Corinthia Hotel - Khartoum, Sudan - Land in Sudan: Sudan is one of the largest countries in the African continent
, blessed by a wide variety of natural ecosystems and natural and land-based resources: vast agricultural and grazing lands, fertile soil, availability of water, mineral and extractive resources, etc. Many are also the land related challenges that the country faces: desertification and climate change, large population increase and movements requiring fast responses in terms of housing and services, rapid urbanisation, competition over rural land by farmers and pastoralists, large scale land-based investments, and others. Limited coverage of the territory by land registration and planning instruments, weak layers of governance and customary / native administrations, and young institutions contribute to the difficulties encountered in addressing the described challenges. Poverty, armed conflicts and population displacement add to the complexity of managing Sudan’s land.
Good land governance and land management is crucial for the social and economic development of the country.
In line with the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda, and the Voluntary Guidelines on Good Governance of Land, Fisheries and Forestry, the main aspects of land governance to be addressed in Sudan are:
Theme 1: Tenure security - Tenure security matters because it is the basis for adequate housing, settlement upgrading, responsible private investment and the overall prosperity of an inclusive and safe city. No one should be left behind concerning land rights and government should recognize, respect and safeguard all legitimate land tenure rights, including informal and customary tenure. Women, youth and vulnerable groups should be particularly addressed. Businesses are also responsible for respecting human rights and legitimate land tenure rights.
Theme 2: Fit for purpose land administration – It includes formal and customary land administration. It is important because: a) it creates short, simple, affordable land procedures and standards adjusted to local requirements; b) it creates accountability, transparency and participation of all key stakeholders when managing land; c) it enables customer-friendly delivery systems that are effective and efficient, accessible and affordable, accountable and transparent, and that exploit digital and communication technologies as well as the wide range of data and information, including geospatial information; d) it leads to transparent and responsible public and private land management; e) it underpins the establishment and implementation of national land policies, laws and standards in accordance with international law;
Theme 3: Peace and stability - There is increased evidence that land-related issues are one of the main root causes of civil unrest and violent conflicts globally, and they contribute to protracting conflicts in fragile states. Sudan is no exception. Good land governance is therefore more and more considered to be a key element for the prevention, mitigation and resolution of conflicts and for the early recovery of societies emerging from war. Further, internal conflicts seem to have higher incidence in states where institutions are weak, capacity is low and the legitimacy of the government is questioned. Land governance interventions are also crucial for strengthening the capacity, the institutions and the legitimacy of the state, aspects that can be considered as building blocks for state-building. State-building in conflict settings enhances the capacity, institutions and legitimacy of the state. In regard to land, capacity is the ability of the state to design and implement land related policies and laws, maintain rule of law and protect people from forced evictions. In regard to legitimacy, which is about whether the people and the have mutual trust and similar understanding of the concept, land policy processes develop the legitimacy of the state. Land administration systems must legitimise land tenure relationships between citizens and the state in a way that people can trust the government. Institutions are arrangement that structure political, economic and social interaction such as laws or customary practices. Land related examples are land laws for restitution, customary rules such as territorial agreements for stock routes, land record systems for forcibly abandoned houses. All of this builds land governance. It is therefore considered that land governance provides a solid foundation for conflict prevention, mitigation, resolution, early recovery and development as it addresses land as a root cause of conflicts and land governance process contribute to state-building and peace building.
In Sudan, the capacities to understand, monitor and address these land governance aspects need to be strengthened at the different levels of governance and with the support of the national and regional research and academic institutions. National and international development and humanitarian partners need to have a shared understanding and vision for taking the land governance agenda forward, to ensure socio-economic development, peace and stability in the country.
The National Land Conference will be a first step towards the improvement of land governance and land management in the country by stimulating the debate among key Sudanese land actors on the priority challenges and opportunities and develop a common understanding and vision for the way forward.
The Conference will provide an opportunity for national, regional and international land actors in Sudan to share ideas and discuss about key land governance themes. Opinions, challenges and possible options for the way forward will be shared by participants of difference experience and background.
The overall objective of the Conference is to develop a joint understanding of key land governance challenges and opportunities in Sudan and form a common vision with key recommendations for the way forward improving land governance in Sudan.
Specific objectives are to: Share knowledge and experiences on land governance in Sudan; Identify the main challenges and likely solutions regarding specific land governance themes; Agree on a joint way forward and commit to a set of actions to improve land governance in Sudan; Map the national land actors, institutions and interventions.
The Conference is expected to have the following outcomes: An established group of champions with a common land governance agenda; A set of emerging streams of work and commitments for the way forward that can be jointly acted upon by different levels of governments and key partners. An agreed set of recommendations and roadmap for strengthening the land governance in Sudan.
The snapshot will be prepared and presented to the land conference in more focused manner and to the point per thematic areas of land issues following the same framework, thus contributing from different angles to the same goal, is required to accomplish the following three (3) tasks: A) Identify 3- 5 key thematic land challenges ; B) Identify 3 -5 potential solutions and strategies for addressing land challenges for each thematic area; C) identify a joint way forward and commit to a set of actions to improve land governance in Sudan
The aim of the exercise is to facilitate the discussion per thematic area, identifying priorities and possible solutions, and to subsequently exchange what comes out of the discussions, and creating the opportunity to successfully diagnose the challenges identified and propose recommendations across different themes of the land issues and potential collaboration between land actors and institutions.
The participation to the conference will be open to all actors who have a role in the Sudan land sector, including government officials from federal, state and local level, UN agencies and mission, academia, private sector, civil society, community-based organisations, native administration and donors.