On June 9, 2016, Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, announced the decision to develop a comprehensive national land use policy that provides a framework for a holistic and sustainable use of land to achieve social and economic development.
“Land use policy is at the heart of all development endeavors that aim to bring about economic transformation. Our success in achieving the transformation depends on the effective use of our land according to its potential,” the Prime Minister declared at a high-level discussion held in his office.
Accordingly, Desalegn ordered the development of a comprehensive national land use policy immediately, to be followed by a national land use plan within the coming three years. He urged all federal and regional government officials to ensure that the country’s land and natural resources are put to their best use until the policy comes into effect and the national land use plan is implemented.
Four peer-reviewed papers, which provide insights on the country’s land use trends, policy issues as well as key challenges facing the country, were also presented at the discussion. The papers include an analysis of landscape transformation and subsequent changes observed on natural resources and socioeconomic development in Ethiopia in the last three decades; a review of current Ethiopian policies and laws on land use; international experience on preparing and implementing national land use policies and their impacts on socioeconomic development; and the importance of a sound and robust land use policy.
More than 250 participants attended the high-level event, including ministers, regional presidents, the Prime Minister’s senior advisors and leaders of renowned academic institutions in Ethiopia.
The event concluded with the establishment of two committees to lead the policy development. The first is a technical committee composed of representatives from all ministries and government agencies that have a mandate to use or regulate the use of land and natural resources. Under the auspices and coordination of the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, this committee is tasked with preparing a draft of the policy by bringing together expertise and perspectives and priorities of all sectors on land use. The second is a high-level ministerial committee comprised of eight ministers who will oversee the activities of the technical committee and the formulation of a sound and robust national land use policy.