Date of publication
March 2016

Strengthening Arab Women's Property Rights and Access to Land - PPT

Date of publication
March 2016

Improving Women's Access to Land and Property in The Arab States: The Role Of Inheritance, Dower, and Marital Property

Date of publication
December 2014
Geographical focus

Development and humanitarian actors
currently engaged in Somalia face the challenge of
delivering assistance in such a way that it is supportive of
peace and state building, addresses the acute vulnerability,
and dependence of large shares of the population while
operating in a still insecure and changing environment.
Forced displacement is a key feature of the current
political economy context of Somalia. The necessity of
addressing displacement is partly due to the scale and
duration of the phenomenon. Displacement dynamics have
fundamentally reshaped Somali culture in multiple ways. The
purpose of this study is to inform the Bank and other
development and humanitarian actors on the scale,
characteristics, and political economy dimensions of
displacement in Somalia. The study was undertaken between
February and June 2013 by a team from the Tana Copenhagen.
The conceptual framework for the study was based on one for
political economy assessments. In this context the report
presents, introduction; history, causes, and characteristics
of displacement in Somalia; current internally displaced
person (IDP) situation; prospects for return;
vulnerabilities and development needs of the displaced;
political economy challenges; and development for IDPs - recommendations.

Date of publication
October 2012
Geographical focus

In many countries affected by conflict, households and entire communities have often been displaced multiple times, forcing them to leave behind land and property. One household’s loss becomes another one’s gain as internally displaced people are shuffled around and squat in any available space that provides a temporary reprieve from the insecurity and lawlessness. This creates opportunities for land grabbing as well. The problem can become more acute at the end of violence once security improves and prior owners attempt to return after years of dislocation to find others occupying their property. This leads to new rounds of post-conflict violence that can be destabilizing in fragile environments. In Mogadishu, the situation is no different and land disputes are becoming a more common occurrence occupying much of the mayor’s time and resources.
For more information see this Los Angeles Times article. One possible solution to this problem would be the development of a land claims registry to address competing land claims - a similar program has been effective in Timor-Leste as the country emerged from internal conflict.

Date of publication
August 2012
Geographical focus
Date of publication
January 1993
Geographical focus

Repeated and lingering famine on the Horn of Africa has produced enormous pastoralist refugee populations in a region where livestock production is a major form of land use. Permanently settling destitute pastoralists into pursuits other than herding has a record of failure, can disrupt host land-uses causing social and ecological problems, and can deny utilization of very large grazing areas where pastoralism may be the only ecologically and economically sustainable land-use. Herd reconstitution needs to be considered an option in relief and rehabilitation programs for pastoralists. This paper examines a design where the most proven and immediate way of sustaining stockless pastoralists--farming--can be used to facilitate restocking objectives.
With data gathered in Somalia, estimates of livestock carrying capacity are linked with: characteristics of forage resources, land area, livestock units, and frequency of good, average, and poor (drought) water years, in order to explore the possibilities for incorporating restocking into refugee rehabilitation efforts.

Date of publication
January 1995
Geographical focus

Indigenous resource tenure systems in Africa have evolved to meet the constraints and opportunities of often difficult biophysical environments, while facilitating the operation of complex spatial and temporal land use patterns. Traditional systems provide security of tenure in culturally relevant ways that permit adaptation to new circumstances. On the other hand imposed tenure structures in Africa have often not strengthened individual rights and have often blocked indigenous tenure development and adaptation in response to new situations.
Pastoralists in Africa have in particular been negatively impacted by the imposition of national tenure systems which in many cases have served to marginalize nomadic populations, with repercussions in land degradation, food security, and instability.
In Somalia the transient resource rights and resource use arrangements that are critical to transhumant pastoralism were ignored in the formulation of the national tenure regime which favored crop cultivation. The results were increased land degradation, resource use conflicts, declines in pastoral production, and impacts on Somali clan alliances which in many cases regulate rational resource access and use.
Somalia posses the greatest proportion of pastoralists in Africa. Transhumant pastoralism, as the most widespread agricultural enterprise in the country, will play a critical role in food production for the foreseeable future. However the relationship between indigenous pastoralist tenure and state imposed tenure, has in many locations decreased the ability of pastoralism to reproduce itself, thereby compromising the rational utilization of very large areas of rangeland interior, which have very few alternative uses.

Date of publication
January 1991
Geographical focus

The persistent interplay of food production problems, land
degradation, and social and climatic difficulties on the Horn of
Africa result in recurring famines in spite of vast sums of money
spent on agricultural development. As land resources--which
undergird both social and production systems in Africa--become
increasingly degraded, development efforts, especially in
problematic areas, need to become part of comprehensive resource
use programs that take into account the existing regional land
use ecology. Designs which disrupt the ecology of established
land uses can lead to extensive degradation because such uses are
linked to wider areas; and the effects of such disruption can
ultimately threaten the viability of the proposed schemes
While African agriculture has traditionally met greater food
needs by expanding the area under cultivation and irrigation, the
increasing scarcity of new high quality arable land means that
multiple use of "high potential" areas will become a priority.
This paper describes a multiple land use in a "high potential"
river basin of Somalia, in the context of the existing use
patterns involved in irrigated agriculture and nomadic
pastoralism. The spatial and temporal access and use of
resources are analyzed, and recommendations made for improving
the integration of these production systems.

Date of publication
January 1990
Geographical focus

Agricultural development projects in the fertile and most well watered areas of arid and semi arid Africa usually deny access to nomadic pastoralists whose production system and livelihood depend upon such areas in the dry season and during frequent droughts. The result can be degradation of range resources through overgrazing, and greater vulnerability of pastoralists.
Recent calls for "compatible" land use schemes or "non exclusionary" agricultural development projects in the context of pastoralist transhumance, suggest allowing pastoralists structured access to project sites in the dry season in order to utilize forage and water supplies. This paper examines the capacity of an irrigation scheme to support the seasonal influx of transhumant livestock in dry seasons of varying severity. The livestock carrying capacity of the existing mosaic of land use patterns and practices is used in the determination of the proportional areas of land use needed to absorb large seasonal concentrations of livestock.

Date of publication
January 1979

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) - currently ratified by 187 countries - is the only human rights treaty that deals specifically with rural women (Art. 14). Adopted in 1979 by the United Nations Generally Assembly, entered into force in 1981. The Convention defines discrimination against women as follows:

For the purposes of the present Convention, the term "discrimination against women" shall mean any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field (Art. 1).

The Convention covers civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights. Notably, it contains obligations on State Parties also in respect of discrimination by private parties, or in private contexts. Furthermore, CEDAW considers both de jure (in law) and de facto (in practice) discrimination. States that ratified - or otherwise acceded to - the Convention are legally bound to put its provisions in practice, even if they made reservations, which shouldn't be in any way "incompatible with the object and purpose" of the Convention (Art. 28).

Because it sets an international standard of women's human rights in areas such as education, employment, health care, marriage and family relations, politics, finance, and law, CEDAW provides a platform for lobbying governments to promote gender equality and hold them accountable at international level. CEDAW has been an important advocacy tool of the women's movement over the last 30 years.

States Parties of the Convention should submit periodic reports to the CEDAW Committee on the legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures which they have adopted to give effect to the provisions of the Convention (Art. 18). Civil society can present "shadow reports".  

Art. 14, 15 and 16 of CEDAW specifically deal with rural women, ownership of land, inheritance rights and right to access property. You can read the Convention on the OHCHR website, where you can also find information on past and current Sessions of the CEDAW Committe, including official States' Reports and civil society "shadow reports", the Committee's Concluding Observations, and General Recommendations.

Finally, you can find information for NGO participation.


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