The UN-Habitat land program in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is an innovative example of a community based approach to raise awareness on how addressing tenure security in post-conflict settings is critical for achieving peace. The program started conducting a land conflict mitigation strategy through mediation “as an entry point for a national reform of the land tenure legislation” to contribute to stability, said Mr. Oumar Sylla, Chief Technical Adviser (CTA).
Street scene in Kinshasa and reforming land governance in DRC © UN-Habitat / A.Padros
This country experience was shared at the Workshop on land disputes resolution: learning from country experiences, organized at the UN-Habitat Headquarters in Nairobi (Kenya) from 11th to 13th June.
The workshop was initiated by the Regional Office of Africa and brought together country teams from Sudan, Liberia, Somalia and DRC, as well as representatives from the UN-Habitat Regional Office, Geneva office and both UN-Habitat branches ‘Urban Legislation, Land and Governance’ (GLTN) and ‘Urban Risk Reduction and Rehabilitation’.
These event aimed to promote “cross-fertilisation and experience sharing on land disputes resolution and security of tenure among countries in which UN-Habitat is currently intervening, and plan future joint activities in the region”, said Ms. Axumite Gebre-Egziabher, Director of the Regional Office for Africa.
With the aim to promote a better understanding of available tools and approaches to deal with land disputes, participating countries exposed the best practices on current land conflict mediation activities.
DRC country program shared land tools derived from concrete experiences, as for instance the Land Mediation Guide, recently developed for DRC under the guidance of the GLTN, as well as the Land Conflict Mediation Database.
On her part, Mrs. Elizabeth Moorsmith, Liberia Chief Techical Adviser presented the experience of the Liberia Land Commission, an autonomous government agency supported by UN-Habitat and established in 2009 to propose, advocate and coordinate reforms of land policy, laws and programs in Liberia.
One of the most applauded experiences of the Somalia Country Team was the Guiding Principles on Relocation (GPR) created in the Khartoum case to respond to the challenge of keeping “the human face” in a land redistribution process in urban contexts.
Based on the sharing of experiences from these countries, UN-Habitat is setting the foundations for the development of knowledge exchange programs, as well as for designing a land conflict management tool responding needs of country teams in Africa region.