The inaugural Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA) is being held at the African Union Conference Centre, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 11 to 14 November 2014. The CLPA is organized by the Land Policy Initiative (LPI), in partnership with the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Union (EU), UN-Habitat, the FAO, among others.
The overall goal of the Conference is to offer a platform for exchange, networking and sharing of experiences within the continent among researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders on the issues and status of land policy development and implementation in Africa. The conference aims to strengthen advocacy for comprehensive land policy, and to deepen capacity for land policy in Africa through improved access to knowledge and information – to support evidence based land policy making and implantation, including showcasing emerging and promising practices, and facilitating networking among land experts and land professional in Africa (http://www.gltn.net/index.php/events/28-land-policy-initiative-bi-annual-conference)
The specific theme of the inaugural Conference is, ”The Next Decades of land Policy in Africa: Ensuring Agricultural Development and Inclusive Growth.” The Conference has the following sub-themes: Inclusive agricultural growth (Agriculture investment, productivity experiences securing land rihts in the context of large scale investments); Land Governance frameworks – experiences in implementation frameworks and coherence at country level; Women’s rights – impact of land reform and addressing persisting policy bottlenecks; Securing land rights under different tenure regimes; Experiences and emerging best practices in developing and implementing land polcies (rural and urban); and Land Administration (www.uneca.org/clpa).
Two important innovations were shared during the first day of the Conference. First was the sharing of the emerging technology called Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM). STDM is a pro-poor information tool. There is a gap in the conventional land administration systems such that customary and informal tenure cannot be easily handled. The concept of the Social Tenure Domain Model is to bridge this gap by providing a standard for representing ‘people – land’ relationships independent of the level of formality, legality and technical accuracy (http://stdm.gltn.net/STDM_-_A_Pro_Poor_Land_Tool.pdf).
People, living in informal area’s in developing countries, who are visited by someone with an enlarged satellite image or aerial photo in his or her hands will give attention to this image or photo. The visitor will be surrounded by many people almost immediately. People really understand what they see on the image. They can identify the place where they live, and where their neighbours live. Surveyors as land professionals are needed in support and management of this type of data acquisition of ‘people – land’ relationships. This is asking for widening the scope in relation to land administration; apart from traditional field surveys related to formal tenure there can be a context as described for informal tenures.
The second innovation was the launch of Guiding Principles on Large Scale Land Based Investments in Africa. In 2013 the LPI commissioned an Africa-wide assessment study to determine the extent of large scale land based investments (LSLBI), their impacts and policy options in relation to LSLBI. The LPI process of developing the Guiding Principles identified a small number of fundamental principles to enable member states to derive the most benefit from investments through making well informed decisions on such investments. The Conference saw the launch of publication containing the six (6) Guiding Principles on Large Scale land Based Investments in Africa (http://www.uneca.org/sites/default/files/uploads/guiding_principles_on_lslbi-en.pdf.)
PN- November 2014