Invitation to the Global Land Forum 2015

The Global Land Forum 2015will be held on May 12-16, 2015 in Dakar, Senegal with the theme “LAND GOVERNANCE FOR INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT, JUSTICE AND SUSTAINABILITY: TIME FOR ACTION”.

Organized by the International Land Coalition (ILC), the forum is open to members and the public as well.

Below are some basic information from forum website.

To register, visit http://www.globallandforum.org/

To respond to ILC’s extended call for membership, visit http://www.landcoalition.org/en/node/2424

WHY THE GLOBAL LAND FORUM?

The Global Land Forum is a unique event that brings together over 500 grassroots organisations, activists, local and international NGOs, researchers, multilateral organisations and government agencies from around the world.

The Forum is action-oriented. The programme is structured to provide opportunities to participants who may not commonly interact to debate, exchange, learn from each other’s experiences and successes, strategize, and build linkages. High-level plenary keynote presentations from different perspectives will provide a context for a wide diversity of sessions organised by participants according to their interests. There will be a strong focus onsharing best practices towards people-centred land governance, and on identifying opportunities for engagement and collaboration.

The Forum will create particular opportunities for participants to learn from, and contribute to, land governance successes and challenges in Senegal and Africa. It will facilitate dialogue to the highest political level on land reform in Senegal. Moreover, the global cope of the Forum will enable exchange across different national and regional contexts that allows for not only identification of trends, but also the emergence of new perspectives and areas demanding common action.

ILC’s 152 members will adopt a declaration with common commitments to action in their Assembly following the Forum.

Over the past decade, the International Land Coalition (ILC) has advanced its mission by promoting secure access to land for rural people, mainly through capacity building, dialogue, and advocacy.

Every two years, ILC organises an international Forum (GLF) to convene its members and other stakeholders to advance understanding of the complex and dynamic political, economic, environmental and social linkages between land governance, food security, poverty and democracy.

The 2015 Global Land Forum will take place 20 years after the Brussels Conference which established the International Land Coalition. In these two decades the members of the coalition have significantly advanced the coalition’s mission to promote secure and equitable access to and control over land.

Moreover the 2015 Global Land Forum will take place in the same year that the UN General Assembly commits to a new comprehensive sustainable development agenda, in which land and natural resources are likely to feature pro minently. It will offer a unique platform for considering the practical implications of such global commitments, and in particular how those concerned can link up their efforts to better bring about this change.

The Forum is an open event and is held back-to-back with ILC’s Assembly of Members.

The conference theme

Land governance for inclusive development, justice and sustainability: time for action stresses the centrality of land and natural resource rights to our vision of building a better world in the post-2015 era. It focuses on the progress achieved in benchmarking good land governance globally and in Africa, but also on the continued need to critically examine the benchmarks and improve them where possible. Furthermore, it emphasises the challenge of now translating them into reality.

Participants will hear challenging perspectives and debates in plenary, but will also be able to lead or participate in a wide variety of workshops on topics linked to the theme and to share innovation through the Marketplace of Ideas. There will be plenty of opportunities for interaction.

WHY AFRICA?

There is no better place than Africa to reflect on land governance issues and challenges in today’s context. Africa is the primary target in the current search for fertile lands to respond to increasing global demand for food and fuel crops. The continent is experiencing rapid demographic expansion, expected to exceed 2 billion people by 2050. It is also host of rapid urbanisation and fast-growing economies. It needs its land and natural resources to feed itself, combat poverty and support its economic ambitions, as well as meet the diverse present and future needs of local communities. In recent years, Africa is the continent that has made the most notable progress in inter-state collaboration by setting standards on land governance, as epitomised by the Framework and Guidelines on Land policy of the African Union, and the establishment of the Africa Land Policy Initiative. It also has systems of customary land tenure, which in some cases are still solid and can be adapted to the changing contexts.

The land management and governance decisions made now and to be made by Africans in the coming decade will have important repercussions on the future of the continent and globally.

Regional Context

Within Africa, land issues are the focus of both national and regional bodies. The African Union, the Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank have drafted the Africa Land Policy Framework and Guidelines (ALPFG), approved by African Heads of State, who also endorsed the establishment of the Land ¨Policy Initiative (LPI) to guide the implementation of the ALPFG. While other regions have not got the same regional policies in place, land questions are increasingly at the forefront of policy debates, particularly as a result of the food, climate and fuel crises that have become drivers for new acquisitions of land.

Land continues to be the subject of conflicts between local populations, the state and mining companies. Unequal land distribution, environmental degradation and competition for land resources are making it critical to establish sustainable, equitable and just land governance frameworks for the sake of political and social stability.

Sub-regional Context

Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have launched processes to develop roadmaps to harmonize their land policies to ensure land resources are equitably and sustainably managed. The Economic Community for West Africa (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) have embarked in the formulation of Directives on land governance.

Initial discussions are ongoing with regional organisations such as WAEMU/Hub Rural and ECOWAS to ensure their active participation in the opening ceremony and the Global Land Forum portions of the event. Their participation is key in the light of the regional process to develop land directives currently undergoing within ECOWAS. NOC members and CICODEV were engaged in early consultations in Abuja back in mid-2014.

National Context

Senegalese land law was perceived as very innovative right after its Independence, as it aimed to reconcile customary and formal land rules coupled to an advanced plan for the devolution of state control over land to local governing bodies.

The 1964 Law on the National Domain has turned virtually all rural land into the state property; which in turn, is given in usufruct to the farmers. The allocation or withdrawal of user right is based on the productive use of land, and an applicant also has to live in the community. Despite ongoing preparations, the Law on the National Domain is still the law of reference. However practises are evolving, partly due to government agricultural policies that promote land allocation to large scale investors, population growth and evolving market forces, all of which increase the gap between rules and practices. The current government has initiated a broad land governance reform process, which is expected to help the country reach its three-tiered development objectives of land security, food security and the eradication of rural poverty. A National Commission for Land Reform has been established in 2012, the political decentralization reform is cited to help accelerate land local governance.

The Senegalese National Monitoring Committee of the implementation of the VGGTs is in place and is supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, FAO, IFAD and other relevant actors. A global event such as the ILC AoM and GLF will offer the opportunity to national stakeholders to highlight land governance issues as they would have observed them in their monitoring exercise and benchmark their approaches and achievements to experiences from other regions of the world.

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