Land is a very emotive subject. It is a livelihood pillar; it is life’s origin; it is earth’s water supply; it gives humans their dignity. Land is life. Challenges around its governance must be addressed in a comprehensive and coherent manner if life on earth is to be sustained.
So many people are interested in land because it’s such a multi-faceted issue that cuts across so many different elements of the sustainable development agenda. And, because of that, working on sustainability issues through the lens of land is key to finding integrated and long-lasting solutions to:
- food security and environmental protection;
- economic cooperation, integration and social development;
- peace and security; and
- humanitarian affairs such as migration.
Just two years since the inauguration of the land governance project in IGAD, the region has increasingly focused on sustainable development and land issues are increasingly at the center of this conversation. As IGAD responds to land related challenges and borrowing the words of Laura Tuck, there is need to:
Be sure that property rights can be transferred in transparent ways to get better and more economic uses while at the same time, protecting against arbitrary allocations.
Ensure that women have an equal chance to acquire resources and make decisions about their use in ways that benefit them and their families.
See that young people can access land and other productive assets so they can plan families and contribute to economic growth.
Ensure that indigenous communities continue to serve as owners and stewards of their natural assets,
Ensure that families or individuals who move from rural to urban areas have strong rights that allow them to leverage those assets through lease, sale, or mortgage so they can make good economic choices.
Ensure that cities have functional property registration and information systems so they can plan growth and the services their populations need, and they can capture revenues from land rents and taxes.
Prevent weak and overlapping land rights in rural areas that are often a driver of conflict that contribute to population displacement and prevent the investments needed for significant growth.
In so doing, it is important to support the development and implementation of strong land governance policies and institutions that can foster economic growth, environmental protection, peace and security as well as gender equality.
The IGAD Land Governance Portal serves as a knowledge platform for sharing and learning together and building communities of practice that will find durable solutions to emerging land issues in the IGAD Region. It is to be used by governments, academia, civil society, the private sector, development partners and all those seeking to understand and engage in land governance in the IGAD region.