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Portrait de Nienke Busscher

Weekly digest Thank you all

Weekly digest

Thank you all for the interesting comments on the discussion! From the remarks the main points that need to be considered in communal land titling are community cohesion and leadership. The land use plan presented by I.P.A Manning, draws upon customary rights and uses guidance of a trust who safeguards the trust funds. These funds are used for appropriate development plans, projects and programs having the full participation and agreement of the whole community. Here again communal participation, organization and cohesion are key.  What also comes to fore in the discussion is access to knowledge, this is something that is often lacking. Exclusion in communal titling is a pitfall for not only women but also for people with little political capital. There is a great role for the investors in working towards more sustainable land rights. Their policies need to be aimed towards sustainability and should be conflict avoiding. Interestingly in the communal land titling case in Laos it is forbidden to use the land title for buying and selling purposes, transfer, collateral, rent to or concession to outside companies. This measure can already solve the issue of having individuals threatening the tenure situation within a community by wanting to sell land to outside actors.  

An example of communal engagement is even found in places where land titles are already formalized and respected. This initiative in Sydney tries to engage people in neighborhood activities. This would have very important social, environmental and economic benefits. With the right sort of rental security and supports, a vibrant, productive, inclusive and sustainable neighborhood culture could be encouraged. So, even in western societies the importance of communal organization is deemed important.

For further reading on communal titling I would like to present a paper by J. David Stanfield on community based rangeland administration in Afghanistan. This is a very interesting article when it comes to their approach to communal titling. In Afghanistan land belongs to the state but is used by many people. Conflict among farmers and livestock dependent families is not uncommon because of the decreasing supply of adequate rangelands. But also because of the rights that are unclear, differences on preservation of the land, and contradictions between governmental agencies and local communities which, by custom and necessity, use the rangelands. As described in the article the ministry in Afghanistan stimulates community based management. This is stimulated to draw upon community knowledge and the practical understanding communities have of local issues. So, in this approach to titling, they directly engage the community. The positive features of this approach is that the system will be viewed as transparent, equitable and legitimate. Also, implementation costs can be kept to a minimum and public access to records will be improved. What is said is that the administration of this community based system should be more effective in avoiding conflicts and misunderstandings, since traditional leaders in villages have the authority for confirming legitimate users that governmental officials do not have. For the entire article see the following link.  


Concluding I think we already have made some important statements on communal titling and how local communities can be strengthened. But as Richard rightfully mentions, “with governments’ addiction to economic growth and the power of corporations, how can this be done?” So, there are still many question left in this debate which are hard to answer.  

Please keep sharing your experiences. The information on individual land titling in developing countries is still rather scarce so I would like to stimulate you to post more of your expertise!




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