ILC is proud to announce the launch of its 2019 annual report. The report highlights ILC’s impact and achievements in the African continent throughout the year. It discusses how ILC-supported approaches and processes put the land governance question at the heart of continental and national agendas.
International Land Coalition Africa - Annual Report 2019
Advancement of land rights policies and practices
ILC Africa influenced policies and practices in African countries as governments took steps toward developing their national agricultural plans and led reform processes to suit new developmental orientations.
The report highlights, for example, new legal instruments aimed at strengthening transparency and accountability in the governance of land, natural and forest resources that emerged in Cameroon and Senegal in 2019. These instruments were inspired by local efforts of multiple actors. Whether it was Cameroon’s finance law of the year or the revised mining code in Senegal in 2019, the legal instruments took note of ILC member-led National Engagement Strategies’ (NES) recommendations formulated during the national week on land governance in Cameroon held in January 2019 and the public debate on land governance held during the presidential campaign in Senegal in the same month.
Liberia and Togo promulgated laws originally voted on in 2018 which recognised community land rights and gave women increased protection and access to land. They also started rolling out implementation mechanisms.
In South Africa, land redistribution was at the centre of debates leading up to the May 2019 presidential elections. When the government organised a public hearing on land redistribution, LandNNES, South Africa’s Land Network, working to create a force that increases possibilities for people-centred land governance in South Africa supported civil society members to influence the discussions. LandNNES is a member-led platform initiated by ILC Africa in 2018 to advance the land rights course in the country. The report highlights how the multi-stakeholder platform fostered debates in civic spaces on land and built synergies to improve livelihoods in the country.
Women’s land rights
Many African constitutions guarantee women the same property rights as men. However, in practice, the attribution of land is often handled by social and customary systems, which historically are known to discriminate against women. Additionally, commitments made by African governments such as the Malabo Protocol and the African Union Agenda 2063 to foster gender equality in the continent are taking a long time to materialise. It is against this backdrop that ILC Africa held its 2019 Land Forum and Regional Assembly on women’s land rights. From breakout sessions to specialised panels, ILC members led frantic conversations on how to better foster women’s land rights in the continent. It culminated in members holding a press conference on women’s land rights and leading 23 side-events and discussions at the 3rd Conference on Land Policy in Africa, a biennial gathering that brings together policy makers and land actors to debate land governance. Other women-led initiatives are discussed in the report.
Land defenders get renewed support
2019 was a year where ILC adopted a new approach towards supporting land defenders in Africa. Having witnessed a sharp increase in the number of reported cases of land defenders facing criminalisation, from 25 in 2018 to 112 in 2019, ILC relaunched its Land and Environmental Defenders’ Fund in December 2019, with a website which enables defenders experiencing difficulties to reach out and request help directly. The report discusses this and other measures the platform has put in place to support land defenders.
Finally, the report touches on ILC’s effort to promote family farming and advance the rights of Indigenous Peoples and pastoralists. It equally shares how ILC has helped people secure grabbed lands and the strategies it put in place to build partnerships and fundraise for actions in the continent.