UNECA: Effective land policy frameworks key to inclusive investment models

Addis Ababa, 7 April 2014 (ECA) – Africa needs effective land policies and management systems that promote access to land for women and youth, and responsible governance of large scale land based investments. This was the main recommendation of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Program (CAADP) Partnership Platform Meeting, whose theme was “Transforming Africa’s agriculture -harnessing opportunities for inclusive growth and sustainable development.” The meeting, held in Durban, South Africa, between 18 and 22 March 2014, marked ten years of CAADP implementation, and was an important part of a series of high-level events being held in the auspices of the 2014 African Union Year of Agriculture and Food Security.

The meeting benefited from three paper presentations, as well as interventions from various stakeholders and reflections from development partners. The Land Policy Initiative (LPI) presented an issues paper on “Promoting land policies and land management systems that facilitate agricultural investments and economic growth in Africa.” Dr. Joan Kagwanja, Chief of the LPI, who delivered the presentation, noted the key land-related issues that continue to hamper the successful implementation of CAADP. She pointed to the urgent need to integrate land policy related concerns in CAADP implementation at country level.

An additional paper presentation was based on LPI work on large scale land based investments (LSLBIs), focusing on the recent LPI assessment report and guiding principles. The third paper presented by the LPI analyzed the imperative of increasing access to land for women and youth in Africa. The papers were a useful basis for discussions at the day-long Land and Land Policy Work Stream Session at the CAADP meeting.

“Progress is slowly being made towards comprehensive land policies and institutional reforms that help to resolve land issues. The unequal access to land, and the insecurity of land rights by women, youth and other vulnerable groups need to remain high on our priority list,” added Dr. Kagwanja.

Participants shared lessons and best practices based on their work. They reiterated their commitment and continued support to Africa’s agenda on land policy in order to increase and sustain investments, and enhance the effective participation of women and youth in agriculture.

The session, which was closed by Ms. Janet Edeme, Head of Rural Economy, Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, the African Union Commission (AUC), identified key goals and actions as well as targets for helping to track progress in the area of land policy and governance, in order to promote CAADP implementation and the transformation of Africa’s agricultural sector.

The meeting called for the adoption and application of the African Union Guiding Principles on LSLBIs, recently drafted by the LPI. The document is a useful instrument in efforts to increase responsible and inclusive land based investments that do not put communities, small scale producers, and the environment at risk.

Other speakers at the meeting included representatives of the African Union Commission (AUC), the Pan African Farmers Organization (PAFO), Pan African Parliament, Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers’ Forum (ESAFF), Women in Agribusiness in Sub-Sahara Africa Alliance (WASAA), Action Aid, Oxfam, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). Over sixty participants attended the event.

Story courtesy of UNECA