Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI)

On October 12-14, the Togolese Ministry of Urban Settlements, Housing and Land Reform and the Autopromotion rural pour un développement humain durable (ADHD) will co-host the 3rd Regional Conference of National Land Institutions on Securing Community Land Rights in Africa in Lomé, Togo and online. Ministers, government officials and representatives of ALIN will assess progress on collective land rights and debate strategies to advance them ahead of upcoming biodiversity and climate CoPs.

Initiated by Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and co-organized by the International Land Coalition (ILC) Africa, the conference will capitalize on growing political momentum ahead of the upcoming Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA-2021) (https://bit.ly/3mvwJxo), the biodiversity and climate CoPs, and recent legislative gains in collective land rights. Ministers, policymakers, senior government officials, and civil society organizations from 15 African countries are expected to attend the event in-person and online.

Research (https://bit.ly/3DaL20Y) shows that Indigenous and local communities with secure land tenure can achieve better conservation outcomes than private or state-managed protected areas and at a lower cost. What we’re seeing is that although many African states have passed progressive laws recognizing community land rights, political will to implement these reforms on the ground remains inadequate,” shared Patrick Kipalu, Director of RRI’s Africa Program. “As of 2015 (https://bit.ly/2Yni274), only 13% of the land area studied in 19 countries in sub-Saharan Africa is designated for Indigenous Peoples or local communities. Worse still, only 3% is legally recognized as being owned by these communities. This is a huge gap that needs urgent attention.”

To help address this gap, ALIN was established in 2018 and now serves as both a community of practice and accountability mechanism amongst members. In Lomé, regional government officials, community and Indigenous rights activists, and public sector representatives will assess progress since their last meeting in Antananarivo, Madagascar in 2019; discuss strategies to expand community land rights while the world continues its fight against COVID-19; and reflect on the roles and functions – as well as obstacles and opportunities – of national land institutions in the implementation of reforms from now until 2030.

Dr. Solange Bandiaky-Badji, Coordinator of RRI, added, “There is strong global consensus now on the importance of recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ land rights as a core strategy for land governance, poverty alleviation, food security, women’s rights (https://bit.ly/3AghgpN), and conflict resolution. These rights also have undeniable potential to prevent climate change (https://bit.ly/3FgieGt) and biodiversity loss (https://bit.ly/3iDXqie).”

Spurred by international policy commitments and growing demand from their constituencies, especially to achieve the UN’s ambitious global biodiversity agenda, African land institutions are increasingly realizing the need for regional collaboration and political action on this front. 

The 3rd regional ALIN conference is a strategic opportunity we can leverage pre-CoPs to consolidate political will, strategize for resource mobilization, and confirm technical expertise to scale up implementation of community land rights on the ground. Without this, we fear African communities will remain vulnerable to the expropriation of lands they have conserved for generations,” added Alain Christian Essimi Biloa, a Land Governance Specialist at ILC.

The following prominent representatives are confirmed to attend:

  • Samuel Odari - Deputy Director of Land Adjudication, National Land Commission (Kenya)
  • Blaise Yoda - Director of Rural Land, Ministry of Agriculture and Hydro-Agricultural Development (Burkina Faso)
  • Cecile B. Ndjebet - President, African Women's Network for Community Management of Forests (Cameroon)
  • Ellen O. Pratt - Commissioner of Land Use and Management, Liberia Land Authority (Liberia)
  • Joseph John Ossena - Director of Land Use Planning, Management and Coordination, National Land Use Planning Commission (Tanzania)
  • Dijwa Oyetunde - Country Manager, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (Togo)
  • Albert Katako - Executive Director, Civic Response (Ghana)
  • Simplice Mutombo TA Rubuz - Expert in Monitoring and Evaluation, National Land Reform Commission (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
  • Solange Bandiaky-Badji - Coordinator, Rights and Resources Initiative (United States)
  • Patrick Kipalu - Africa Program Director, Rights and Resources Initiative (United States)
  • Alain Christian Essimi Biloa - Land Governance Specialist, International Land Coalition (Cameroon)
  • Laurel Oettle - Executive Director, Association for Rural Advancement (South Africa)
  • Samuel Nguiffo – Secretary General, Center for the Environment and Development (Cameroon)

To schedule interviews or attend, contact Madiha Qureshi at mqureshi@rightsandresources.org.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).

Media Contact:
Madiha Qureshi
WhatsApp: +1 202-374-0834

About the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI):
RRI is a global Coalition of 21 Partners and over 150 rightsholders organizations and their allies dedicated to advancing the forestland and resource rights of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and Afro-descendant Peoples, particularly the women within them. Members capitalize on each other’s strengths, expertise, and geographic reach to achieve solutions more effectively and efficiently. RRI leverages the power of its coalition to amplify the voices of local peoples and proactively engage governments, multilateral institutions, and private sector actors to adopt institutional and market reforms that support the realization of their rights and self-determined development. RRI is coordinated by the Rights and Resources Group (RRG) in Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.RightsandResources.org.

About the International Land Coalition (ILC), Africa:
ILC is a global alliance of civil society and intergovernmental organizations working together to put people at the center of land governance. ILC Africa is its Regional Platform. The shared goal of ILC's over 250 members is to realize land governance for and with people at the country level, responding to the needs and protecting the rights of women, men and communities who live on and from the land. ILC Africa is made up of 76 members across 26 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. For more information: visit https://Africa.LandCoalition.org/en/about-ilc-africa/

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