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08-05: How to Ensure Gender Equality in Access to Communal Lands?
A Comparative Analysis of National Laws Recognizing Women’s Rights To Community Forests in the Developing World
Rights and Resources Initiative, United States of America
Up to 2.5 billion people hold and use community lands worldwide, yet the tenure rights of women who comprise over half the world’s Indigenous Peoples and local communities are seldom acknowledged by national laws. This analysis of 30 developing countries concludes that the vast majority of national laws regulating 78% of the developing world’s forests fail to adequately protect women’s rights to property, inheritance, community membership, community-level governance (voting and leadership), and community-level dispute resolution. While overarching national laws regulating the tenure rights of all women often fail to satisfy international legal standards, statutes regulating women’s rights to community forests are especially gender-insensitive. Countries’ commitments to protect women’s tenure rights under constitutions and international law are not reflected in the laws regulating women’s everyday interactions with community forests. These legislative omissions enable discriminatory practices against women, constrain their economic and personal agency, and render their communities vulnerable to livelihood insecurity. Findings reveal that laws recognizing communities as forest owners—as well as laws created with the principle aim of acknowledging community-based rights—afford greater protections for women’s forest rights than laws that fail to convey community ownership rights.
Changing Form and Content of Women’s Land Rights under Customary Tenure: Is Registration or Titling an Opportunity?
1Associates Research Uganda; 2Consultant Surveyors and Planners, Uganda
Women’s rights to land under customary tenure are limited to access and use, while the male counterpart has the primary right of ownership. Often, these are described as “secondary rights”, because they are ancillary to the primary right to own land. In event of formalization of land rights, identification and recognition of secondary land rights may be seen as a threat to the primacy of the men’s land rights which are presumed to be primary, permanent and formal. It has been argued that women’s vulnerability does not result from the allegedly secondary character of these rights but from the various socio-economic processes that have significantly altered the terrain in which rights are currently negotiated. To substantiate and demonstrate, this study explores the influence of two shock events – the establishment of refugee settlement camps in West Nile and the effects of war and displacement in Acholi land in Uganda – on the content and form of land rights for women, when systematic land adjudication and certification (SLAAC) takes place, with the issuance of certificates of customary ownership (CCOs), by determining and defining the points of vulnerability in the approaches used to identify and record secondary rights under customary tenure.
Gender and Collectively Held Land: Good Practices and Lessons Learned from Six Global Case Studies
1Resource Equity, United States of America; 2Landesa, United States of America
Early lessons suggest that formalizing collective rights to land can lead to different outcomes for men and women, often with women the losers. Because men and women typically have different roles within the household and community, their interests in collective lands are often different, and women’s interests may not be considered or protected in the implementation of state programs to strengthen collective tenure.
This report seeks to answer the question: Where collective tenure arrangements are either being formalized or supported for the sake of securing the community’s rights to land, what steps are required to strengthen women’s land rights in the process?
This report synthesizes findings from six case studies – from China, Ghana, India, the Kyrgyz Republic, Namibia, and Peru – that assess interventions to strengthen collective tenure and ensure that both women and men benefit from the improved land tenure security. The purpose of the case studies was to understand how formalizing or securing rights to collectively held lands can affect women and men differently and how projects and interventions can best address gender differences. In every case the focus is on practice, not theory, with the goal of informing the implementation of other similar interventions.
Collective Land Tenure in Colombia: Current State and Prospective Challenges
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia
The purpose of this presentation is to introduce the results of an academic project funded by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) on the current state of collective land tenure in Colombia and its prospective challenges. It focuses on the illustration of the relevant actors, norms and dynamics that shape the acces to and use of land and natural resources of the country´s ethnic communities. Special attention is given to forest-dependent communities.