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African Union (AU) African Development Bank Economic Commission for Africa

Land policy in Africa:
A framework of action to secure land rights, enhance productivity and secure livelihoods

Summary of key messages and recommendations of the consultative workshop

African Union (AU), African Development Bank, Economic Commission for Africa

27 to 29 March 2006

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In view of the importance of land to Africa's social, political and economic development, as well as sustainable resource management, AU/NEPAD, ECA and ADB, under the leadership of the AU Commission, agreed to work jointly during 2006-2007 to develop a land policy framework and guidelines, as well as the modalities for its implementation at country, regional and continental levels. Building on past research, experiences and initiatives, the tripartite agreed on the following processes, aimed at building a consensus on a vision for, and adopting, a land policy and land reform framework in Africa: a) A consultative workshop; b) Regional consultations; c) A continental African experts meeting; d) A meeting of African Ministers responsible for land; and d) AU Heads of State and Government Summit. The elements of this critical path is briefly described below:

  1. Consultative workshop

    The consultative workshop, which took place 27-29 March 2006 at the United Nations Conference Centre (UNCC), Addis Ababa, was the first step in the process of developing a land policy framework and guidelines. The discussions were informed by an issues/discussion paper, and brought together representatives from African governments, Regional Economic Communities, Civil Society including farmers' organizations, African private sector, Centres of Excellence and Development Partners. The consultative workshop aimed to build consensus around the following issues:

    • Elements and thematic issues that would characterize the framework and guidelines of land policy and land reform in Africa;
    • Features of a vision and guiding principles for a framework of land policy in Africa;
    • Actions and sequential activities needed to develop a land policy framework and guidelines; and
    • Roles of stakeholders and partners, and resource mobilization.

    The expected outputs of the workshop are: i) a background document summarizing the main land issues in Africa that should be used as the basis for developing the guidelines and framework; and ii) a skeleton framework of land policy and land reform in Africa.

    A summary of the key messages and recommendations emanating from the workshop are presented on page 4 below.

  2. Regional consultations

    Using the background document and the skeleton framework resulting from the consultative workshop, as well as regional assessments as the basis for discussion, the consultations will ensure that regional specificities, initiatives and lessons are used to enrich the framework. In order to help define medium and long-term processes, the regional consultations will also help to identify challenges, knowledge, institutional and resource gaps as well as on-going initiatives. This will assist in mapping out a strategy for capacity building and lesson-sharing activities vital to the implementation of the framework.

    The key outcome of the regional initiatives is an enriched draft of the continental framework and guidelines of the land policy and land reform framework. In addition, a regional background document will outline the key elements and processes which are needed in the medium and long-term to facilitate the implementation of the framework.

  3. African Experts meeting; and d) Meeting of African Ministers Responsible for Land

    Having enhanced the land policy and land reform framework with regional consultations, the draft framework will be subjected to an extensive review and discussions by key experts from land related line ministries of all AU member States. A key outcome of the experts meeting will be a refined draft of the framework and guidelines to be sent to the ministerial meeting. In addition, an Experts Report on the land policy framework and guidelines including key recommendations on its implementation will be produced.

    Following the Experts meeting, Ministers will review and adopt the Expert's Report and Recommendation on Land Policy Framework and Guidelines.

  1. The Summit of Heads of State and Government

    The Ministers' Report and Recommendations on Land Policy Framework and Guidelines will be subjected to the policy organs of the AU Summit for consideration and adoption. These include the Permanent Representative Council (PRC) and the Executive Council (EC) of the Assembly. The Executive Council will prepare a draft Declaration for consideration, review and adoption by the Assembly of African Heads of State and Government. The Declaration will contain resolutions and decisions on its implementation and follow-up.

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