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Towards an inclusive land reform in Mauritania

FAO/Fama Konte. Group picture of the National Workshop for the revitalization of the multistakeholder platform on governance of tenure in Mauritania, Nouakchott October 18, 2023.

On the 18th to the 19th October 2023, a workshop for the revitalisation of the multi-stakeholder platform on governance of tenure was held in Nouakchott, Mauritania. The multi-stakeholder platform was set up in 2017 under the Presidency of the Ministry of Economy and Finance in the framework of the process of land reform initiated by the Mauritanian government.

This workshop, chaired by the Ministry of Livestock in collaboration with the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and organised with the support of the Organisation for the Development of Arid and Semi-Arid Areas of Mauritania (ODZASAM) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), gathered around thirty participants, including sectorial representatives of the government such as the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Fisheries and maritime economy, representatives of the National Support Committee for the Enhancement of National Agricultural Land Heritage, socio-professional organisations, university and civil society as well as technical and financial partners involved in rural tenure and agropastoral development in general.

The land reform started in 2016 with the aim of adapting legal instruments of the country to the framework of food security and the achievement of sustainable development goals in its rural territories.

During the opening of the workshop, the Ministry of Livestock and the Ministry of Economy recalled the importance of tenure issues in the socio-economic development of the country, the role of tenure as an instrument of dialogue and social cohesion in rural, urban and peri-urban areas. They highlighted the necessity to have only one roadmap for the land reform to come as well as the importance of an inclusive and participatory process for its formulation.

In his speech, the FAO program officer Mohamed Maouloud Moussa recalled the importance of pastoralism in the country in economic, social, environmental and cultural terms and the necessity of securing pastoral mobility which is a key adaptation strategy of pastoral households.

This first day of the workshop was dedicated to different presentations, including on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of National Food Security and its technical guide applicable to pastoral lands. Presentations were made on the expected results of the projects on “Promoting inclusivity for the improvement of local governance of tenure”, financed by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Germany and on the “Initiative for water and food security in Africa. Mitigating the effects of Covid-19 on the pastoral communities in West Africa” financed by the Spanish Cooperation Agency.

Photo credit: FAO/Fama Konte. Group work at the National Workshop for the revitalisation of the multi-stakeholder platform on governance of tenure in Mauritania, Nouakchott, October 19, 2023

The second day of the workshop was dedicated to do group work around thematic areas that led to a proposal of a roadmap for the land reform as well as a series of recommendations:

  • the development of a national tenure policy letter and a national strategy for land management;
  • the revision of the legal and institutional framework of tenure to adapt it to the needs of socio-economic development including in rural areas;
  • the implementation of a process of awareness and advocacy aiming at protecting the rights of vulnerable people;
  • the implementation of development programs aiming at the enhancement of land and food self-sufficiency;
  • the development of a series of measures aiming at developing mechanisms that enable the protection of land including against flooding, degradation, and other effects of climate change.

During the workshop, the participants discussed also the challenges to address so that the local and national platforms on the governance of tenure are inclusive and sustainable. Lastly, the participants made an analysis of strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) to be taken into consideration to drive forward a process of inclusive land reform in the country.

The workshop of re-dynamization of the multi-stakeholder platform on the governance of tenure in Mauritania is a major step in the process of inclusive land reform in the country. This process is inspired by instruments of land tenure, including the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure, the guide for Improving governance of pastoral lands and the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa.