On 23rd and 24th April, 2018 Trocaire and Chris Burke, the Platform’s chairperson hosted the Northern Uganda Land Platform (NULP) in Lira. The meeting was meant to share and discuss the outcomes of the key stakeholder’s meeting held on 16th March, 2018 where key members met to take stock of the NULP and discuss ways forward and the structure and focus for future meetings.
The meeting attracted over 80 stakeholders including representatives from the Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD), RDC of Lira Civil Society working on land issues, and cultural leaders from the different districts in the neighborhood. For the two days these met to discuss the current status of customary land across the region and explore different initiatives government and civil society institutions are implementing to address land issues around customary land ownership. This is due to the fact that the vast majority of land across northern Uganda still unregistered and management of customary land continues to be a key issue. The second day of the meeting was used to share a discussion on the realignment of the NULP and identify topics to be addressed in the future.
For over 10 years, the NULP has a proven record in bringing together relevant parties to discuss issues constructively, exchange ideas, identify challenges and explore meaningful solutions related to land and land related resources. For FRA it was not only an opportunity to identify key issues from the local level to inform advocacy at the national level but also to inform other stakeholders working on land resource issues to adopt its integrated agenda in managing land and water resources. FRA submitted a proposal on water and land resource management to be one of the areas of focus in the following platform meeting.
Among the key highlights from the RDC of Lira were issues of vast unregistered land that is undocumented in Lira, the increased land conflicts during the rainy season due to competition for land cultivation. The RDC emphasized protection of wetlands because of their great importance in providing water for animals, farming and household use. He established that, “For people to get out of poverty they need to attach value to land instead of holding for prestige. This also requires sustainable use of the available water resources and in the long run agriculture will be embraced.”
As participants were wrapping up the meeting by consensus it was agreed that the next meeting should be held in Gulu district on 16th – 17th August 2018. A number of topics to select from for the next meeting and they agreed that the most selected topic will be announced by the Chairperson.
By Lucky Brian Wamboka
Food Rights Alliance