|Wednesday, May 19, 2010, President Jacques Chirac and Jean-Pierre Ferret, President of the Conseil Supérieur du Notariat, signed a partnership between their institutions in order to strengthen land rights in developing countries. Download Jacques Chirac’s speech (pdf)|
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very happy to be here this morning and would like to begin by thanking you, Mr. President, for your welcome.
In a few moments, we will agree to a partnership. I am particularly pleased because it will enhance legal safety in the most fragile countries.
It will thus help the disadvantaged, those who can not assert their property rights.
The right to own property is a fundamental human right:
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that, “Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.” (Article 17).
In 2050, there will be 9 billion people on this planet. Land has become an increasingly coveted natural resource.
According to FAO, between 20 and 30 million hectares of land have changed hands in recent years.
These transactions are often at the expense of the weakest, those who can not prove their rights to their land.
They rob the poorest nations of the means to ensure their own development.
They generate conflicts.
In light of this, it is essential to establish land tenure security in these countries and to recognize the rights of local populations over their lands.
The French Conseil Supérieur du Notariat has launched a formidable project.
Indeed, in the chain of skills necessary to establish secure land tenure, you are capable of providing vital legal support to modernize national systems.
• States to formalize property titles,
• Avoid conflicts over land use,
• Recognize usage and customary rights.
The Minister of Natural Resources of Vietnam has called upon your expertise to modernize the organization of land tenure in the country’s three largest cities, Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang.
Elsewhere, in Togo, for example, you are preparing, at the request of the Minister of Justice, to participate in a project of land reform.
Burkina Faso, Benin, and Madagascar work with you; with perhaps Haiti soon to follow.
Your legal support is always in partnership withal other concerned entities: governments, communities and locally elected officials, anthropologists, and surveyors.
Your priority is to respect the rights and cultures of local populations by transcribing them into law.
Ultimately, by ensuring that land use is adapted to local law, you are providing a response to food insecurity and poverty.
For these reasons, my foundation wants to support your work.
By signing this partnership, we are committed to mobilizing at the highest levels for a reform of land rights and to implement cooperative projects.
Your presence here marks your interest in my Foundation and I thank you.
I take this as a sign of a strong and shared concern for the goals it has set itself and for which I have been committed throughout my mandates:
• The conservation of our environment and our natural resources, including forestry and agriculture,
• Equal access to water and sanitation,
• Access to health care for all,
• The defense of cultural diversity.
These echo the Millennium Development Goals, which were defined 10 years ago by the international community.
My dear friends, we must achieve these goals.
The safety of humans and societies are at stake.
They are the conditions for lasting peace.