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E. African ministers endorse regional land
governance strategy to spur development

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Ministers from Eastern Africa on Thursday endorsed a regional land governance strategy to promote sustainable development.

The ministers from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) responsible for agriculture and land said that they are eager to implement effective regional land governance programs that will enhance regional integration necessary to achieve broader social, economic and environmental goals.

“We hereby consider and endorse the IGAD Land Governance Strategy and the Strategy to Mainstream Land Governance into programs and projects as well as those of member states,” they said in a joint communique released in Nairobi.

The ministers from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda also considered and adopted the IGAD Land Governance Business Plan 2019-2023 and committed member states to mobilize domestic financial resources for its implementation.

They noted that over 80 percent of land in the IGAD member states was under customary or informal tenure.

The trade bloc also undertook to strengthen land resource monitoring systems as well as coordinate efforts towards the sustainable management and utilization of shared natural resources.

The Horn of Africa bloc also committed to harmonizing existing national plans of action for marginal lands and dry lands management and also ensure control of land degradation in line with the resolution of Urgent Action for Africa under the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

They also committed to take special measures in support of countries that have not advanced in the development of national policies, legislative and institutional frameworks on land.

The regional bloc reaffirmed commitment to allocating adequate budgetary resources for national land policy development and implementation processes, including the monitoring of progress.

Gideon Mung’aro, Kenya’s Chief Administrative Secretary in the ministry of lands and physical planning, said that the strategy and IGAD Mainstreaming strategy of Land Governance in the region are important frameworks that should be supported and endorsed for use in the region.

“Through the strategies, member states will enhance leveraging of internal capacities in further improving land governance in the region and agree on key values, principles and standards that will foster the strengthening of land governance in the region,” he added.

The Kenyan official noted that IGAD is one of the regional economic communities that is spearheading improvement of land governance through the implementation of the mandate under the AU declaration.

“We also welcome donor support in this effort but also urge member states to increase their national budgets on land to achieve sustainability of systems and land reforms,” the ministry official said.

He observed that IGAD member states are at different levels of implementation of the AU declaration on land.

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