Ghana hosts International Land Forum

By Lydia Asamoah, GNA

Accra, Sept. 20, GNA – The 2016
International Land Conference has started in Accra to enable participating
countries deliberate on land policies and reforms and their impact on food
security and poverty reduction in Africa.

The three-day conference and Regional
Assembly meeting, organised by International Land Coalition (ILC) is being
hosted by Civil Society Coalition on Land (CICOL) on the theme: “Promoting
People-Centered Land Governance in the implementation of the post 2015 agenda:
Challenges and opportunities in Africa.”

The forum would also enable participants to
understand the intricacies of land rights and governance issues within the
framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Among participating countries are Ghana,
Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, Togo, Benin, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Madagascar,
Burundi, Malawi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia

Nii Osah Mills, Minister of Lands and
Natural Resources, said land governance in Africa had become a critical
component of the development agenda as many African governments and
institutions see it as a critical structural tool for transformation of their
economies.

He said in Ghana, more than 73 per cent of
Gross Domestic Products is related to the land economy with a land area of 23
million hectares, making about 95 per cent of cultivable land.

Nii Mills said between 2001 and 2006,
African Governments committed themselves to improve land policies, governance,
rights and administration through the African Union Platform that also brought
about the establishment of the Land Policy Initiative.

He said Ghana, on her part also introduced
the Land Administration Project (LAP) 13 years ago which has made considerable
achievement in the transformation of the land administration system in the
country.

He said LAP, was embarked upon by the
Government as part of efforts to improve the governance system in land
administration by improving access to land, ensuring security of title to land
and facilitating institutional capacity development in land administration
agencies.

He said through the LAP, a new Draft Land
Bill for Ghana had gone through the process of stakeholders’ consultation and
was being formulated for Cabinet approval.

LAP, has also given birth to the
establishment of a network of civil society organisations and individuals
working on land in Ghana called CICOL, while 
a Rural Parcel Rights Boundary Demarcation has been established  to enhance the voices of the rural folks and
their participation in land governance, he noted.

The Minister said in order to promote
people-centered Land Governance in the implementation of the Post 2015 Agenda,
good land administration and trusted land information system was very
fundamental to ensure responsible governance of tenure, managing the land use,
coping with climate change, enforcing equity and human rights as well as
achieving sustainable development.

“As we strive to pool resources and efforts
together to improve our land administration system in Ghana, it is my hope that
together, we will work to strengthen the voice of Africa in our participation
in good land governance to end poverty and improve the livelihoods of the poor
and marginalised in our environment” he said

Naa Professor John S. Nabilla, President of
the National House of Chiefs, said land continues to be the subject of
conflicts between local populations, investors, the state and mining companies
while the high demand on land and its management has brought about challenges
of indeterminate boundaries of stool/skin lands resulting directly from lack of
reliable plans, and the use of unapproved old inaccurate maps, leading to land
conflicts and litigation between stools, clans and other lands owing groups.

Prof Nabila said the LAP through the Office
of Administrator of Stool Lands has assisted customary authorities to work with
formal land administration agencies to enable the development of procedures
that are simple and cheap with more formal survey and registration procedures
for landholders and customary administrations through the strengthening of old
laws and establishment of new ones, for proper record keeping, and prevent or
reduce multiple sales of land.

Prof Nabila expressed the hope that
participatory countries would learn from each other’s innovations in the
management of customary lands and sharing of current land reforms and policies
across Africa.

Mr Richmond Antwi Bediako, Chairman of
CICOL, said members of the Coalition have met to promote and secured equitable
access to and control over land; reduce poverty and contribute to identity,
dignity and inclusion, especially of women and marginalized in land
administration and ownership in Africa.

“We believe the varied expertise and
experience from various African countries models of land governance, policy
reform and general reform of land administration will create the opportunity
for learning and sharing of best practices,” he said.

Mr Mike Taylor, Director of International
Land Coalition, said statistics reveals that 65 per cent of land is claimed by
communities globally, but only 10 per cent have legal protection and are
registered by governments, leading to insecurity.

Therefore, the meeting would help come out
with an action plan that would help address such insecurity and restore
orderliness in land administration.

GNA

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