MINISTER for Lands, Housing and Survey Andrew Manepora’a has launched a report on land reform on Wednesday during the day-long summit, in Honiara.
Entitled ‘Building Successful Pathways for Land Reform in Solomon Islands’, the key findings of the report was discussed by presenters at the conference.
The report was written by Siobhan McDonnell, an Australia National University (ANU) representative, with local contributors like Joseph Foukona and Dr Alice Pollard.
Speaking at the launching, Mr Manepora’a said, that the report has drawn out a strategic direction for land reform in the country.
“This document sets out a ‘road map’ for land reform, by setting out possible steps that should be taken towards the end goal of how best we can develop a framework to utilise our customary land system for development.
“Importantly, it does not dictate exactly how many customary land should be recorded, registered or owned.
“That is a matter for Solomon Islanders ourselves to work out by going through the steps,” the Minister said.
He added that the first steps identified in the report involves consultation, including the idea of a National Land Summit, which was successfully hosted yesterday.
“The ideas expressed today will help the government to form a clear policy vision and approach for how customary land can be used, occupied and developed in the future.
“As we figure out the best approaches to customary land reform, this will guide us in the drafting of new legislation for customary land,” he added.
The summit also includes a number of key speakers from the Melanesian region who have also shared their experience of land reform including the former Minister of Lands from Vanuatu, Ralph Regenvanu.
Mr Manepora’a added; given that there are speakers from other neighbouring countries sharing their experience in the summit, there are lessons to be learned about their success and failures.
By RONALD TOITO’ONA