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Zambian Land Policy Issues
Zambia Land Alliance and Republic of Zambia - Ministry of Lands

Civil Society Position on Zambia's draft Land Policy of October 2006
Zambia Land Alliance, 18 October 2007
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Introduction and background to the position paper

This position paper on Zambia's Draft Land Administration and Management Policy of 2006 (hereinafter called the draft Land Policy) has been developed by Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA). ZLA was given the mandate to take on this responsibility by the National Civil Society Consultative (NCSC) Meeting on the draft Land Policy which was held on 21st and 22nd August 2007 at Cresta Golf View Hotel in Lusaka, by its membership of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) and their members, partners and concerned citizens, by traditional leaders and by its District level organs and their members at the grass root level in the rural and urban communities. Thus, although ZLA takes the lead in developing the Position Paper on the draft Land Policy, the output is a collaborative effort of citizens concerned with making sure that the final land policy truly addresses the needs of all Zambians. The position paper is also informed by the following documents, which present civil society contributions to the development of the draft land policy:

  • Comments on the draft land policy
  • Land policy advocacy research
  • Analysis of the Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP) of 2006
  • Analysis of the draft Land Policy 2006
  • Dual land tenure research
The land policy initiative is welcome and needs to be completed

Civil society organisations in Zambia agree on the need and urgency for a comprehensive, inclusive and authoritative land policy. This is because land is the basis for all life, and especially for the poor men and women of Zambia, land is the primary resource of livelihood. Despite the overwhelming agreement between most stakeholders on the need for a comprehensive land policy, CSOs have expressed concern and disappointment on the content of the draft Land Policy. Civil society wants a land policy that is clear and authoritative, pro-poor, gender sensitive and driven by the citizens of the country, and which provides for a transparent, accountable and just land administration system.

To this end, civil society has a proposal for the way forward; this position paper outlines in detail what civil society considers should be the content of a land policy which fulfils the above stated ideal, and proposes a process for arriving at a legitimate Land Policy.

Draft land administration and management policy
Republic of Zambia - Ministry of Lands, October 2006
[Download file Download complete version (319Kb ~ 1 min)]


  1. Land is the most fundamental resource in any society because it is the basis of human survival. Land is the space upon which all human activities take place and provides continued existence of all life forms and minerals. Land performs basic and fundamental functions that support human and other terrestrial systems such as to produce food, fibre, fuel, water or other biotic materials for human use; provide biological habitats for plants, animals and micro-organisms; regulate the storage and flow of surface and ground water; provide physical space for settlements, industry and recreation; store and protect evidence for historic or pre-historic record (fossils etc.) and enable movement of animals, plants and people from one area to another.
  2. In Zambia, land has since time immemorial been held under customary tenure, while the coming of European settlers saw the introduction of freehold and leasehold tenure systems. Under the current system of tenure, customary land is estimated to be 94 percent and state land is estimated at 6 percent of the total land area of the country whose area is 752,614 square kilometres. Under these two (2) categories there is reserve land which is allocated to nature, forest, and wildlife sanctuaries. Land under forest account for 9% of the total landmass of the country or approximately 67,680 square kilometres. Land for National parks accounts for about 8% or approximately 60,160 square kilometres and Game Management Areas about 22% or approximately 165,440 square kilometres. However, population increases and migration has created localised pressure for land and problems of access and equity. Lack of a land policy framework makes it difficult to address these problems.
  3. This policy has taken a holistic approach to land because land is the basis of other public natural resources use interventions due to its multiple use as a resource. Land is not only required for agriculture, for forest and wildlife conservation, but also contains water and minerals. Therefore, the policy on land has to bridge with other sector policies through clearer land tenure arrangements. This policy spells out actions for enhancing administration and use of land, initiatives for revenue generation, decentralisation and empowerment of rural and urban communities while addressing the challenges posed by social inequalities; poverty, gender and disability.
  4. The policy is organised as follows. Following the discussion of historical precedents, the present situation is presented as a backdrop to the statement of policy guidelines and recommended actions. The situational analysis presents the current issues and problems of land administration, land delivery and the existing institutional and legal context. The policy covers land administration, land management and information, the legal and institutional reform proposals and actions required to achieve desired ends. The Policy also contains the implementation measures for monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

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