People's Charter Pillar 6 (Land) : For Discussion
It would be useful to tick off the recommendations government has already done and others still in progress. If you need assistance write land in the Search this Blog facility.
Making more land available for productive and social purposes
Critical Problems and Issues:
- Ethnonationalists and those politicians who seek power on the basis of divisive, race-based politics have tended to make land a highly emotive issue.
- The principal issue regarding land in Fiji is not one of ownership; it is about access, its productive use and ensuring an equitable sharing of benefits. The issue of ownership is fully protected under the Constitution, and must so remain.
- Vast amounts of land in Fiji currently lie idle or are greatly underutilized.
- The sharp growth in the numbers of people living in squatter settlements in Fiji is alarming and troublesome. It is estimated that close to 13% of Fiji’s population live in over 200 squatter settlements around the country. The greater Suva area has the highest number of squatters, with Nasinu dubbed the “Squatter Town”. It is estimated that, if squatter settlement programmes remain static, by 2010 the Suva/Nausori corridor will have 15,000 squatter households with 100,000 people. This will place a large strain on the entire urban infrastructure, such as water supply, sewerage, electricity, roads, traffic congestion and social services.
- A major national challenge is not only to increase the supply of land, under acceptable leasing arrangements, for agricultural, commercial or social purposes but also to transform the capital inherent in land into capital that can be used either to develop that land or as collateral in the financial market or for other economic and social purposes.
The Way Forward: The following key measures and actions must be taken with due priority and urgency:
- Create a market for leased land, through sustainable lease arrangements, to improve accessibility to all users.
- Make land available for housing as well as infrastructure development in both rural and urban areas with government playing a key facilitating role. Formalise “vakavanua” or informal settlement on all types of land.
- Ensure security of tenure and equitable returns to both landowners and tenants through a market-based framework for utilisation of land.
- Establish a Land Use Advisory Board including a National Land Register and a Land Use Development Plan.
- Empower indigenous landowners’ rights to access and lease native land, to effectively spearhead individual indigenous landowner’s participation in commerce and
For the detailed recommendations and proposed implementation actions, see the Report on the State of the Nation and the Economy.