LAMAP Declaration 2009

1 May 2009

This declaration was made by over 100 chiefs, youth, women and community members present at the National Land Meeting in Lamap, Malekula, Vanuatu (May 2009).

We are the chiefs, representing the indigenous population and the participants representing the women and youth of Vanuatu from six provinces who have attended the National Land Workshop in Dravail Village, Lamap South Malekula from 27 April to 1 May 2009.

 We have come together to voice our deep concerns over the rapid alienation of land in the country by foreign investors and those with cash.

 Considering Ni- Vanuatu beliefs that are rooted in land, understood as a mother and source of life, we make the following declaration:

1. We adopt the first resolution of the land summit which states that ‘land belongs to a family, tribe or clan and not an individual.

2. The Vanuatu Government Land Reform program must concentrate only on leased lands, allowing the chiefs to take care of the customary lands in the Republic.

3. That land in Vanuatu has no commercial value.

4. That any development that takes place on land in Vanuatu requires the indigenous or custodians of the land have to have control over that development and a fair share of the takings.

5. That a network is set up in the six provinces to address the issues of land in Vanuatu.

6. We have mandated the Vanuatu Cultural Centre to provide awareness on land issues on the 83 plus islands in Vanuatu.

7. We strongly reject the land registration program in Vanuatu in order to to safeguard future generations and the indigenous population.

8. The government and the appropriate authorities should scrutinise the work of the real Estates in the country.

This declaration is made to bring to the attention of the government, corporate bodies and NGOs the critical issues concerning land in Vanuatu.