Recently, Minsters of different sectors have been giving extensive seminars as regards activities of their respective ministries. The primary objective of such briefings is to enable all nationals in different regions of Eritrea have detailed information as regards strategic policies of each ministry, varied development projects so far implemented on the ground and to have a face to face deliberation with people and to find solutions to deficits that have been of a major concern. Seminars held in the Central, Southern, and Gash-Barka regions by Mr. Tesfai Ghebreslasie, Minister of Land, Water and Environment are among the chain of such like seminars that are aimed at giving up-to-date information about activities carried so far and about future action plans. What the seminars delivered by Mr. Tesfai discussed most is about judicious utilization of national resources.
In his seminar, Mr. Tesfai said “As a country and people, we have paid huge sacrifices to decide our fate by ourselves and for ourselves. Most of all, to improve the living standards of our people and to ensure the sustainability of natural resources, particularly of land, water and environment, to the coming generations of this country.”
Even though land, water and environment law was issued almost in the wake of independence, it is, however, to be noted that there have been violations and no strict measure have almost been taken to date.
In the last 22 years, proclamations issued on land use have been continuously violated and to rectify such occurrences corrective and legal administrative measures are now decided to be taken. It is to be noted that, all natural resources are properties of the Government, so individuals ought not to sell or to buy piece of land or any natural resource lest there would be legal proceedings for those who violate any officially proclaimed law and who have been engaged in selling and buying land plots.
According to information obtained from the seminar, 7,320 illegal acts related to land use have now been identified through a research conducted to see the extent of law violations by individuals. There could be other cases of such occurrences that have not yet been identified and thus when the research reaches its final stage the illegal acts of selling and buying of land plots would be increased.
Since Eritrea is geographically situated on a semi-arid area, judicious utilization of water is a necessity requisite to the countries normal and balanced development of any sort. According to Mr. Tesfai, there have been illegal drilling of walls which resulted from lack or limited awareness on the susceptibility of ground water resources. Hence, Mr. Tesfai underscored that drilling of wells need to be carried out with full consent and knowledge of experts in the department water resources.
Land use is not confined to the use of land for construction of houses. Large areas of farm lands that have been not been used appropriately or else that have been rented or sold are also causes of unfair and poor utilization of natural resources. Mr. Tesfai also highlighted that farmers should cultivate their farm land not only to earn their living and for personal use alone, but to make due contribution in the overall endeavor of attaining food security at a national level.
Eritrea is among the countries with minimal water resource. Demand of water has also been increasing annually with the urbanization of different areas. Water reservoirs that have been built since independence have not yet met the country’s demand of water. Hence, wise use of such a resource is a necessity requisite.
Supply of potable water is a basic right of any national and thus utmost priority has been given to the provision of safe water throughout the country. A major leap has been registered in the provision of potable water, according to Mr. Tesgai. As a result of the extensive efforts that have been made, usage of potable water has shown a growth of 300%. Endeavors towards achieving a more gratifying success would continue in a sustainable manner so as to enable all nationals have access to healthy water in their vicinities.
Another area in which the minister discussed with people is about protecting the natural environment. The minister therefore said that investments have been made to ensure the existence of non-polluted, attractive and sound eco system.