DRC: Land reform and protection of communities' rights

DRC: Land reform and protection of communities' rights
DRC: Land reform and protection of communities' rights

DRC: Land reform and protection of communities' rights

The Democratic Republic of Congo is engaged in a land reform process under the Government’s action plan. A number of reforms for enhancing economic growth are planned, including those that relate to the principles established for governing property, and the use and management of land resources and improving their productivity and contribution to social development. This concern is expressed in the Government’s intention to improve land governance, which is understood as meaning all the processes involved in reaching and implementing decisions on access to and use of land resources, including the ways in which land tenure disputes are resolved through the appropriate socio-political and administrative structures.

In July 2012 a consensual road map for land reform was adopted but subsequently downgraded to a ‘programming paper’, considered as an instrument for technical planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the land reform process. After three or four years this process should have resulted, specifically, in a national policy relating to land governance being drawn up, and in the creation of a revised draft land law and the measures for its implementation.

However, several years on, the reality is a bitter disappointment: very few of the activities outlined in the programming paper have been implemented. Discussion did take place within the National Commission for Land Reform (CONAREF), which led to recommendations which should have revitalised the reform process. However, since then, the situation has barely changed, even if, in recent times, there have been some positive signs.

It was this state of lethargy that inspired Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), Réseau Ressources Naturelles (RRN) and the Dynamique des Groupes des Peuples Autochtones (DGPA), in collaboration with other civil society organisations and the Ministry of Land Affairs, to organise a workshop from 22 to 24 March 2016 on the progress of land reform in the DRC and the prospects for promotion and respect of local communities’ and indigenous peoples’ rights. The workshop provided the opportunity for communities affected by the implementation of forest and climate policies and of conservation programmes to share their views of both land reform and forest governance within the country.

The present report, which is now available to the public as well as all stakeholders in the forestry, environment and land sectors, is the result of work and analysis by official as well as civil society experts, research institutions and United Nations agencies, on the key issues currently affecting land law in the DRC.