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02-13: Traditional Institutions' Role to Document Communal Rights
A Statutory framework for the documentation and codification of customary and informal land rights regimes
1Huairou Commission, United States of America; 2GROOTS Kenya
In most African countries, the majority of the population lives in rural areas, and holds land based on undocumented customary arrangements. Conflicting statutory law or corrupt customary leaders can weaken customary systems. As global competition for productive land and valuable natural resources increases, both domestic and foreign investors can too easily ignore or dismiss customary rights, especially when those rights are undocumented. Without urgent action to document customary lands, strengthen equitable land governance by customary institutions, and integrate customary and statutory law, millions of people are at risk of losing their rights to land and resources held under customary tenure. And, today, strong customary institutions that stand on the side of local people are more important than ever. Approximately 65-70% of land in Kenya is estimated to fall under the category of “community land”. The Community (Grassroots)-led land mapping model,developed by GROOTS Kenya & social tenure domain model (STDM) developed by GLTN are examples of community led tools for documenting and securing communal land rights. Both tool offer us key lessons for consideration in development of a statutory framework for documentation of communal lands.
The Tragedy Of Myopic Policy Planning For The Commons: Managing Customary Land And Other Natural Resources In Zimbabwe’s Mberengwa Communal Area
Women's University In Africa, Zimbabwe
The experiences of Mberengwa communal area, with regards to management of customary land, reveal that the traditional systems of land governance promoted at independence were based on myopic land policy planning. They give a façade of equal access to land and grassroots participation, yet threaten the virtue of livelihoods and natural resources sustainability. The communal natural resources in this area are collectively owned and managed by traditional systems of authority through a system of land centralisation which was adopted during the colonial era. In this study, I expressly focus on the nature of existing traditional land tenure system, interrogating how it works, how it benefits individuals, households and the entire community. I inevitable explore the traditional institutions that are central in the management of land and related natural resources. Using Key Informants, Transect walks and Observations, I established that the management of natural resources of the commons in post-colonial Zimbabwe is very problematic and results in unsustainable utilization. The traditional institutions are rendered weak to manage these resources in the face of increasing population pressure. Certain harmful land and natural resource use patterns deemed harmful to the environment, are difficult to halt as the community switches into a survival mode.
The Evolution of Collective Land Access Regimes in Pastoralist Societies: Lessons from East African Countries
Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, Kenya
This study examines the evolution of collective land tenure regimes in East Africa including how they affect pastoral communities. Specifically, the drivers and impacts of changes in collective land access across time are identified. First, the study synthesises regional evidence on East Africa’s pastoral communities before examining changes among collective land tenure regime in Kenya using existing literature, secondary data and primary data. Second, using theory testing process tracing method to analyse the key drivers on changes in collective land tenure. Land individualisation and privatisation policies implemented during the colonial period and maintained by post-independence governments did not yield the desired outcomes of increasing investments on land and improving productivity and incomes, especially in areas where land is accessed collectively. The growing trend towards individualisation of land in pastoral areas is triggered by a combination of factors including the potential for change in land use, proximity to urban cities large-scale infrastructural developments and the nature of community mechanisms for accessing and managing collectively owned land and other resources. To sustain pastoral productive systems, the maintenance of collective access to land especially where extensive livestock production systems are likely to be practiced, will provide economic and social benefits to communities.
Mapping as Empowerment: Lessons from a Year of Participatory Community Mapping
1Namati, United States of America; 2Cadasta Foundation, United States of America; 3Kenya Land Alliance, Kenya
Participatory mapping is often presented as an approach that empowers people to create their own maps. Unfortunately, complex tools and inappropriate recommendations have too often led to ineffective or unsustainable mapping programs that do not achieve the targeted empowerment outcomes or even disempower communities. This is particularly concerning for efforts aimed at strengthening land rights and governance process for indigenous and customary communities. The nexus between participatory mapping and legal empowerment as it relates to formal recognition of land rights warrants further attention and is central to the work of Namati, Cadasta, and our partner organizations. This paper synthesizes lessons from seven participatory mapping exercises undertaken by Namati and Cadasta with partner organizations in Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, and Myanmar over the past two years. These exercises informed the development of a suite of tools, methods, and training supports that can be tailored to particular goals and context of an organization and community. This paper analyzes lessons from the pilots and shares suggestions for how to leverage mapping for empowerment – for communities, civil society, and governments.