Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba has hailed the efforts Of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in streamlining land related matters among its member countries.
Nabakooba who was speaking at the conclusion of the Sectoral ministerial meeting on land and conflict in the IGAD Region at Speke resort in Munyonyo on October 28 said IGAD is such an important regional body she was glad to be speaking on behalf of the so many Ugandans who rely on land and agriculture for their day to day needs.
“The recommendations from your experience and expertise are critical in mainstreaming and adopting solutions to the various issues identified regarding land and conflicts affecting the IGAD member states,” she said.
According to Nabakooba, over the years, they have come to realise that issues of food security, drought, and climate change are no longer the internal issues of any member state but regional and international issues because they affect all.
The meeting brought together ministers responsible for Land, Environment and Justice from IGAD member states namely Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda to make a joint commitment towards issues that affect us all.
The minister also commended the active participation of the judiciary which she said is such an important player in the land sector because it is always the arbitrator.
She explained that arbitrating land conflicts requires a robust and active judiciary to be able to decide in an objective and fair manner based on all facts.
“We therefore realise the need for a well-funded and robust judiciary system in the region that has the capacity to network and share lessons,” she said.
She also thanked IGAD, IDLO and other partners for supporting the move towards resolving land conflicts in the region, retaliating to her ministry’s commitment to handle the outcomes of the conference.
“We are going to work in close partnership with all the member states and IGAD secretariat in the implementation of the resolutions. As the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, we are going to spearhead this process.”
The delegation from Ethiopia shared that their government has taken important measures to ensure security of land owners and production. They retaliated the government’s commitment to collaborate with IGAD to address the issues raised in the meeting.
“Millions of farmers have been registered and granted access to credit. Small holder farmers too have been helped to embrace mechanised agriculture.”
Speaking at the conference, the representative from Kenya shared that the Kenyan constitution provides for sustainable exploitation of resources to empower all Kenyans. She said that they are considering peace, economic development and environment for the benefit of the Kenyan communities.
The delegate from Somalia told the conference that one of the key ideas of President Hassan Sheikh Mohammud is to create a federal Ministry of Environment and Climate Change.
“Somalia’s land tenure system has provided a flexible structure that local people can play with. We are committed to support the outcome of this meeting and development partners to see issues of land and environment protected and addressed.”
This ministerial meeting has been preceded by a high level regional conference on land and conflict in the East and the Horn of Africa between October 24-26, 2022.
It was to pave the way for the leaders to discuss and agree on a shared regional agenda on land use and management transformation and conflict management with a set of recommendations and a way forward.
The meeting attracted attendance by representatives of international and regional organisations involved in rule of law, access to justice and management of land conflict, notably in the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO), Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises (SPARC) and International Land Coalition (ILC).
The leaders appreciated the need to ensure that there is appropriate balancing of rights of communities, individuals and legitimate state responsibilities of facilitating investments and development including utilisation of land for pastoralist and agro pastoralist purposes.
The plurality of legal systems to address land and conflict issues and the lack of coherence among these systems leads to inefficiency and sometimes is a driving factor in conflicts related to land and natural resources.
Based on the report of the High Level Regional Conference on Land and Conflict in the East and Horn of Africa and the recommendations outlined therein; as well as the validated National Assessment on Land and Conflict in the IGAD region, the ministers agreed on the Transformative Agenda, which aims to promote access to justice, reduce conflict, promote climate change mitigation and adaptation, secure land rights, promote gender equality and thus promote sustainable development of East and Horn of Africa.