The session ”Exploring tools and approaches towards responsible youth and gender sensitive land governance and transparency in Africa” took place on November 27th, 2019 in the framework of the Conference on Land Policy in Africa and was organized by the Global Land Tool Network and the International Land Coalition. Land is both a source of livelihood and life line for most communities in Africa and is considered a strategic social and economic resource for communities in rural and urban areas. As population expands, demand for land-based resources is steadily on the rise.
Rapid urbanization and development have increased investment of land mainly in agriculture for food production. This situation that has increased cases of alienation of land from local communities and women for large scale investment by governments and private sector and through elite capture. This over-solicitation leads to the exclusion of certain social groups on the bases of gender inequality which often discriminate against women and youth from access and control over land and other natural resources. As a result, land has increasingly become a source of disputes within family, community, as well as with local land governance authorities, cities’ authorities and state officers. African leaders have often cited youth engagement in agriculture as solution to reducing poverty. However, there has not been any policy directive that specifically support youth access to and control over land in which they need to actualize and fast track this economic development. Unfavorable land tenure and governance policies and discrimination of young people are some of the challenges standing on their way to economic freedom through agricultural ventures.
Despite the glaring gap, global and regional discourse on the importance of securing land rights for the youth continue to gain momentum. The Global Land Tool Network through its partners developed a Youth and Land Responsiveness criteria supported to support governments and agencies monitor and increase their responsiveness to youth needs in land governance policies and programs. Through its application, the tool facilitate youth to access to policy spaces and processes that support inclusiveness in decision making processes. The African Union Framework and Guidelines on Land Policies in Africa; through the Africa Land Policy Centre (ALPC) have continuously affirmed this need and commitment to bridge the gap. Most tools developed by these two networks of partners aims at increasing transparency in land governance, fighting corruption in the land sector and reinforce gender equality.
The objective of the session was to create an open discussion where different actors will share their tools, country-based experiences and approaches in securing land rights for the youth, the fight against corruption and enhance transparency in the land sector by targeting mainly women and youth, including young women and girls. However, in terms of added value, this session will put more emphasis on the issue of young people and girls with regards to securing their land rights.
The side event showcased tools and approaches that promote security of tenure rights for the youth in Africa. The session further located the importance of land to youth not only as means to economic empowerment but as right and obligation for which the AU has committed to and if provided will accelerate achievement of Agenda2063. Furthermore, the participants of the session improved knowledge and understanding of tools and best practices for securing land and tenure rights of young women and girls,increased appreciation of the importance of the link between securing tenure rights for women and youth to fight corruption and improveyt transparency in the land sector and relevant recommendations made to state and non-state actors and the AU towards advancing land rights for the youth towards achieving Agenda 2063.