Land rights advocacy group, COLANDEF has called for the development of a specific strategy for the implementation of the new land Act (Act 1036).
According to Nana Ama Yirrah, Executive Director of COLANDEF, an implementation strategy was critical in ensuring that the provisions in the Act were enforced to the latter to achieve its intended objectives and strengthen land administration in the country.
Without the strategy, she explained that, the Act, which harmonises all existing legislations on land administration, could become one of the well-thoughtout legislations albeit with little or no impact in the country’s land administration system.
She was speaking to Ghanaian Times on the sidelines of the National Land Conference held in Accra from December 6 to 8.
“We have much legislation on land administration. Some are not known by even those in the legal profession or in the judiciary. If we do not make an intentional effort for an implementation strategy, it can be one of the numerous legislations that do not work.
“We have made huge efforts in engaging all stakeholders to develop an Act that responds to all land rights challenges in the country. We cannot afford to let it lie without it being implemented properly,” Ms Yirrah stated.
The Strategy, she said, would work in addition to a multi-stakeholder platform that allows all including government to monitor, check and report the progress of implementation of the Act to promote secured land tenure.
She urged the government to provide infrastructural support for documenting land rights to protect especially women and the vulnerable.
Land documentation, the Executive Director said, was an effective way of clarifying rights to protect interests of holders.
She further reiterated the need for coordination between the various agencies involved in the land administration sector saying that the various institutions performing different land administration services should be linked for effective services.
Ms Yirrah recommended the development of policies and regulations on land administration to include customary land tenure which about 80 per cent of land resources in the country.
The enactment of new Land Act, she said, was necessary due to challenges faced by vulnerable and smallholder farmers in accessing lands for their livelihood activities.
One key provision of significant importance, she explained, was the legal recognition of customary land tenure systems
“One important provision is the legal backing given to customary land tenure systems to enable community members access lands in their communities without any conditions attached,” she added.
Ms Yirrah called for increased sensitisation to enable Ghanaians be able to take advantage of the Act to pursue their land rights and protect their livelihoods.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS