A RECENTLY launched land reform report has stated that the government must lead the process of land reform in Solomon Islands.
The report said, that Individual champions for reform are not enough.
“For reform processes to be sustainable they must be led by the government and any new arrangements must be embedded by the government.
“This means that champions for land reform must also be based in government.
“These legal and administrative changes will also need the support of the people involved in land administration at the national and political levels, so champions will be need within government agencies at all levels,” the report said.
As mentioned in the report, developing a policy for how development will occur on customary land must be a fair step in any land reform pathway.
“Alternative approaches to the development of customary land include; a process that starts with a development application for a specific project; or a process that starts with recording and registering large area of customary land.
“These processes are not mutually exclusive, and the government may choose a combination of these two approaches, or another entirely different approach,” stated the report.
It was also highlighted in the report that, the government may choose to pilot various approaches to development to see what works and what does not before writing new land legislation.
“Piloting different models across various locations in Solomon Islands could provide a good evidence base for understanding what land reforms are needed.
“Piloting can also reveal where steps in the process work and where they need adjustment for improvement,” it added.
Meanwhile, speaking at the launching of the report, the Minister for Lands, Housing and Survey Andrew Manepora’a said that the first steps identified in the report involves consultation, including the idea of a National Land Summit, which was successfully hosted this week.
He said that the ideas expressed in the summit 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.
By RONALD TOITO’ONA