A three-day seminar on Gender and Land Rights Capacity Building for Paramount Queen-Mothers is underway at the African Royal Beach Hotel at Nungua in Accra.
The seminar which is being attended by over 40 Queen-Mothers across the country, aims at building the capacity of the Queen-Mothers to enable them contribute effectively to discussions on Gender, Land Rights and Governance issues at the national, regional and local levels .
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills in his opening remarks read on his behalf by Professor K. Baneong Yakubu, Director at the Ministry, recalled that in 1999, the government launched the Ghana Land Policy with the long-term goal to improve upon Land Administration in the country.
The Minister said this policy was the broad framework under which the Land Administration Project (LAP) One was initiated in 2003.
He explained that the main objectives of LAP-One were to stimulate economic growth, promote social stability and reduce poverty by developing a land system that was fair, efficient, cost effective, predicated on an efficient land market and prudent land resource management.
He said the project, therefore, made provisions for institutional development of the chieftaincy institution, leading to the establishment of 37 Customary Land Secretariats and demarcation of Customary Land Boundaries for some traditional authorities; which also involved some capacity building of traditional authorities in land management.
He said the Second Phase of the Project, LAP-Two was consolidating the modest gains made under the First Phase, strengthening and deepening the aforementioned reforms.
Nii Mills said under LAP-Two, the land sector agencies were to be made more responsive to clients, cutting down the cost and time of transacting land businesses,which would ultimately lead to efficient, modern and transparent delivery of land services.
The Minister said LAP ?Two had allocated an amount of 2.56 million dollars to the Judicial Service, to among others, expand the innovative specialized land courts to all regions of Ghana, build the capacity of judges and staff, and provide needed equipment for the land courts; as it promotes the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve land disputes.
He said LAP-Two had already provided funding support to the tune of 3.86 million dollars to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, for the completion of street naming and property address in the Metropolis.
He said the LAP was helping to address challenges women faced under some inheritance and land systems; by mainstreaming of gender in all activities.
?I entreat you to work with other traditional authorities and families to ensure that large tracts of lands are not given out without entering into any form of equity and also follow government?s policy to ensure the future well of our citizenry,? the Minister told the Queen-Mothers.
?The establishment of 10 more Customary Land Secretariat under LAP-Two will bring the total number as at now to 47.?
Mr A. K. Ahiabah, Director at the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs, said the Ministry considers any kind of discrimination against women as absolutely an unacceptable practice and has therefore, started building the capacity of women traditional rulers, to broaden their outlooks and to take up some responsibilities of their male counterparts.
Mr Mohammed Majeed, Development Officer, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada, said LAP was a flagship project in Africa which was being supported by Canada and the World Bank, to help in promoting the interest of women in land management.
Nana Abena Boatemaa, Paramount Queen-Mother of the Odomase Traditional Council and President of the National Association of Women Traditional Leaders, Ghana, commended the government and other stakeholders for organizing the seminar for them, which according to her, would empower them to deal with land management.