From October 12-14, 36 ministers, senior government officials, and civil society representatives from 12 African countries gathered in Lomé, Togo to exchange lessons and new ideas on implementing legal reforms to enforce Indigenous and community land rights across the region. The delegates agreed these reforms to be the most urgent solution to ongoing land conflicts between foreign investors, local authorities, and communities in the region.
The conference participants charted a path to achieve collective land rights reforms in view of improving the lives of millions of Indigenous and local communities, particularly the women among them. They identified and agreed upon 10 recommendations for overcoming common obstacles for implementing laws and policies securing these rights. RRI and its coalition of rightsholders will use these recommendations to inform the future African Land Institutions Network of Community Rights (ALIN) strategy.
There is strong global consensus now on the importance of recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ land rights as a core strategy for land governance, poverty alleviation, food security, women’s rights, and conflict resolution. These rights also have undeniable potential to prevent climate change and biodiversity loss. Spurred by international policy commitments and growing demand from their constituencies, especially to achieve the UN’s ambitious global biodiversity agenda, African land institutions are increasingly realizing the need for regional collaboration and political action on this front.
The 3rd regional ALIN Conference, initiated by Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and co-organized by the International Land Coalition (ILC) Africa in collaboration with the Togolese Ministry of Urban Settlements, Housing and Land Reform, capitalized on growing political momentum ahead of the Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA-2021), the biodiversity and climate CoPs, and recent legislative gains in collective land rights. Regional government officials, community and Indigenous rights activists, and public sector representatives assessed progress since their last meeting in Antananarivo in 2019; discussed strategies to expand community land rights; and reflected on the roles and functions – as well as obstacles and opportunities – of national land institutions in the implementation of reforms from now until 2030.
For questions about the 3rd regional ALIN Conference, please contact Shannon Johnson.