Ethiopia Land Administration to Nurture Development (LAND) UPDATE: September 2015

The “LAND UPDATE” is an electronic newsletter produced by the Ethiopia Land Administration to Nurture Development (LAND) project. The LAND project works at the national and regional levels of government to further improve the legal and regulatory framework related to land tenure and property rights and thereby support the Government of Ethiopia’s and USAID’s goal of increasing economic growth, particularly agricultural sector growth, improving rural resiliency, and improving governance. LAND uses a variety of activities to strengthen capacity of land administration and land use institutions. In addition, LAND supports activities focusing on securing rights to community lands, strengthening capacity of community members to manage their natural resource assets.

LAND Implementation to Commence in Afar Regional State

LAND began consultations with Afar National Regional State and stakeholders on ways of supporting the regional government in securing pastoralists land use rights. At the first consultation meeting held from April 30 – May 1, 2015, H.E. Ato Ismail Ali Sirro, President of the Afar Regional State said, “Despite our region’s immense potential for crop farming and the existence of various natural resources and large number of livestock, the people of our region could not benefit from these resources due to natural and man-made problems as well as lack of appropriate land administration and land use plans.” According to the President, the region hasn’t conducted demarcation, registration, and certification of communal grazing lands due to lack of experienced and trained manpower. He added that the lack of recognition of pastoralists’ land use rights resulted in mismanagement and degradation of communal lands and a decline in livestock productivity.

In 2014, LAND built the capacity of the region’s Environmental Protection and Land Administration and Use Agency by sponsoring three of its staff to a Master’s Degree in Land Administration and Management at the Institute of Land Administration in Bahir Dar University. This coming year, two more staff will join the program and one of them is female. LAND also provided short term trainings on land use planning and rural land laws. Currently, support is being given in revising the region’s land expropriation, valuation and compensation guidelines.

LAND is embarking on piloting demarcation and certification of pastoral lands in selected sites of the Afar National Regional State. The main objective of the new intervention is to assist the regional state government to formalize the land use rights of pastoral communities and give recognition to and strengthen the community land governance entities that would manage their rangeland and its natural resources.

Appreciating LAND’s plan, the Vice President of the region H.E. Ato Awol Arba, said, “We have land administration and use policy and law as well as guidelines for their implementation. What we haven’t done is implementing them. Therefore, I appreciate the idea proposed by the LAND project to pilot selected woredas for communal land certification.”

LAND is recruiting a regional coordinator for the region and making preparations to conduct rapid appraisal in the selected sites for the pilot. It will also continue consultations with stakeholders to pave the way for successful intervention in the region.

Grant Issued for Research in the Land Sector

LAND began releasing grants to the finalists of LAND competitive research and development grant scheme, which has a total value of over $600,000. LAND announced the grant program in July 2014 and in response, 32 concept notes were submitted. LAND’s review and evaluation committee selected 14 concept notes from 12 institutions to move to the next cycle of developing full proposals.

Subsequently, six applicants made it to the final stage and have signed grant agreements with LAND.

The institutions represented by project leaders and principal researchers were given orientation on the terms and conditions of the awards as well as grant administration processes prior to commencement of project implementation. During the orientation, Dr. Solomon Bekure, LAND COP, stated that there was limited research conducted in the land sector in Ethiopia. LAND’s Competitive Grant scheme is the first step towards helping bridge the gap. The result of such research can evidently inform policy makers and land administration and use professionals as well as other concerned stakeholders. USAID Senior Agricultural Policy Advisor, Dr. Zemen Haddis made significant investment in the land sector, providing comprehensive support in all regions. The main objective of investing in land is to ensure land tenure security. He stressed that the research findings should not be shelved as reports, rather they need to be made widely available to stakeholders to bring about practical changes.

A half-day training was also organized for the grantees’ financial, procurement and administrative staff on standard financial management and administrative requirements of USAID grants.

LAND’s research grant scheme is established to promote research excellence and to nurture and develop a research network and peer cooperation in the land sector among universities and research organizations. Operations of ETHIOLANDNET by Bahir Dar University to engage in the promotion of research and exchange of information among universities, government organizations and research institutions is one of the grants approved under the scheme.

The next round of LAND competitive research grant scheme is expected to be announced before the end of the year.

Gender Mainstreaming Training for Draft Lawmakers

LAND organized a two-day gender mainstreaming training for 19 members of the Ethiopian Women’s Land Rights Taskforce on 21 to 22 April 2015 in Bishoftu. Similar trainings were also arranged for 6 members of the drafting committee for amending the rural land administration and land use proclamation no. 456/2005 and five members of the drafting committee for the proposed Oromia pastoral land administration regulation on 23 and 24 April 2015 respectively in Bishoftu. Ms. Hirut Girma, from Landesa and Ms. Rene Giovarelli, from the Center for Gender and Resource Equity (CGRE) in the US, who were assisted by Ms. Medhanit Adamu, LAND’s Gender Specialist, conducted the training. LAND’s Property Right Lawyer, Mr. Abebe Mulatu, gave an overview of the law making process in Ethiopia during the one day trainings designed for the drafting committee members.

LAND is currently assisting the Ethiopian government in drafting and amending rural land laws at the federal level. The gender mainstreaming training was organized to ensure that Ethiopian land laws recognize and protect women’s land rights and a gender sensitive approach is adopted as an integral part of the drafting and amending processes.

Even though the Ethiopian Constitution and land laws recognize women’s right to acquire, administer, control, use and transfer property, women remain significantly less likely to access, use and control land. The land they have access to is often of poorer quality and consists of smaller plots. LAND believes that effectively protecting women’s rights include providing capacity development training on women’s rights and gender mainstreaming methods to lawmakers. The trainings are intended to strengthen the capacity of those involved in drafting of laws by providing practical skills in gender analysis and raising their awareness of women’s land rights. The training is also aimed to equip participants with knowledge and skills to assess the strengths, gaps, and inconsistencies in existing land related laws; assess best practices in women’s land rights; and identify potential entry points for redressing the identified challenges.

Land Administration to Nurture Development (LAND) Contact: Tel: 251- (0) 116 631 129 , 251- (0) 116 630 832