Mapping Africa
Mapping Africa Image source: Al Jazeera

The African Union (AU), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and the African Development Bank (AfDB) are jointly crafting guidelines addressing the nexus between land, ethnicity and conflict in Africa.

The three major pan-African institutions recently brought together African land-policy experts to develop the guidelines under the leadership of the African Land Policy Center (ALPC), a tripartite consortium composed of the three continental organizations, the ECA said in a statement on Sunday.

“It is expected that the guidelines will offer insights into land policy reforms by addressing ethnic dimensions to land, the different types of conflicts, how to mitigate them and the best ways of securing land rights in order to build peaceful and cohesive communities,” the statement said.

According to the ECA, the guidelines “will be used by governments, land policy reform institutions, peace builders, researchers, and ordinary citizens” to address ethnic dimensions to land as well as the compounding different forms of conflicts.

African experts, who were recently in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, developed guidelines on land and ethnicity conflict in the African continent, the statement said.

“The guidelines are expected to support the implementation of inclusive land policies and land governance practices as key factors in conflict prevention, peace building and sustainable development,” it said.

Joan Kagwanja, coordinator of the AU-ECA-AfDB joint initiative, commended “the commitment of African professionals to develop homegrown guidelines to prevent and address land-related conflicts in Africa,” the statement said.

“Violent land-related conflicts in Africa are often caused by competition over access to and use of land and other natural resources,” Kagwanja noted.

“Once the guidelines are endorsed by the African Union, they will serve the needs of many stakeholders who are engaged in developing policies and implementing land reforms at continental, regional, national and sub-national levels,” she said.

The 55-member AU, in its 50-year continental development Agenda 2063, regarded “good land governance” as “critical” to achieving the ambitious target, particularly toward the realization of goals related to quality of life and well-being (AU Goal 1), agriculture (AU Goal 5), environment (AU goal 7), peace and security (AU Goal 13), and gender equality (AU Goal 17).

Endorsing the AU Declaration on Land back in 2009, African leaders resolved to take ownership and leadership of land reform processes by strengthening institutions “for effective land governance and allocating adequate budgetary resources for policy development, implementation and tracking of progress.”

The African Land Policy Center, as a secretariat of the tripartite consortium composed of the AU, ECA and AfDB, was given the mandate of facilitating the implementation of the African Union’s Declaration on Land in Africa. Enditem

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