GLTN, UNHABITAT’s Khartoum Office and the Regional Office for Arab States in collaboration with the Government of Sudan recently conducted a regional learning exchange from the 22-25 May 2017 in Khartoum as one of the activities in the implementation of the Strengthening Land Management for Peaceful Co-Existence in Darfur project, within the overall objective and context of the Darfur Development Strategy (DDS). The DDS program main objective is to address the issue of land in Darfur, which is a key challenge to peace initiatives in Darfur, and pave the way for sustainable recovery and reconstruction in the region.
The learning exchange main agenda was to introduce key actors in Darfur to land tenure tools and approaches such as participatory planning and enumeration towards ensuring returns and reintegration processes are inclusive and sustainable. 35 participants representing project stakeholders from the Ministry of Physical Planning and Public Utilities (MPPPU) in the five states of Darfur (East, West, North, South, and Central Darfur), the Ministry of Environment, Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), UNDP, and UNHABITAT shared their perspectives of the unique context in Darfur, and how through research and hands-on support, GLTN tools can be customized towards increasing the capacity of key government institutions in planning and land-use management in the Darfur region.
One of the methods discussed include Sketch mapping, which is one of the most critical projects in this program it aims to “address Land Concerns at return sites” by demarcation of 50 return villages boundaries, while including future expansion and a buffer grazing zone around the village that honors traditional practice.
The Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) tool, one of GLTN’s pro-poor, participatory and affordable land tools for representing a person-to-land relationship along the land rights continuum was also introduced. STDM as a software based land information management approach can be applied by project stakeholders in addressing gaps in the conventional land administration systems, and to cater for the customary and informal tenure context in Darfur. During the interactive STDM group learning sessions, the participants shared their perceptions on land management challenges in Darfur, reflections on tailoring STDM to Darfur context, and the way forward in implementation of participatory enumeration in the field.
Issues such as land tenure types, ownership of data, management of changes and updates, conflict resolution mechanisms, and integration of official and informal system of land tenure in Darfur were discussed and reflected to consolidate the workflow of enumeration in the five states. The event was highly ranked and evaluated by participants. FGLTN will continue provide technical support and capacity building for all involved stakeholders throughout the participatory enumeration stage of the project.
Submitted by: Wala Bashari, Urban Planner – UN HABITAT Khartoum office