The International Land Coalition (ILC) Africa held its Land Forum and Regional Assembly from 21-24 November 2019 at Novotel, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire which focused on women’s land rights. From it, a declaration was born.
“Women’s land rights and community land rights are critical to supporting continental development efforts and growth at the family level,” declared over 80 organisations representing ILC members and partners from 38 countries globally. The declaration also held that Multi-stakeholder processes can incentivise positive actions and committed to supporting African governments in their efforts to drive policies that enable responsible land governance to thrive.
Opening the event, Audace Kubwimana, ILC Africa Regional Coordinator said women’s land rights in Africa can only be achieved if land actors joined efforts with governments and local authorities to make just and inclusive decisions on land. “The successful implementation of community land laws hangs around the establishment of efficient, inclusive and sustainable community-based institutions,” he added.
The 2019 Land Forum and Regional Assembly was centred around four forums, which discussed women’s land rights, community land rights, Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MSPs) and gender equity.
Multi-Stakeholder Platforms high-level forum
MSP practitioners and strategic support institutions came together on 23rd November 2019 to discuss how to further strengthen collaborations at country-level on MSP processes. The forum was organised by ILC, FAO, WHH, IGAD and RRI and brought together a range of actors, including governments.
Discussions led to several recommendations for the country and international actors and actions. For example, one suggestion for national processes is that MSP promoters and resource partners should proactively assess and map whether there are ongoing MSP efforts at country-level on land governance before launching any new initiative. This should lead to the development of an open-source database for each country, which clarifies who is doing what, where and how. This could reduce overlapping actions and repetitions. For cross-country actions, the idea advanced by the forum is to create a global community of learning on MSP land governance to improve information sharing, learning and joint programming among technical and resource partners.
Gender Justice and women’s land rights forums
ILC members organised two events on women's rights. The first is a forum on 22nd November that discussed women’s land rights. Participants at this forum exchanged innovative practices that work for women’s land rights in Africa and launched a new strategy on ILC’s Commitment Based Initiative (CBI4) which works to ensure equal land rights for women.
The second, which happened the next day, discussed gender justice, a tool to ensure equal rights between men and women. Fridah Githuku, Director of GROOTS Kenya facilitated both events. She wants women, men, girls and boys to work together to strengthen land rights within communities. She says collective action has a transformational potent power at the local level. The gender justice side event also focused on anchoring the tool in ILC’s lifeblood, its members. The event that featured at least 10 men, discussed the strategies that men could adopt to foster women’s rights. ILC Africa’s chairperson, Kafui Kuwonu, urged members to promote principles of justice and equality. In her intervention during sessions, she suggested that such principles are triggers to inclusive decision-making processes that members must adopt.
IDRC partners meeting
The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) was the official partner of the event. On 21-22 November, it held a forum that brought its partners, amongst which some members of the ILC to share results of a 5-year research process on land governance in Sub-saharan Africa. The event shared insights on community land rights, lands and natural resources and negotiating transparent land agreements. It also showcased successful advocacy cases and strategies.
LANDex training for francophone countries
This was the last side event. It trained 30 ILC members from French-speaking ILC countries' strategies. The training gave insights on people-centred land governance monitoring and how LANDex can be used to monitor the SDGs and VGGTsas well as other development frameworks and the implementation of LANDex in other countries. LANDex is ILC’s monitoring tool that promotes common indicators and methodologies to support people-centred land governance.