Land for Life Ethiopia organized a significant event marking the country’s first Ethiopian Land Day at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Addis Ababa on August 31, 2023. This groundbreaking event aimed to shed light on the vast opportunities and challenges within the country’s land governance system. The discussion revolved around the pressing need for a national land policy and the establishment of mandated institutions to administer the land sector. During this event, three thought-provoking papers were presented, covering topics such as climate change, land policy, and responsible agricultural investment. The event brought together key stakeholders, including representatives from different regional and federal government organizations, civil society organizations, academia, the private sector, media houses and representatives of farmers.

The panel discussion commenced with opening remarks by Yalemzewd Demissie (Land Administration and Geospatial Desk Head at the Ministry of Agriculture)  emphasizing the importance of inclusive and sustainable land governance systems to facilitate equitable growth, strengthen social cohesion, and ensure environmental integrity in Ethiopia.

Presentation 1 – Addressing Climate Change Challenges in the Land Sector:

The first paper was presented by Ato Dessalegn Rahamato (senior research fellow at the Forum for Social Studies, FSS), and entitled “Climate Change and the Challenges Facing the Land Sector.” Dessalegn Rahamato highlighted the significant impact of climate change on agricultural practices and land use. He stressed the urgent need for sustainable land management practices, the incorporation of climate change considerations into land governance policies, and investment in climate-resilient agricultural techniques. Dessalegn Rahamato’s paper underscored the importance of developing a holistic approach to land governance that takes into account the long-term impacts of climate change.  

Ato Dessalegn Rahamato presenting his paper on "Climate Change and the Challenges Facing the Land Sector". © Mulugeta Gadissa, Land for Life Ethiopia
Ato Abebaw Abebe speaking about land policy and institution. © Mulugeta Gadissa, Land for Life Ethiopia
Presentation 2 – Developing an Effective Land Policy and Institution:

Ato Abebaw Abebe (Land Law Expert from the Ministry of Agriculture) took center stage with his presentation on “Land Policy and Institution.” Abebaw emphasized the need for a comprehensive land policy that addresses issues of land tenure, allocation, and access to land. He underscored the importance of transparency, accountability, and citizen participation in decision-making processes related to land governance. Abebaw highlighted the role of institutions in ensuring effective implementation of land policies and safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders involved. The presentation triggered valuable discussions on how to strengthen land institutions and promote inclusive land governance frameworks.

Presentation 3 – Responsible Agricultural Investment in Land-Based Investment:

The final paper of the event was presented by Ato Bezualem Bekele (Environmental Policy, and Resource Efficiency Advisor from GIZ) focusing on “Responsible Agricultural Investment in Land-Based Investment.” Bezualem shed light on the CFS-RAI Principles, essential to responsible land-based investment from a land governance perspective, and to create an enabling environment for responsible investments. He stressed the importance of responsible agricultural investments that respect the rights and livelihoods of local communities. Bezualem highlighted the need for clear guidelines, regulations, and monitoring mechanisms to ensure sustainable and equitable land investments that contribute to local development.

Ato Bezualem Bekele highlighting the need for guidelines, regulations and monitoring mechanisms to ensure responsible agricultural investments. © Mulugeta Gadissa, Land for Life Ethiopia.

The event witnessed the active participation of various stakeholders, fostering meaningful exchanges and generating new, collaborative ideas. The presence of representatives from the public, civil society organizations, academia, the private sector, and farmers’ representatives exemplified the collective commitment to addressing the challenges of land governance in Ethiopia. The event provided a platform for sharing knowledge, experiences, and innovative strategies to shape the future of land governance in the country.

Participants of the event. © Mulugeta Gadissa, Land for Life Ethiopia.

Ethiopia’s first Land Day event organized by Land for Life Ethiopia resonated with a shared call for national land policy and mandated institutions to effectively govern the land sector. The insightful papers presented shed light on the various challenges faced, including those related to climate change, land policy, and responsible investment. The event’s success can be attributed to the broad range of participants and their commitment to fostering sustainable, inclusive, and accountable land management practices. By pushing the discourse surrounding land governance, this event has undoubtedly paved the way for informed decision-making and catalyzed positive change in Ethiopia’s land sector.

Mulugeta Gadissa,
Land for Life Ethiopia

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