The National Catholic Secretariat, Accra, Ghana-
A National Forum on Land Grabbing is taking place in Accra, Ghana from August 23- 24, 2016 on the theme: Unmasking Land Grabbing in Ghana; Restoring Livelihoods; paving the way for Sustainable Development Goals. The two-day national stakeholders’ forum is being organised by Caritas Ghana under the auspices of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
The Forum will, among others, launch a national survey undertaken on cases of land grab in the Volta Region and other parts of Ghana. The participants will also share information and possible best practices of partnership in community land utilization from win-win arrangements and other necessary steps needed to mitigate the situation in Ghana.
The Survey which covered about six months of research has been prepared by Caritas Ghana in collaboration with the Center for Indigenous Knowledge on Development (CIKOD) and the Africa Faith and Justice Network (AF&JN) with financial support from local and international partners.
The survey, which also aims at raising the vexing issue of land grab as a national canker, was carried out as a follow-up to some of the recommendations that were adopted at a Continental Conference on Land Grabbing in Nairobi, Kenya last November and an initial case Study carried out in the Volta Region of Ghana, by AF&JN based in Washington DC, USA.
Land grabbing is generally perceived as large scale land acquisition by either internal or external actors purposely for business interest and displaces their original local owners. Emerging evidence shows that the phenomenon is growing in the Africa continent and is becoming a cancer that undermines sustainable development and impoverishes local people. It has also been identified to be one of the major causes of forced evictions, displacements and dangerous migration of people; especially young people who see no hope for their future.
This research findings are expected to be catalytic towards the development of a long term programme of work to address the problem of land grab in Ghana. It is also expected that this work would help mobilize energies and resources needed to be able to confront the emerging threat to rural livelihoods.
The Survey looks at how inadequate land management and utilization policy coupled with previous economic development programmes, largely influenced by external forces, has created an environment for land grabbing in Ghana. It made reference to Pope Francis’ Encyclical – Laudato Si -On the Care of Our Common Home to emphasis the need for dialogue and the need to do advocacy on the care of the earth with emphasis for a collaborative approach between Church and State.
The Survey concluded by looking at the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the global new framework for development and the need for a change in mind-set.
About sixty stakeholders from Government, Community Actors, Justice and Peace Commissions, Leaders of Faith Base Organisations and media professionals are attending the Forum.The Executive Director of AF&JN, Rev. Fr. Aneidi Okure, OP and some officials of the Justice, Peace and Development Commission of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) will address the Forum.
Mr. Samual Zan Akologo, Executive Secretary of the Department of Human Development of the National Catholic Secretariat, Ghana, is coordinating the Forum.
Sent on behalf of the National Catholic Secretariat, Accra, Ghana.