November 14, 2012, Yaoundé, Cameroon -
7-8, 2012, 95 participants from 22 countries convened at the Hotel
Franco in Yaoundé, Cameroon for the 1st Africa Land Forum with the theme
‘Securing the land rights of indigenous people and rural communities’.
The forum was organized by the Mbororo Social and Cultural Development
Association of Cameroon (MBOSCUDA) and the International Land Coalition
The Africa Land Forum included presentations from
nationally recognized activists and land rights experts in Cameroon,
including Dr. Manu Ibrahim, lecturer at the University of Dschang, Mr.
Abdoulaye Harrissou, acclaimed author of 'Land, a human right:
micro-properties, social peace and development' and the esteemed Hawa
Bouba of MUSAB Cameroon. ILC Africa members from throughout Africa
presented their achievements and lessons learned for promoting
people-centred land governance at the national level. The importance of
gender equity and women’s land rights was a central theme throughout the
During his keynote speech, MBOSCUDA National President El
Hadj Jaji Manu Gidado, declared “Our country, Cameroon, is made up of
240 different ethnic groups, including the Mbororo and Pygmies. MBOSCUDA
is one of the principle organizations advocating for their political
and socio-economic emancipation”. He exclaimed,. “Every day land is
becoming more precious. The rich are becoming more interested in land
that belongs to the indigenous and rural poor communities, who are
considered as everlasting strangers who must one day leave their land.
We are saying no, we are all Cameroonians, we are all Africans, and all
of us have the same rights.”
On the second day of the Forum, a
delegation of ten forum participants, including ILC Africa Chair Odenda.
Lumumba, Mr. Gidado, representatives of indigenous people in Kenya and
Madagascar, and the ILC Secretariat were summoned by Cameroon Prime
Minister Philémon Yunji Yang to discuss national land reform and
Musa Usman, MBOSCUDA Vice President,
articulated their discontent with the marginalization of indigenous
people in Cameroon from decision-making processes to the Prime Minister.
Mr. Lumumba explained ILC’s program supporting the development of
National Engagement Strategies (NES) for collaborative land policy
reform processes that bring together diverse stakeholders, including
governments, and how this process could be relevant to the land reforms
Emphasizing his support for engaging with MBOSCUDA
in the land reform process, Mr. Yang said, “I am very hopeful that
organisations like yours can help us in the land reform process. The ILC
can help support governments in this regard by sharing lessons learned
At the end of the forum, participants unanimously
approved the Yaoundé Declaration, which identifies emerging issues and
challenges on land issues and details eight recommendations focused on
African governments, in particular the government of Cameroon. The
Yaoundé Declaration highlighted both the Africa Land Policy Framework
and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of
Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security,
and calls on governments to reform of national land processes to adhere
ILC Africa Chair Odenda Lumumba said, “This declaration
will guide our future dealings and concerns about land issues in Africa.
It’s not going to be easy, as land in agriculture in Africa basically
serves vested interests.” Many African countries are now developing new
national land frameworks.
To read the full Declaration issued by the land forum, visit: http://www.landcoalition.org/news/yaounde-declaration-1st-ilc-africa-land-forum
The program and presentations can be downloaded from the ILC website: http://www.landcoalition.org/events/1st-africa-land-forum-securing-land-rights-indigenous-people-and-rural-communities
Pictures of the land forum can be viewed on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/landcoalition/sets/72157631944415004/
Source: International Land Coalition