Legally recognized, protected, secure land and resource rights are fundamental to achieving food & nutrition security, global peace, prosperity and sustainable development. From the development of human cultures to the realization of democracy itself, tenure security underpins the very fabric of human society and our relationship to the natural environment.
Today, with no secure tenure rights, the livelihoods and wellbeing of some people living in Kenya is threatened. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is implementing a European Union (EU) funded land governance programme in partnership with the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning (MoLPP), the National Lands Commission (NLC) and County Governments to improve tenure security, and administration and management of community lands in Kenya. As one of its main aims, the programme is supporting recognition, protection and registration of community lands in Kenya under the Community Land Act, 2016. To prepare an enabling policy and legislative environment, the programme first supported the formulation of the Act, its regulations and currently its implementation.
Consequently, the programme is directly supporting the Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning through the Working Group on Implementation of the Community Land Act, 2016 (WGICLA). The working group was appointed by the Cabinet Secretary MoLPP, Hon. Farida Karoney. The group comprises of officers from the MoLPP with the National Land Commission and FAO experts coopted to oversee the actualization of the Act. Through the group (WGICLA), civic education and awareness raising were conducted in 24 counties with unregistered community land, and those with land registered through a repealed law i.e. Land (Group Representatives) Act (Cap. 287). Further activities included gazettement of community land registrars and adjudication officers by the Cabinet Secretary to facilitate the community land registration process.
Consequently, on 30th of October 2020, history was made in Kenya when two registered communities from Laikipia (Il Ngwesi and Musul) were officially issued with their community land titles. Since then, the new land dispensation has given the two registered communities (Ilngwesi and Musul) full authority over administration and management of their land, sustainable use of their natural resources and equitable sharing of the benefits accruing from their socio-economic developments ventures.
Similarly, other communities living on community land, in Laikipia and other counties in Kenya, are being supported by the EU funded FAO land governance programme to register their tenure rights under the Community Land Act, 2016. The process of registration of community land under the Community Land Act, 2016 under the EU funded FAO Land Governance programme will, in addition to facilitating tenure security offer good lessons leant.
Below is a pictorial presentation of what conspired during the handing over ceremony of community land titles in Laikipia on 30th October 2020.