We’re recapping the key themes from Day 2 of the African Land Institutions Network for Community Rights (ALIN) Conference 2021, with a focus on how community land rights have been advanced since 2019
Missed the release from Day 1? You can find it here.
Below are the highlights from Day 2.
1. Development of guidelines that will reconcile customary land ownership and civil law, thereafter conduct confirmatory survey. For Chief Kpegba Yao, customary land laws should serve as a foundation to the development of civil law and further land reform. This is particularly important in rural areas. “In Togo two years ago, a woman who claimed her right to own land would not wake up the following morning,” said Chief Kpegba Yao of Danyi, Togo. “That has changed today, thanks to Togo’s initiative in this regard.”
2. Implementation of a robust public awareness campaign so communities know, understand and take part in on-going processes. Successive delegates mentioned that several African states have recently passed or are in the process of passing land reforms, recognizing community land rights. These include Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, and Togo. There is need for strong awareness campaign, so that the people can be fully part of these processes, such as in the DRC.
3. Increased practical initiatives for the improvement of women’s access to and control of land. This concern is widespread. Four steps are highlighted as essential: first, ensure that countries have laws that enable women to possess land; second, support women to undertake a strong advocacy campaign themselves in this regard; third, undertake a behaviour change communications process that help women change their mentality (that they are not traditionally meant to own land); finally, support women, legally, to conserve their land through the right use and investment.
4. Maintain the climate of peace that has accompanied countries in the enforcement of community land rights on the continent. All speakers noted that change that the change process in their countries has been peaceful, without violence and destruction of properties. Peace is essential to community land development, even as challenges remain on finance (budget), creating a database, and increasing diverse voices.
5. Analysis of land issues from the point of view of land use - a final and perhaps most relevant point on Day 2. Land use planning and associated rural and urban responses remain under-explored. Senegal, Ghana and Liberia seem to have interesting experiences. It might be exciting to keep a close eye on their institutional structures.
Watch out for our upcoming ALIN blogpost series.