Two-Year Study Helps African Communities Resolve Land Conflicts and Protect Rights From Land Grabs | Land Portal

A new report released today by Namati and the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) details an effective and cost-efficient process to help rural communities work together to protect their lands and natural resources--a potential solution to the global land grab. The communities, located in Liberia, Mozambique, and Uganda, have all survived long years of violence and upheaval only to find their lands coveted by foreign investors and local elite.

In the face of this land grab, an innovative collaboration assisted rural villagers who leveraged national laws to document their community lands as a whole, protecting not only family lands--the focus of most efforts to strengthen land rights--but also common resources like forests, grazing lands and water bodies. These resources, which communities depend on for their survival and livelihoods, are particularly vulnerable to appropriation. But while the laws allowing for community land titling are on the books in several countries, they are not well implemented.

"Community land titling efforts are not just about getting a document," said Rachael Knight, the report's lead author. "In many post-conflict regions, years of war have broken local governance systems, leaving a management vacuum. The process of documenting community land rights was an opportunity to help communities resolve longstanding local land conflicts, demand accountability from their leaders, and implement rules to protect women's rights and ensure sustainable use of shared natural resources."

"Land titling can be the key that unlocks traditional barriers faced by women and vulnerable groups in rural communities," said Ilaria Bottigliero, Director of Research and Policy for the International Development Law Organization. "Law and legal tools can be successfully used to mediate disputes over land claims and at the same time help empower rural communities to realize their rights."

View the original article from allAfrica.

The Executive Summary and Full Report are both available online.


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