The Challenges of Citizen Participation in Land Governance in 21st Century Africa and Launch of the NELGA Central Africa Alumni Network | Land Portal

In order to build human and institutional capacity for the implementation of the African Union (AU) land agenda, the African Land Policy Centre (ALPC) has established the Network of Excellence on Land Governance in Africa (NELGA). NELGA is a partnership of leading African universities and research institutes with a proven track record of leadership in land governance education, training and research. NELGA currently has more than 70 partner institutions across Africa. NELGA aims to improve training opportunities and curricula on land governance in Africa, promote demand-driven research on land policy issues, link academics and researchers across Africa through academic networks, and create data and information for monitoring and evaluating land policy reforms.

In the same vein, AJEF (Association des Jeunes Experts sur les questions Foncières) and NELGA Afrique Centrale (NELGA AC) are organising a scientific seminar on "The Challenges of Citizen Participation in Land Governance in the 21st Century in Africa", which will also mark the launch of the NELGA AC alumni network. This event follows on from a series of activities already organised in the run-up to the publication of a collective work (on the same theme), demonstrating the ongoing commitment of all stakeholders to researching and promoting more inclusive land governance.

This seminar provides an opportunity to deepen and consolidate the various themes addressed in the initial contributions proposed for the collective work. It will also provide an opportunity to explore in depth the fundamental issues relating to citizen participation in land governance, focusing on the root causes of land tenure problems, the specific gaps and challenges in existing public policies, and to formulate concrete proposals for effective reforms encountered in Africa. An essential aspect of this seminar is its vocation to promote citizen participation, by giving a voice to citizens, whether experts or not, and encouraging them to express their opinions and formulate constructive proposals. The citizen approach is seen as a fundamental pillar of democratic governance, ensuring that public policies meet the real needs of the people and promote the general interest. By involving citizens in the decision-making process, it becomes possible to identify dysfunctions in existing public policies and explore avenues for improvement, ensuring that policies genuinely meet the expectations and aspirations of beneficiaries.

Finally, as a network with a strong focus on research and capacity building, NELGA supports a wide range of players, including students and young researchers in the land sector (through study grants, research grants, capacity building, etc.), administrations and civil society players. As part of NELGA's general drive towards sustainability, it seemed appropriate to support the creation of a network of NELGA Central Africa alumni, in order to provide them with more support and give NELGA a greater presence.  

The reputation of a university network is built on its students and researchers - past and present. Faculty and staff also play an essential role. The reputation of an academic network is enhanced when it continually produces graduates who are successful, intelligent, innovative and effective in their field. Former students and researchers can help universities and other training centres to maintain their standing through their donations and voluntary help. Alumni can also help by providing valuable financial, intellectual and human resources. If a large proportion of the money that institutes need comes from alumni, this will help them to remain competitive. They can offer their students the latest technology, better facilities and more attractive campuses. One session of this seminar will aim to study and review the areas in which alumni and researchers can provide important support to the NELGA network in the sub-region by improving the quality of education on land issues, job search and the overall animation of the network.It is in response to all these concerns that AJEF and the University of Yaoundé I, as NELGA's Central African regional node, are organising, with the technical and financial support of the GIZ-SLGA Programme (Strenghtening Land Governance in Africa), a scientific seminar on the "Challenges of Citizen Participation in Land Governance in the 21st Century in Africa" and the launch of the NELGA AC Alumni Network, online and in person (Yaoundé) from 4 to 6 June 2024.

 

  1. Objectives

The general aim of this seminar is to promote citizen participation in land governance in Africa and to launch the NELGA AC alumni network.

Specifically, this will involve :

-       To provide a platform for all stakeholders to exchange views on reform projects, public policies and controversial issues, in order to enhance the impact of the work carried out and promote sustainable solutions tailored to African realities in terms of land governance, by compiling a body of ideas and avenues for reflection that can serve as a general framework for guiding the debates at the forthcoming conference.

-       Formulate concrete proposals and practical, achievable recommendations to improve land governance

-       Analyse the role of alumni as an essential component of NELGA's sustainability in the sub-region

-        Examine the different ways in which alumni contribute to the quality of services in the network.

-       Propose ways of involving the contribution of alumni from their universities' experiences in the overall NELGA system;

-       Jointly define the organisational structure, objectives and mode of operation of the NELGA AC Alumni Network

-       Set up and officially launch the NELGA AC alumni network

-       Develop a roadmap to maintain the commitment of NELGA AC alumni.

-       Identify the key issues to be addressed in order to optimise preparations for the forthcoming international conference.

 

  1. Expected results

The expected outcomes of this seminar are :

-       A platform for exchange is offered to all stakeholders on reform projects, public policies and controversial issues, in order to strengthen the impact of the work carried out and promote sustainable solutions adapted to African realities in terms of land governance, by gathering a body of ideas and avenues for reflection, which can serve as a general framework for guiding the debates at the forthcoming conference.

-       Concrete proposals and practical, achievable recommendations are put forward with a view to improving land governance.

-       The role of alumni as an essential component of NELGA's sustainability in the sub-region is analysed

-        The different ways in which alumni contribute to the quality of services in the network are examined

-       Ways of involving the contribution of alumni from their universities' experiences in the overall NELGA system are proposed

-       The organisational structure, objectives and modus operandi of the NELGA AC Alumni Network are jointly defined.

-       The NELGA AC alumni network is set up and officially launched

-       An alumni roadmap is drawn up, including details of the alumni's commitment, responsibilities and role in the sustainability of the NELGA.

-       Key issues are identified and discussions are held with a view to optimising preparations for the forthcoming international conference.

 

  1. Methodology

The Scientific Seminar will adopt an interdisciplinary and inclusive approach, aiming to bring together players from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines: researchers, experts, government representatives, members of civil society and local communities. This collaborative approach will enhance the impact of the work carried out as part of the collective work and promote sustainable solutions to land governance that are adapted to African realities.

The NELGA AC alumni network will bring together all the beneficiaries of NELGA support at sub-regional level: beneficiaries of NELGA DAAD grants, beneficiaries of all NELGA AC programmes (training courses, summer schools, workshops, PLAAS training courses, NELGA AC prize, research communication workshop, etc.), graduate students from NELGA member universities.

The seminar will consist of plenary sessions and group work, coordinated by the facilitators of the various sessions.

 

  1. Strategic thinking

The scientific seminar on the Challenges of Citizen Participation in Land Governance in the 21st Century in Africa and the launch of NELGA Alumni will address a number of key issues, with the aim of gaining a deeper understanding of land issues and exploring possible solutions. These main themes will cover

●               In-depth analysis of the gaps identified in land governance, covering natural resource management, the resolution of land disputes and the financing of land governance.

●               Promoting citizen participation, inclusion and technological innovation in land governance.

●               Challenges hindering the implementation of land reforms in African states.

●               Land governance and marginalisation of disadvantaged social groups

●               Small-scale farming in Africa

●               Consideration of setting up a NELGA Alumni network

 

  1. Deliverables

At the end of this seminar, the following deliverables are expected:

-       A document on the organisational and functional structure of the NELGA AC alumni network

-       A NELGA AC alumni roadmap including elements relating to their commitment, responsibilities and role in the sustainability of NELGA AC.

-       A general report on the seminar

 

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