Expedition Ruwenzori

The Democratic Republic of Congo validated its new land policy document on November 17, 2021. This validation is the fruit of joint efforts: the political impetus of  the DRC Government, the technical work of its National Commission on Land Tenure Reform (CONAREF) - financed by CAFI through UN-Habitat's via the National REDD+ Fund - and the commitment of numerous civil society actors.

This land reform policy document updates a legal framework that dated back some 50 years.

This validation marks an important step towards one of the milestones in the first Letter of Intent between the DRC and CAFI, namely to develop and implement “a land tenure policy that is equitable, including with regard to gender, vulnerable people, local communities and indigenous peoples, and that could ensure sustainable and non-confrontational management of land and clarification of tenure rights, with the goal of limiting the conversion of forest lands.”

This step took place following a three-day national workshop under the aegis of H.E. Aimé Molendo Sakombi, the Minister of Land Affairs. The event brought together provincial political authorities, customary authorities, representatives of indigenous peoples and pygmies from all provinces of the country, as well as internal experts from the National Commission for land tenure reform (CONAREF), UN-Habitat and the FONAREDD.

From now on, a new mission awaits you: to  disseminate, each in your own sphere of intervention, this new Policy that you have just adopted", urged the Minister Molendo Sakombi to the participants in the workshop.

Built on a highly inclusive approach, this land tenure policy is particularly strong in aspects related to community and indigenous rights. The document – that will next be submitted to the Council of Ministers  - recognizes the collective, individual rights and titles as well as Free, Prior and Informed Consent. It decentralizes land management instruments such as Local Land Charters, Community Land Cadastres, and Community Land Registers. Environmental aspects - including forests - are included in the main principles and in a systematic and transversal manner.

With the support of CAFI and UN-Habitat, CONAREF is now  working on the development of the Land and Property Regime Law in line with the strategic orientations of the national land tenure policy, and on the development of the national land tenure plan, which should be validated in 2022 to implement the orientations and guidelines of the national land tenure policy.

Photocredit: Expedition Ruwenzori, Bruno Hugel