The Final National Land Policy (NLP) of Sierra Leone provides the vision, principles and policy components to give direction to and definition of the roles and responsibilities of various government and customary authorities, and other non-state actors, in land management. Specifically, it enunciates policy statements in respect of the key components of the National Land Policy such as access to land and tenure, land use, regulation and the management of special land issues, land administration structures, land laws and the Constitution. The document addresses the major issues related to land management and administration in Sierra Leone, with a view to moving towards a clearer, more effective and just land tenure system that shall provide for social and public demands, stimulate responsible investment and form a basis for the nation’s continued development. The text of the policy is composed of the following Chapters: 1) Introduction; 2) Vision and guiding principles; 3) The land question; 4) Issues related to constitutional reform; 5) Land tenure framework; 6) Facilitating equitable access to land; 7) Land rights administration and institutional framework; 8) Land use planning and regulation for land development; 9) Land issues requiring special intervention; 10) Land policy implementation framework.The NLP makes reference to food security issues. As regards access to land for responsible investment, it stipulates that the Government shall create an enabling environment to attract responsible investments (both domestic and foreign) in accordance with established laws and procedures without exceptions. The Government shall adopt measures to ensure that investors act responsibly, respect human and land rights, do no harm to food security, local livelihoods and the environment. Measures shall therefore be taken to guarantee food security and the realization of the right to adequate food.The NLP takes into special account the importance of sustainable use of land and natural resources. Spatial planning will take duly into account the need to promote diversified sustainable management of land, and land-based natural resources, including agro-ecological approaches and sustainable intensification. Chapter 8.3 outlines environmental management principles.The document also aims at reducing rural poverty. It is established that land use planning should also accommodate the goals of food security and the progressive realization of the right to adequate food, poverty eradication and sustainable livelihoods.The NLP aims at enabling more inclusive agricultural systems as regards land tenure and gender issues. One of the guiding principles is to ensure equal rights of women and men in the enjoyment of all human rights, acknowledge differences between women and men and shall take specific measures to accelerate de facto equality where discrimination exists. Further, the NLP shall ensure equal tenure rights and access to land for women and girls independent of their civil or marital status. Chapter 9.2 regards land rights for the vulnerable groups and minorities. The Government shall facilitate and promote indigenous knowledge and build the capacity of customary tenure institutions to enhance land governance in all areas consistent with the principles and aspiration expressed by the National Land Policy.The policy aims at increasing the resilience of livelihoods to disasters. Chapter 9.5 regards disaster management. The Government shall: a) rationalize the legal, policy and institutional frameworks for the prevention and management of land-related disasters; b) strengthen the legal and administrative frameworks for resettlement in the event of natural disasters; c) regulatory frameworks for tenure, including spatial planning, should be designed to avoid or minimize the potential impacts of natural disasters; d) address legitimate tenure rights in disaster prevention and preparedness programmes; e) legitimate tenure rights of displaced persons should also be recognized, respected and protected. Information on tenure rights and unauthorized use should be disseminated to all affected persons; f) during the reconstruction phase. Persons who are temporarily displaced should be assisted in voluntarily, safely and with dignity returning to their place of origin. Systems for recording legitimate tenure rights should be resilient to natural disasters, including off-site storage of records, to allow right holders to prove their rights and relocate their parcels and other spatial units.The Ministry of Lands shall, in consultation with other sectorial agencies and development partners, set out a framework for the implementation of this National Land Policy. The envisaged framework shall provide for the establishment of an interim administrative mechanism to operationalize this Policy pending the establishment of the NLC. In addition, the framework shall provide for capacity building and mechanisms for financing the implementation of this Policy. The Ministry of Lands shall establish a National Land Policy and Reform Unit (NLPRU).
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MINISTRY OF LANDS, COUNTRY PLANNING AND THE ENVIRONMENT
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