Strengthening our knowledge base on land access, land governance and challenges related to development, crisis and resilience | Land Portal

PhD research provides key inputs to strengthen our knowledge base on land access, land governance and challenges related to development, crisis and resilience. This is why LANDac reserves a special place in the programme to discuss their contributions.

In the first PhD session of the conference, three PhD researchers presented their work in progress. We learned about the relationship between land certification and soil and water conservation technologies in Ethiopia and about land mediation and localised land administration in Burundi. Each presentation was followed by feedback of an expert in the field of study (see details below).


Key Takeaways

  • Measuring the impact of certification on smallholders’ willingness to invest in soil and water conservation measures is complex and methodologically challenging. Results from a recent study on Ethiopia are encouraging it found land certification to have a positive and significant impact on the adoption of agronomic SWC techniques
  • Can engrained norms be disrupted? New institutions for dispute resolution, such as the area surveying committees in Burundi (created in the framework of land tenure certification programmes), do allow for more participation of women, but this does not necessarily lead to more gender equity. The effectiveness of these committees in terms of dispute resolution depends on the type of disputes: they were less able to handle disputes involving displaced populations.
  • If land certification is key to promoting land tenure security, why are people not rushing to claim their land certificates? A case study from Burundi adds to the potential reasons for such hesitation: Explanatory factors include the unsettled nature of the ownership of the land occupied, and the experiences people have with those in charge of land administration


The Impact of Land Certification on the Adoption of Multiple Soil and Water

Conservation Technologies: - Evidence from Southern Ethiopia


Presented by Tilahun Habtamu Adere (KU Leuven) and discussed by Aklilu Amsalu (Addis Ababa University).

Tilahun presented his joint work on the impact of land certification on the adoption of soil and water conservation technologies (together with Miet Maertens, Kewan Mertens, and Liesbet Vranken). They collected plot and household-level survey data from Ethiopia estimated a multivariate probit, correlated random-effect and fixed-effect Poisson regression model. They find that adoption decisions are interrelated, and that land certification has a positive significant impact on the adoption of agronomic SWC techniques – intercropping, contour-ploughing and minimum-tillage, and on the adoption of biological practice -tree planting and grass strips whereas no effect on the adoption of physical measures can be found. In addition, they find that the land certification has a positive significant impact on the number of agronomic and total SWC technologies adopted. Furthermore, they also find the effect of land certification across households with heterogenous risk-taking behaviour is different -the impact is stronger for relative more risk-averse farmers. These results highlight the importance of improving the efficiency of land certification programs that potentially enhance household welfare through the adoption of land conserving technologies and [partly] breaking the risk- induced poverty trap cycle that observed in risk-averse farmers with low technology uptakes.


Gendering Rule and Rupture: Land Mediation and Registration in Burundi

Presented by Ladd Richard William Serwat (University of Sussex) and discussed by David Betge (ZOA)

Ladd uses the concept of gendered ruptures to analyse changes to land tenure during land registration in Burundi. He argues the rupture of land registration is profoundly gendered and shows how the experiences, influences on, and outcomes of registration differ between women and men. In his study he uses these insights to advance scholarship on feminist institutionalism and political economy approaches to land reform. During registration, the introduction of hill surveying committees created preferential rules and norms for women's participation despite enduring discrimination. The study was based on fieldwork in Burundi from April 2019 to April 2020 and used mixed methods, specifically interviews, focus groups, archival research and a survey. Findings call for a nuanced gendered analysis of who are the beneficiaries and losers of land registration.


Unsettled ownership, distrusted administrators, and localized land registration in Burundi

Presented by Camille Munezero (Radboud University) and discussed by Ladd Serwat (University of Sussex)

Camille presented the joint work (together with Mathijs van Leeuwen (Radboud University) and Gemma van der Haar (WUR)) on localised land registration in Burundi. He first elaborated on the fact that many people are hesitant to have their land mapped and registered. The authors’ research suggests two explanatory factors for this: (1) the unsettled nature of the ownership of the land occupied, and (2) the experiences people have with those in charge of land administration. Fieldwork conducted in Burundi suggests that the circumstances in which people gain access to land are critical to their conception of tenure security and of the way this impacts localized land registration. While localized land registration assumedly is a straightforward technical procedure of recording unambiguous claims to land, local actors interpret differently land ownership and land use conditions, which creates uncertainty of land tenure and the possibility of its manipulation. Consequently, people in the communities are never sure whether their claims will be acknowledged.

Related content: 
LANDac Conference 2021
30 June 2021

The LANDac Annual International Conference offers a podium for knowledge exchange between researchers, practitioners and private sector representatives interested in land governance for equitable and sustainable development

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