Mwathane Land Reforms : World Bank 2014 Conference on 'Land and Poverty' kicks off in Washington on Monday 24th


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Land Reforms : World Bank 2014 Conference on 'Land and Poverty' kicks off in Washington on Monday 24th

Posted by on in Continental Initiative
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Annual Event

Every year the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty brings together representatives from governments, civil society, academia, the development community, and the private sector to discuss issues of concern to communities, land practitioners and policymakers worldwide. The conference aims to foster dialogue and the sharing of best practices on the diversity of reforms, approaches and experiences that are being implemented in the land sector around the world (see the 2013 conference website for more details and the papers presented last year).

Under the theme of “Integrating Land Governance into the Post-2015 Agenda: Harnessing Synergies for Implementation and Monitoring Impact”, the 2014 conference, the 15th annual event of this kind, kicks off on Monday 24th March and ends on Thursday 27th March. This year's conference will focus on building a shared understanding of best practices in land governance. By providing an opportunity to strengthen collaboration between diverse experts in land governance, the conference aims to put stakeholders at the country level in a position to address this key development issue. Hundreds of delegates from various parts of the world will be attending this year's conference.

Papers are invited for presentations at the conference in seven thematic areas:

  • Securing and protecting land rights from a gender perspective
  • Managing urban landscapes
  • Attracting responsible land-based investment for local benefits and common resource management
  • Maximizing benefits from spatial data
  • Strengthening country level institutions
  • Fostering transparency in land ownership, use, and administration
  • Research on key aspects of land governance

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Kenya and Uganda Ministers of Land to attend

Hons Charity Ngilu and Daudi Migereko, Kenya and Uganda's Ministers for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, are to be in attendance. More specifically, they will attend a session on Monday 24th at 5.00 pm on "Land Policies in Kenya and Uganda: A road map for implementation and donor support" which will be chaired by USAID's Gregory Myers.

There have been quite some land reform gains in each of these two Eastern Africa nations with Kenya having attained a national land policy in December 2009 and proceeded to anchor the key policy principles in the new constitution which was promulgated in August 2010. Kenya subsequently used the policy and constitutional frameworks to enact some key land laws: the Environment and Land Court Act 2011; the Land Act 2012; the Land Registration Act 2012; and the National Land Commission Act 2012. Efforts to enact a Community Land law and an Eviction and Resettlement law are currently under way in Kenya. A national land commission and new Environment and Land Courts have been established in the country following the enactment of the pertinent statutes.

Kenya currently faces teething challenges of implementation, among them limitations in technical capacity and financial resourcing. The recent discovery of oil and a variety of minerals within community land in the Northern and Coast regions of Kenya where community land rights are collectively held in the absence of a clear legal framework for this category of land also presents Kenya with some unique and rather urgent challenge. The resolution of historical injustices and the recovery of previously grabbed public land are also expected to be thorny issues for Kenya during this implementation phase.

Uganda on the other hand got its national land policy approved in early 2013. It is expected that the implementation of various components of Uganda's land policy will kick off in earnest once there is consensus on a clear road map. It is expected that the discovery of oil in Uganda presents the country with the difficult challenge of protecting community land rights during exploration and exploitation of the resource.

The presence and participation of Kenya and Uganda's Lands Ministers during this conference is therefore expected to provide helpful insights and motivation to these high level political and policy drivers to land reform processes in East Africa. It is anticipated that the delegations from Kenya and Uganda will harness the lessons shared from each of other and those from other countries participating in this global forum to fast track the implementation of land reforms within their jurisdictions to strengthen land rights, enhance productivity and secure livelihoods of their citizens as encouraged of African nations under the African Union Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa.

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