Government is in the process of developing a comprehensive land policy framework that will promote sustainable land management and national development.
Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Harry Kalaba said huge strides have been made in consolidating land reforms in the country.
Mr. Kalaba said it was imperative for Zambia to pursue land reforms in order to conform to the 2009 African Union (AU) endorsement of land reforms on the continent to which Zambia is party.
He was speaking when he opened a land policy multi-stakeholder consultative workshop in Lusaka today.
Mr. Kalaba said his ministry has since proposed amendments to the 1995 Lands Act to address critical emerging issues in the sector.
He further said his ministry has developed a customary land administration bill to enhance administration and management of customary land and was currently developing a robust land management system to support land management and administration.
“As you may be aware, the Zambian government considers land as a critical factor in national development. It is therefore important that land, being a critical resource, is managed in a sustainable manner by formulating a land policy,” said Kalaba.
He observed that the lack of a clearly defined land policy framework has posed challenges in land administration.
Mr. Kalaba said government desires that the new land policy should promote security of tenure for customary land and prevent displacement of local communities in rural areas.
High on the government agenda are regularisation of ownership of untitled properties in towns and cities and amendment and harmonisation of pieces of legislation governing environmental policy to reduce conflicts in environmental management.
The minister said government will endeavour to establish a land audit commission to undertake a countrywide land audit that will promote sustainable use of land resources for agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial development.
And speaking earlier at the same function, Director for Economic Commission for Africa Southern Africa, Said Adejumobi, commended government for embarking on land reforms.
He expressed optimism that a comprehensive new land policy will be developed to reflect the aspirations, views and hopes of the government and the people of Zambia.
The workshop has drawn local and international experts and consultants on land matters from across the globe to assist the country in its land reform process.