Sierra Leone News: Land Rights Policy Contributes to Poverty Reduction

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Jul 2017
Sierra Leone, July, 31 2017 - The Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment has developed a comprehensive national land policy to move towards a clearer, more efficient and just land tenure system that shall provide and public demands, stimulate responsible investment and form a basis for sustainable socio-economic development.

Land is among the major requirements for human survival. As such, the policies that determine its ownership and use are among the primary determinants of economic growth and poverty alleviation, which is essential in national development.

At the same time, and despite their importance, the fact that land issues are politically highly charged, and often controversial, has often limited their inclusion in the policy dialogue.
The Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment has developed a comprehensive national land policy to move towards a clearer, more efficient and just land tenure system that shall provide and public demands, stimulate responsible investment and form a basis for sustainable socio-economic development.

To further the discuss the policy the Ministry is currently engaging stakeholders at a two-day conference at the Miatta Conference hall on the theme, ‘the way forward for land reform in Sierra Leone.’
World Bank Country Manager, Parminder Brar, said that land is central for the economic development and social wellbeing of Sierra Leoneans, “without sorting out the land issue you cannot make much progress neither on the mining sector, manufacturing, or in the area of agriculture and I think that is why we are having a discussion at this the conference” he said.

Land issues he said are extremely complex with the free hold system and the customary system, “Paramount Chiefs are custodian of the lands in rural areas, and what the land policy does is really lay out the framework and the implementation plan deals with how we proceed.”
The World Bank, he said, was concerned about what the country was doing in the land management area in 2015, “we financed the overall land governance assessment framework and that has given a detailed write up on a whole lot of indicators on how Sierra Leone was performing in the area of land management.”

The WB, he said is very pleased that the government has finalised the land implementation plan, “we have offered the government $10 million USD for a new land project and we will support the implementation plan by moving forward jointly with the government on the issue of land,” he said.

In his keynote address, the Deputy Minister Mahmoud Tarawally, said that the aspirations on the national land policy is working towards a modern, integrated, secure, transparent, affordable and efficient land administration and management system (LAMS) that underpins economic growth, social stability and sustainability resource development in Sierra Leone by 2027.

The policy also aspires to improve land administration and management system that will foster confidence in the land market, minimize land disputes, support poverty alleviation and improve food security.
UNDP Country Director, Samuel Doe said that land policies are fundamental to sustainable growth, good governance and the well-being in all societies. Good land policies, he says, ensures equitable access to lands for fair and responsible investment and the socio-economic development of all citizens.

“The scarce land resource is new subject to competing pressures from urbanization, infrastructural development, agriculture, biomass fuel production and the provision of key ecosystem services,” he said.
The representative from the FAO, Nyabenyi Tito Tipo, said that there is need for wider distribution of the policy, and that awareness raising and open dialogue on the document is important.

“We recognize that the Law Reform Commission is working on the reformation and enactment of new land laws in line with the Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests within the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) and the new national land policy”

The VGGT she said has created a space for people to discuss tenure governance, through and inclusive multi-stakeholder platform has significantly influenced the formation of the new policy and its implementation.
The dialogue continues today with discussions around the challenges of customary land parcel mapping, large-scale land acquisition and rural land management issues, the role of the judiciary and justice sector in land tenure governance, gender equality and social equity issues in land governance.



Source : Awoko
 

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