Sudan Participates in IGAD Regional Women’s Land Rights Conference in Nairobi

The Sudan Constitution Promotes Women’s Rights Through Affirmative Action.

Haffiya Abdalla

Even though women are the primary users of agricultural land in most African communities, the system of patriarchy that dominates social organizations has tended to discriminate against women when it comes to ownership and control of land resources. Although most legal frameworks (including the Constitutions) for the IGAD Member States are progressive towards gender equality, challenges remain ineffective implementation and enforcement of the laws and policies by the agencies provided with such responsibility. Even in countries where good laws exist, women frequently do not enjoy their rights to access and control productive resources.

Implementation is too often hindered by socio-cultural norms and attitudes. As such, women’s land rights are not well promoted and protected because attitudes towards women’s land rights at the family, community level, and institutional levels have not shifted in a manner that enables the translation of policies into practice. The land policy and laws must be reviewed where there is a clear manifestation of discrimination while, emerging policies, laws, and programs integrate gender perspectives in terms of ownership, access to, and control of the land. But it is now more crucial to look beyond legal and policy reforms and adopt broad-based social change towards women’s land rights.

It is against this background that the IGAD Land Governance Programme and International Land Coalition-Africa (ILC-Africa) are organizing this conference from June 28-30 Nairobi.

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has endorsed the Regional Women’s Land Rights Agenda in a bid to support the implementation of the AU Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa toward Africa We Want and Leaving No One Behind.

This is a culmination of the convention of the Ministerial meeting for the Ministers responsible for Land and Ministers responsible for Gender/Women Affairs in the IGAD member states, preceded by a Directors’ level meeting on July 26 and 27. To move the gender equality on land forward from a regional perspective, the Directors’ meeting will draw common threads from the National Women’s Land Rights Agenda for the seven (7) Member States and the recommendations from the IGAD Regional Women’s Land Rights Conference into the IGAD Region Women’s Land Rights Agenda.

The Regional Women’s Land Rights Agenda is a framework document that will enable the IGAD Secretariat to provide the necessary support to the Member States in implementing gender and land projects for the next 10 years.

The IGAD Regional Women’s Land Rights Agenda is operational, enabling the implementation of Gender Equality programs on land by the IGAD Secretariat and its IGAD Member States; Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, and Ethiopia.

This conference is considered the first-ever Regional Women’s Land Rights that brought to bear the transnational and intergenerational connectedness of women’s rights to land. Statements of commitment were received from the highest representatives of Government in the Ministries responsible for Lands and the Ministries responsible for Gender/Women Affairs of each of the IGAD Member States.

Sudan Minister of Social Development Ahmed Adam Bakhit described the meeting as fruitful as it discussed the importance of women’s right to possess the land, particularly they represent 80% of farmers in Africa.

The Minister pointed out that the meeting came in continuation to several previous meetings held for the above-mentioned purpose.

But according to the Minister that IGAD member states were varied in commitment towards such purpose due to legal obstacles.

The Minister explained that on the conclusion day the Ministerial Meeting issued a communiqué explaining policies adopted by IGAD as regard to women’s right to possess the land in 2021-2030.

Ms. Asma Mudathir Elfaki, the Head of Gender Unit in the Ministry of Agriculture Sudan said the Sudan Interim Constitution (2019) guarantees the rights of women, non-discrimination, and equal treatment of women in all spheres of life.

Ms. Asma stated that The Sudan constitution also promotes women’s rights through affirmative action.

Ms. Asma adding that The Sudan Interim Constitution (2019) guarantees every citizen with the right to acquire or own property as regulated in the law and; protect women from injustice and promote the role of women in the family.

The Land Governance program is currently implementing its 10-year business plan for the period 2020-2030 with 4 strategic objectives:

  • Land administration in the IGAD region is more efficient, harmonized, and gender-inclusive.
  • Enable sustainable development through strategic gender-sensitive and conflict-sensitive approaches to land use and management.
  • Increase the Member States’ capacity to leverage land (rural, peri-urban, and urban) for economic transformation.
  • Reduced barriers and enhance protection of women’s rights to land in the public and private sphere.

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