New Land Act must go with strategy for implementation

Executive Director of COLANDEF, Nana Ama Yirrah

The new Land Act, 2020 (Act 1036) will just add to the pile of already existing legislation in the land tenure system if efforts are not made to set up an implementation strategy to ensure it addresses prevailing gaps, the Executive Director of COLANDEF, Nana Ama Yirrah, has said.

To this end, she observed that a multi-stakeholder platform that can work in collaboration with government will also be needed. This, among others, is expected to guarantee the Act is implemented in a manner that promotes a secured land tenure.

Madam Yirrah, speaking in an interview on the sidelines of the National Land Conference in Accra, said the efforts that have gone into passage of the Land Act must not be in vain.

The land tenure system in its present form, she contended, is dire – especially given that it does not guarantee the security of rights for many categories of land users. The development has led to many people, notably at the local level, facing risk of dispossession regardless of their interest or occupation of lands.

Furthermore, she recognised that about 80 percent of land in the country is under the authority of traditional leaders, demonstrating their critical role in the country’s land sector.

Given this, Nana Ama Yirrah maintained that it is important to seek their involvement in the formulation of policies and interventions for the land system.

Also, she pointed out that the weak coordination between the different sector agencies is a bane for the country’s land sector.

“As a result of this, one has to personally facilitate the needed harmonisation for the services being sought or risk the penalties thereof if incapable,” she observed.

But the new Land Act, 2020, Act 1036 –  a consolidation of several Land Acts and improvement of contemporary issues which hitherto were not catered for – according to Nana Ama Yirrah now gives legal recognition for all the different types of customary land rights.

It is in line with this that she reiterated the need for education and sensitisation on provisions in the Act, and supportive institutional and regulatory arrangements for its implementation.

The National Land Conference was organised by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in collaboration with the Lands Commission, Department of Land Economy of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and COLANDEF.

It was held under the theme ‘Leveraging National Land Policy, Legislation and Institutional Capacity toward Sustainable Socio-Economic Development’.

Participants were drawn from academia, civil society, the chieftaincy system, public and private sector land professionals and government representatives.

At the end of the 4-day conference, the stakeholders issued a communique, among other resolutions, proposed for setting up a monitoring platform.

COLANDEF, which is one of the key organisers, has been a leading voice in the land sector for several years. Its vision is to contribute in a land sector transformation agenda whereby security of tenure is the norm for all land-rights holders.

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