Background and Video Interviews with Ugandan Leaders
Uganda’s Cabinet adopted a National Land Policy (NLP) in February 2013 whose goal is “to ensure efficient, equitable and optimal utilization and management of Uganda’s land resources for poverty reduction, wealth creation, and overall socio-economic development.”
The NLP is the country’s first consolidated policy to provide needed guidance on land ownership, management, development, and governance.
The NLP tackles many long-standing issues, including:
Protecting customary land, which comprises 80% of all land and is largely undocumented
Contradictory rights under statutory law and customary law
History of conflict, migration and resettlement
Weak land rights for women
Lack of transparency in large-scale land acquisitions
Land is a vital resource for individual survival and economic development in Uganda, and is a pillar of the government’s vision for transforming Ugandan society “from a peasant to a modern and prosperous country, with a per capita income of USD 9,500 within 30 years.” (Vision 2040)
This transformation will depend in large part upon the country’s ability to equitably and sustainably harness the productive potential of its land resources.
The NLP itself is the result of an inclusive process that engaged government representatives, traditional leaders, landowners, and NGOs representing minority and other groups from the local to national level. The Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development (MLHUD) is now leading implementation of the policy, and has developed a strategic plan that provides a prioritized list of actions and opportunities for engagement by development partners.
In March 2014, a delegation of leading Ugandan government officials and civil society representatives presented the NLP at the World Bank’s Land and Poverty 2014 Conference in Washington DC. Focus on Land in Africa interviewed several of the delegates to learn more about what the policy means for Ugandans, and the main challenges facing its implementation.
With the new Land Policy, there is now an open window of opportunity to strengthen land rights in Uganda, and to improve the security of both women’s land rights and community rights to land.
See video interviews with several of the delegates in the panels to the right.
What do you think are the most critical land issues and biggest challenges for Uganda’s land reform? Post a comment here.