Tuesday, March 20, 2012

ILC Africa – Steering Committee Meeting with Dr. Madiodio Niasse, Director ILC Secretariat, to be held in Kigali on 28.-29. March

From 28th to 29th March 2012, the members of the International Land Coalition (ILC) Africa Region Steering Committee will gather together in Stipp Hotels, Kigali for their annual steering committee meeting 2012.

The Landnet Rwanda Chapter Coordination Agency and Node for ILC Africa, Rwanda Initiative for Sustainable Development (RISD), will organize the meeting, which will be of great importance for the ILC Africa Region as the Steering Committee will decide about future National Engagement Strategies (NES), next steps for regional initiatives, as for example the Land Conflict Strategy which has been developed by ILC Africa members recently, as well as the next phase for the ILC Scorecard Project, a monitoring tool designed by RISD to measure country progress regarding implementation of the Africa Land Policy Framework and Guidelines (ALPFG).

The ILC Secretariat, which is based in Rome, recognizes the importance of decentralization and has therefore launched an assessment by an international consultant on the decentralization process in Africa, which also will be exclusively discussed during the meeting.

The significance of this years steering committee meeting will be underscored by the participation of the Director of the ILC Secretariat, Dr. Madiodio Niasse, who will be visiting Rwanda for the first time. This also marks the weight of Rwanda for ILC and the relevance of land reform in Rwanda for the whole continent.

Dr. Niasse will participate in the two-day meeting and furthermore use the opportunity to strengthen the relationship with partners in Rwanda, including high-rank government officials and other relevant stakeholders in the Rwandan land sector.  

Therefore Dr. Niasse will meet the Prime Minister, Damien Habumuremyi, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MINIRENA), the Rwanda Natural Resources Authority (RNRA), as well as country representatives of the European Union (EU), the Embassy of the Netherlands, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Find an exclusive interview done by Christian Schulze with Dr. Madiodio Niasse about the ILC Africa Region, the ILC decentralization process and the Africa Land Policy Framework and Guidelines (ALPFG) below:  

Dr. Madiodio Niasse, Director ILC Secretariat
Dear Dr. Niasse, please describe which relevance does Africa have for ILC?
ILC was established 15 years ago as a coalition of civil society and intergovernmental organization, to promote secure access to land for the poor, especially the rural poor. There are three elements with this mandate which show how relevant Africa is for the ILC. One is the fact that ILC is a coalition, the primary purpose of which is to create space for civil society organizations, by connecting them together to form powerful alliances, and by linking them with international and highly influential multilateral development organizations. This goal is particularly relevant where you have weak governance and/or authoritarian regimes. Despite progress made in recent decades, the voices of the CSOs are silenced or not heard in many African countries where the political arena is still restricted. Secondly, ILC focuses on the rural poor, and as we all know, the poverty incidence in Africa and in other developing countries is highest in rural areas. Third, tenure insecurity is rampant in Africa, in many cases it is one of the biggest obstacles to developing the agricultural sector and to combating rural poverty. Promoting equitable and secure access to land can therefore be a powerful means of unleashing the productive potential of the millions of smallholder farmers and landless families of the continent.

What contribution do you see for the LandNet Rwanda Chapter coordination agency Rwanda Initiative for Sustainable Development (RISD) as the ILC Africa Regional Node?
ILC is now engaged in a decentralization process by supporting members in Africa, Asia and Latin America, to build strong regional platforms. We consider this regionalization process as contributing to the Coalition’s readiness to address land governance issues on the ground. Each ILC regional platform is supported by a node coordination mechanism (a light secretariat). Each of these nodes is hosted by a member organization: ANGOC is hosting the node for Asia which is based in Manila, Philippines; CEPES is hosting the Latin America node in Lima, Peru. The Africa node is currently being hosted by RISD in Kigali, Rwanda. We are very grateful to RISD and to other members that have accepted to host the regional nodes. We are well aware that hosting a node is very demanding, with tasks ranging from human resources and administrative assistance to accounting, finance and grants management. Host organizations are also expected to play a key role in regional steering committees.  

Many observers declared the Africa Land Policy Framework and Guidelines (ALPFG) as unique milestone for the sustainable security of land tenure systems and land rights in Africa. What is special about the ALPFG and what is the ILC’s position towards the framework?
The formulation of the ALPFG is a great achievement, first for bringing back land governance as a key development priority for Africa. It is also a document of excellent quality, giving clear direction for the future, while being flexible enough to accommodate the significant regional diversities and country specificities. The ALPFG is not a document to be approved, ratified or implemented by countries. It is rather a document that raises awareness on the importance of land governance and calls on states and other relevant parties (including farmers’ organizations and CSOs) to revisit, re-examine their land policies (where they exist), and engage in open multi-stakeholder processes to strengthen their land governance frameworks. From ILC’s point of view, the ALPFG, which is endorsed by Heads of States, have the necessary legitimacy to give an entry point for engaging with governments in various country contexts, and for setting in motion multi-stakeholder process on national land governance priorities.

What is ILC’s commitment towards supporting the implementation of the ALPFG?
The ALPFG is an Africa- initiated and an Africa-led process. ILC’s ambition is to work closely with and support the Africa Land Policy Initiative by promoting national processes aimed at improving the legal and regulatory framework. We will support our members (especially farmers’ and CSOs) in their efforts to move forward the pro-poor land agenda at the national level. Essentially, we are helping popularize the ALFPG as it is necessary that the document be understood and owned by the African people. We are also exploring ways of putting in place mechanisms for monitoring progress made by countries in translating into reality the ALPFG values and aspirations principles.  We will consult with our African members and the LPI in order to identify other possible ways of supporting this important initiative.

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