Mozambique has a progressive land law that came into place through a historically inclusive process. However, there are many obstacles to the proper implementation of the law, including the communities’ lack of formalized land tenure. Terra Firma, one of the LAND-at-scale partners in Mozambique, has worked on achieving tenure security for communities in Mozambique for a long time. To learn more from their experiences and strategies on how to do this in a sustainable way, LAND-at-scale interviewed Maria Muianga from Terra Firma.
- What are the challenges in Mozambique when it comes to achieving tenure security?
“One of the main challenges to achieving tenure security is the lack or reduced institutional capacity. Even though a strong legal framework is available, the insufficient implementation of the legal framework or their enforcement led to weak land governance and institutional capacities at all levels. Local communities lack knowledge about the legal framework which makes very difficult for them to defend their rights. Formal land registration and land administration systems are not available in rural areas, which makes the engagement of rural people with the agencies at provincial level extremely difficult, expensive, and bureaucratic. The land information systems are not available for public consultation, not updated and not operational in most provinces, and are marred by a lot of bureaucracy, procedures take too long, and survey and mapping requirements are not cost effective. Lack of interaction between the different government institutions involved in land management and administration. There is little involvement of local communities in the processes of land registration and administration, the community is seen as a participant and not as the owner of the process, there is little or no community consultation and communities are not properly informed about the objectives and implications of agreeing to establish investment projects, which leads to conflicts between communities and private actors.”
- What will your strategy be in the LAND-at-scale project to address these challenges? How do you ensure the solutions proposed are sustainable?
“The strategy is to provide the communities with information, means and tools so that they can establish a simple, low-cost, and easy-to-maintain community cadastre that can complement the formal cadastre system. This includes, help them organise themselves into community associations of land and natural resources management. These associations will be the basis for the establishment of the community cadastre, in which each association will be responsible for delimiting its community area, delimiting the areas of individual parcels, developing land use plans and procedures for the use and conservation of natural resources, and establishing a community cadastre of this information. To ensure sustainability, the process will be based on inclusiveness, and will be economically and technically feasible. And we need to search for ways to coordinate and collaborate with government and other policy makers in a constructive way to ensure that these actions can be upscaled in a sustainable way.”
- Terra Firma has a lot of experience on mapping initiatives in Mozambique for many years. What are lessons learned with regards to sustainability on that project that you are incorporating in your strategy for the LAS project?
“The process needs to start from the inside out, the community must want to participate in the process on a voluntary basis and must be empowered so that they can take ownership of the process. No project will succeed if people's concerns and expectations are not heard and addressed, doing a concise baseline study helps adjust the project so that those concerns are addressed. The process must be inclusive, gender issues must be addressed at all stages of project implementation with all members of the community, regardless of sex and age, and opportunities must be created so that other vulnerable groups (disabled, elderly, orphans, etc.) also feel involved and covered. The process must be economically and technically feasible, based on opensource software's and mobile land rights registrations tools that are easy to learn and use.”
Ms. Maria Muianga, from Terra Firma, introduces the LAND-at-scale project in Mozambique while at the LANDac conference in Utrecht, last June:
This project in Mozambique is part of the LAND-at-scale program. LAND-at-scale is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and managed by the Netherlands Enterprise and Development Agency (RVO). Read more about LAND-at-scale here or sign up for our quarterly newsletter.