Conference on Land Management in Sudan Kicks off Today

Apr 15, 2018

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The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Physical Development and the Darfur land Commission in collaboration with UNDP, UN-HABITAT, FAO and GLTN have launched today April 15th “The Land Conference – Challenges and Opportunities” amidst wide participation from government officials, federal, state and local level, UN agencies, academia, private sector, civil society, community-based organizations, native administration and representatives of the donor community.

This two-day conference marks the first step towards improving land governance and land management in the Sudan by stimulating the debate among key Sudanese land actors regarding the challenges and opportunities present in land management in Sudan and to develop a common understanding and vision on key land governance themes.

UN-Habitat Director Mr. Wael Al-Ashab addressed the opening session where he highlighted the importance of this conference by stating “ The organization of this conference is timely as the security situation continues to improve in Darfur which requires fast responses in terms of housing and services, rapid urbanization, competition over rural land by farmers and pastoralists, large scale land-based investments, and others. Hence, land management needs to be further strengthened in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the New Urban Agenda, and the Voluntary Guidelines on Good Governance of Land, Fisheries and Forestry.”

Commissioner of the Darfur Land Commission Mr. Mohamed Salih Mango asserted that “The Commission is very pleased with the current coordination between the FAO and the UNDP and other governmental bodies in addressing issues such as Tenure security and peaceful reconciliation of conflicts over land. Previously, all land-related laws were formulated here in Khartoum. We are now discussing with the native administration in Darfur different approaches to reform land laws which will then seek the ratification of legislative councils in the five Darfur states.”

H.E. Ambassador Rashid Bin Abel Rahaman Al-Neimi Ambassador to Qatar further called for the endorsement of the outcomes of this conference by stating “This process is owned by all Darfurians who contributed and participated in the consultations represented by the Darfur native administration and Nomads and Farmers Unions. This conference has brought Darfurians’ concerns forward but this is still the beginning and there is still more to accomplish. Qatar will continue to support rebuilding and development efforts in Darfur as part of its firm commitment to supporting the Doha Peace Agreement.”

United Nations Resident Coordinator Marta Ruedas reiterated the UN Commitment to overcoming challenges to land management in Darfur such as desertification and urbanization by saying “This conference on land management has been organized based on a general consensus that good land governance is critical for sustainable social and economic development. Indeed, the importance of land resources and land management is captured in SDG 15 as a global goal. The UN family is proud to be part of this workshop on land issues, which is one of the root causes of tensions in Greater Darfur and other parts of Sudan. This technical event starting today is a part of UN joint project called “Strengthening Land Management for Peaceful Co-existence” among the Darfur Land Commission, UN HABITAT, FAO and UNDP, in consultation with all the relevant government entities. The project started in 2016, with the generous support from Qatar Fund for Development and as part of activities of the Darfur Development Strategy. We are also seeing interest from other donors to support land related programmes.

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State Minister of Environment Mr. Aboud Jabir Saeed underscored the importance of this conference by stating “It is important to assess current land tenure laws and consider as well the views of the communities on the ground. We are therefore very thankful to the UN and State of Qatar for taking the initiative in this regard.

Sudan, like many other African countries, is blessed with land-based resources, such as fertile agricultural land, and mineral and extractive resources. Many countries also face land related challenges. We are therefore, keen on cooperatinng with regional and international partners to review relevant lessons learned and good practices from other countries on land management issues.”

Recommendations of the conference focused on the imperative need to introduce reforms to the current land laws arguing that certain laws are conflicting and hence do not prioritize the interest of the land owners and should be revisited. Other issues included the need to boost awareness amongst communities on the rights of individuals in addition to the removal of current bottlenecks hindering proper registration of land. Participants further called for the need to address desertification and climate change’s impact on fertile land and to replicate the successful experiences of smart partnership between the private sector, the public in Darfur.

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