land portal's picture

PUBLICATION: Protecting Community Lands and Resources Evidence from Liberia, Mozambique and Uganda

A new report released 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.

Findings from the field work include:

  • The communities’ desire to secure title to their lands created a strong impetus to peacefully resolve all boundary conflicts, some of which had endured for generations. These local conflicts had destabilized relations with neighbors and contributed to regional insecurity.
  • The process of drafting rules for land and natural resources management gave community members the opportunity to evaluate community rules and implement good governance mechanisms for the first time—previously, these deliberations were limited to elites and leaders.
  • The process also provided an opportunity for women and other vulnerable groups to challenge discriminatory practices and implement specific local protections for women’s property rights, often for the first time. Communities are generally receptive to outside investment, but only if they can negotiate all aspects of the investment project so that their health, culture and environment gain protections.
  • Communities also need benefits and fair compensation as well as a signed contract ensuring that all benefits are paid.
  • Community land documentation efforts include the common lands often left out of projects focusing on securing titles for family properties, yet the estimated costs of community documentation efforts are less than half the cost of separately titling all individual and family land in a given community.

Read the executive summary (pdf) here.

Download the full report (pdf) here.