Expert Meeting Explores Ethnic-based Land Conflicts in Africa
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An Expert Group Meeting convened by the Land Policy Initiative (LPI) endorsed the conclusions of a study exploring ethnic-based land conflicts in Africa.

Participants called for the establishment of a high-level panel on land and development to help address peace and security issues in an integrated way.

14 June 2017: An Expert Group Meeting convened by the Land Policy Initiative (LPI) endorsed the conclusions of a study exploring ethnic-based land conflicts in Africa. Participants called for the establishment of a high-level panel on land and development to help address peace and security issues in an integrated way.

The LPI meeting, which took place from 13-14 June 2017, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, brought together 42 participants, including representatives from African Union (AU) member States, the AU Commission (AUC), UN agencies, and research and civil society organizations. The meeting’s objective was to validate the conclusions of a LPI-commissioned study that assessed the relationship between land, ethnicity and conflicts in Africa.

Explaining the genesis of the study, LPI Coordinator Joan Kagwanja noted that, while land conflicts in Africa have been extensively documented, “relatively little or nothing has been recorded about the relationship between land, ethnicity and conflicts.” She stressed that resolving land conflicts is a prerequisite to achieving Africa’s sustainable development objectives as the majority of Africans rely heavily on agriculture and natural resources for their livelihoods. The discussions drew on several case studies explored in the study, in particular the Darfur crisis in Sudan.

LPI Coordinator Joan Kagwanja stressed that resolving land conflicts is a prerequisite to achieving Africa’s sustainable development objectives.

Among follow up actions, participants agreed to finalize a synthesis report, and develop policy briefs and regional background documents that integrate conflict-sensitive strategies. The experts also agreed to develop a research agenda on land, ethnicity and conflict in Africa that also explores interlinkages with, among other issues: migration; climate variability and change; peace and security; indigenous people and minorities; urbanization; and infrastructure and mining. The meeting underscored the gender dimensions of conflict and the need to find real solutions to mitigate suffering, especially of women and children caught in conflict.

The LPI serves as the secretariat of the tripartite consortium of the AUC, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and the African Development Bank (AfDB). Among other functions, the LPI facilitates the implementation of the AU Declaration on Land in Africa. [ECA Press Release on LPI Expert Meeting]

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