Ethiopia, G8 member states agree to enter land country partnership

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Addis Ababa, 10 December 2013 (WIC) - The Governments of Ethiopia, United States of America, United Kingdom and Germany on Monday announced agreeing to enter a land country partnership to work together to improve rural land governance for economic growth and to protect the land rights of local citizens, the U.S. Embassy said.

A press release the Embassy sent to ENA on Monday said this partnership builds on existing programs and represents an important vehicle for increased coordination and collaboration among the Government of Ethiopia and its development partners. The announcement came after the representatives of the heads of state from G8 member states gathered in London to mark the handing over of the G8 Presidency from the United Kingdom to Russia.

The partnership with Ethiopia will support improved rural land tenure security for all, including through appropriate land use management in communal and pastoral areas. It will strengthen transparency in land governance, including by promoting responsible agricultural investment through an improved legal framework and practices. UK International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone said securing rights to land will help people across Ethiopia to grow the food they need, boost incomes, defuse conflicts and deal with the impact of climate change.

This joint partnership will make sure Ethiopia can make the most of its valuable resources and attract the investment and income needed to boost growth and fight poverty, the Minister said.

Agriculture Minister Tefera Derbew welcomed this joint partnership in the context of supporting the implementation of Ethiopia’s Rural Land Administration and Use plan under its policy and strategic frameworks. It will help the country to ensure and sustain its economic development by strengthening rural land governance in view of fostering food security and realizing constitutionally recognized rural land related rights.

He expressed hope that the mechanisms of Rural Economic Development and Food Security Working group (RED-FS SWG) and Sustainable Land Management Platforms will serve as an engine to further deepen the joint partnership on rural land. German Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Dirk Niebel said his country welcomed this partnership that will contribute to better land management in Ethiopia, thus promoting transparent, fair and sustainable investments in land.

Access to land and land tenure security are crucial for food and income security for the rural population in Ethiopia, the Minister said. USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah said Ethiopia has made great progress in recognizing the rights of smallholder farmers with support from USAID, and USAID looks forward to broadening and deepening this collaboration in the country’s pastoral areas.

This follows the announcement of seven partnerships made last June at the G8 Open for Growth Summit. Partnerships between G8 member states and developing countries are designed to support governments in aligning their country frameworks with the respective guidelines of land, fisheries, and forests in the context of national food security.

They are also designed to improve rural land governance and the security of land tenure for individuals, communities, and investors. The partnership represents the continuation of the commitments made under the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, an effort by African heads of state, corporate leaders and G8 members to increase food security and nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to ENA, it will also coordinate and harmonize support from existing and potential new development partners in the land sector. These objectives will be achieved through ongoing and potential additional future programs in support of improved rural land governance.

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