The Head of Division, Rural Economy of the African Union Commission, Dr. Janet Edeme, has said the issue of land is very critical to address the African agenda for 2063 and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Speaking at a validation workshop on the Development of Land Governance Strategy in Lusaka, Zambia recently, Dr. Edeme said there is need to address land challenges because of the impact on the environment, food security, agricultural productivity and on whether or not the continent will be able to achieve some of the important goals.
She said the issue needs to be addressed fundamentally for African nations to be able to achieve subsequent goals.
The Head of Division further said the AUC has continued to advocate for secure land tenure and improved land governance systems as a prerequisite for poverty reduction, sustainable development and maintaining peace and stability on the continent.
AUC, according to her, is working on guidelines to address land security on the continent bearing in mind the peculiar challenges faced in different regions, noting that West Africa faced issues of natural resources, climate change, insecurity of tenure and vulnerable populations among others.
For North Africa, it is environmental degradation, insecurity of tenure, gender inequality and low productivity on land resources while Southern Africa is grappling with inequality of distribution/access, security of tenure, dualism and harmonization of policies.
While noting that efforts are ongoing to ensure that annual land related activities are implemented across the various departments in the commission, she however explained that the land challenges need regional and continental response to tackle.
She stated that due to low political will/commitment by African governments,inadequate lessons learning in policy formulation/implementation and lack of sustainable financial support (donor, gov’t), there is need to create widespread awareness on the importance of integrating land governance within the AUC initiatives.