October 12 - 14, 2021 | Lomé, Togo | 9:00 - 17:00 UTC | 5:00 - 13:00 EDT
3rd Regional Conference of National Land Institutions on Securing Community Land Rights in Africa

Pan-African conference on community land rights identifies urgent collective land rights reforms and women’s rights as critical for securing social peace in Africa

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.

Read the Final Declaration

 

Background

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.

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"It is not by chance that Togo was chosen to host this conference. Its 2018 Land Code recognizes land and customary rights that are not evident in many countries through an inclusive and participatory approach that also recognizes women’s land rights. This conference is just the beginning of the partnership between RRI and Togo, including a new project to help secure the Bato Community’s rights to its traditional lands.”
Dr. Solange Bandiaky-Badji, RRI Coordinator and RRG President

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In the News

“Over half of all of the world’s land is either owned or customarily used by Indigenous Peoples and local communities…yet just 10% of this land is formally owned by these groups. This huge gap in recognition of their rights to own, conserve, and benefit from their lands threatens not just the survival of millions of people, but the security of our planet and future.” Patrick Kipalu, RRI’s Africa Program Director

For questions about the 3rd regional ALIN Conference, please contact Shannon Johnson.