, she says, will help improve processes and outcomes of land reforms on the continent.
IFPRI’s Frank Place said land issues in Africa are very complex with tenure differing from country to country hence the need for continued discussions amongst the major actors in land on the continent.
“Because of this complexity, it requires a lot of attention, discussion, dedication and persistence,” he said, adding IFPRI was happy to be working with the LPI on a project that will look into managing and evaluating the implementation of the AU declaration on land.
He said this will give countries an opportunity to track progress and share experiences with the project expected to expand to include more countries.
The project will specifically aim to enhance knowledge in land policy development and implementation processes and outcomes in Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
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