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Bottom-Up Accountability Initiatives and Large-Scale Land Acquisitions in Africa

The objective of this project is to test whether the Food and Agriculture Organization's Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security can help increase accountability for large-scale land acquisitions in Mali, Nigeria, Uganda, and South Africa. It will provide insight into the conditions under which international land governance instruments can be used to hold public authorities more accountable. This, in turn, may help locals secure the right to food in sub-Saharan Africa. From rural to urban In 2007, the absolute number of people living in urban centres worldwide overtook the number of people living in rural areas for the first time ever. As a result, the international development community's attention is increasingly turning urban. Yet data from the United Nations indicates that three-quarters of sub-Saharan Africa's poor still live and work in the countryside. Effective access to, and ownership over, land and natural resources remains critically important for the rural poor in Africa to be able to build decent economic livelihoods and participate meaningfully in decisions that affect their lives. Movement to acquire land on a large scale Against this backdrop, food, fuel/energy, climate, and financial crises have converged. One of the most immediate and important implications is the revaluation of land as a scare resource. This reality has driven industries, governments, communities, and individuals to acquire land at a scale never witnessed before. Africa has played centre stage to this wave of large-scale land acquisitions. Since 2006, international and domestic investors have acquired an estimated 50-80 million hectares of land in low- and middle-income countries. Research to investigate land acquisitions FIAN, the Foodfirst Information and Action Network, will implement the project. National citizen-based groups, regional and international civil society organizations, researchers, and policymakers interested in land issues will participate in the project. The research team will apply a case study and participatory action-research approach. The project is expected to generate evidence about how local residents can enhance their ability to promote more equitable, transparent, and accountable land acquisition mechanisms. Evidence for improved monitoring Project results will contribute to the UN Committee on World Food Security's monitoring mechanism. The evidence will also be shared with other relevant monitoring bodies at the national (parliamentary commissions, national human rights organizations), regional, and international levels (African and UN human rights systems).

Project ID
107701
Project Status
Completed
End Date
Duration
36 months
IDRC Officer
Ramata Thioune
Total Funding
CA$ 499,500.00
Location
Mali
Nigeria
South Africa
Uganda
Programs
Governance and Justice
Governance and Justice
Institution Country
Germany
Project Leader
Sofía Monsalve Suárez
Institution
FIAN International e.V.

Outputs

Initiatives communautaires de redevabilité pour revendiquer les droits fonciers en Afrique sub-saharienne

Initiatives communautaires de redevabilité pour revendiquer les droits fonciers en Afrique sub-saharienne

Documents

Ces dernières années, les communautés sont confrontées de plus en plus aux accaparements de terres tant au niveau urbain et périurbain qu’au niveau rural facilités par la complicité des élites et les dysfonctionnements administratifs, en particulier en « omettant » d’appliquer les droits fonciers coutumiers pourtant reconnu dans le Code Domanial et Foncier (CDF) du Mali. Cette injustice a créé de nombreux conflits fonciers. Ce sont des territoires, des écosystèmes, des identités communautaires, la souveraineté alimentaire voire nationale qui sont menacés. La Convergence Malienne contre les Accaparements de Terres (CMAT), composée de 5 structures d’envergures nationales (AOPP, CAD-MALI, CNOP, LJDH et l’UACDDDD), travaille avec les communautés des villages Fonsira et Dalla pour trouver des solutions concrètes tant sur le terrain qu’au niveau des textes législatifs, en s’appuyant notamment sur les directives des régimes fonciers du CSA de la FAO.

Author(s): Jacovetti, Chantal, Kone, Massa

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Language: French

Bottom-up accountability initiatives and large scale land acquisition in sub-saharan Africa : final technical report

Bottom-up accountability initiatives and large scale land acquisition in sub-saharan Africa : final technical report

Report

Understanding and interpretation of the CFS/FAO Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (Tenure Guidelines or TGs) is a key factor in communities’ capabilities for collective action, especially through the organization of land pressure groups. TGs help people to engage critically with existing legal frameworks. In this study, community knowledge was enhanced regarding customary as well as statutory laws which protect rights, while enabling people to identify shortcomings/gaps/bias in the existing laws working against them. It also emerged that issues of land grabs similarly engender the grabbing of other resources like water, forests and pasture.

Author(s): Monsalve Suarez, Sofia

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Language: English

Convergence Malienne contre les accaparements des terres : note politique dans le cadre de la recherche action IDRC/FIAN/CNOP/CMAT

Convergence Malienne contre les accaparements des terres : note politique dans le cadre de la recherche action IDRC/FIAN/CNOP/CMAT

Dossiers

Depuis la Charte du Mandé, les droits fondamentaux qui sont la Terre, l’Eau pour vivre dans la Dignité et du fruit de son travail n’ont pas trouvé d’écho significatif dans nos textes de lois et encore moins dans leur application. Les droits des communautés ont été sans cesse bafoués, vus comme négatifs par opposition aux lois dites modernes ou positives issues de la colonisation avec son concept de domanialité fondée sur l’immatriculation. Cette vision juridique est issue du colonialisme ; le législatif foncier a peu évolué et se retrouve éparpillé dans divers textes qui ne font qu’aggraver le flou foncier juridique et permettent de spolier aisément les détendeurs de droits coutumiers. « Il n’existe pas encore au Mali un document juridique spécifique traitant du foncier Agricole dans sa globalité. Les dispositions y afférentes sont disséminées dans un ensemble de textes législatifs et réglementaires relatifs à la gestion domaniale et foncière, à la gestion des ressources naturelles, notamment forestières, fauniques, hydrauliques et halieutiques, minières et pastorales, ainsi que dans les textes relatifs à la décentralisation » (Moussa Djiré, expert foncier malien). Cet imbroglio de textes législatifs inefficace et pénalisant est résumé par Rochegude « Personne n’était capable de faire un exposé correct de la législation foncière au Mali».

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Language: French

Building strong communities against land and water grabbing : a policy brief by Katosi Women Development Trust (KWDT)

Building strong communities against land and water grabbing : a policy brief by Katosi Women Development Trust (KWDT)

Brief

In fishing communities the contentious acquisition of land close to water bodies is especially relevant. Water grabbing has serious implications for basic human rights including the right to water, food, health, livelihood, and self-determination. Land grabbing is driven by the desire to control and use water and fisheries resources. Globally, Uganda is among the 25 countries most affected by water grabbing. The Katosi Women Development Trust documents effects of land grabbing in four communities in Mpunge sub-county in Mukono district, conducting action research studies in selected fishing communities in Uganda, investigating the drivers of land and water grabbing.

Author(s):

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Language: English

Bottom-up accountability initiatives to claim tenure rights in sub-saharan Africa : country report on South Africa

Bottom-up accountability initiatives to claim tenure rights in sub-saharan Africa : country report on South Africa

Paper

The research project uses the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of land, fisheries and forests (VGGT or Tenure Guidelines) as a tool to assess the impact of various governance frameworks on small scale fishing communities. It uses the Tenure Guidelines to empower communities to protect their rights in the context of promoting food sovereignty. This case illustrates how Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) impact small scale fishers’ tenure rights, and how communities can resist and negotiate the challenges of exclusion. In terms of human rights, small-scale fishers continue to be marginalized.

Author(s): Joshua, Michelle, Isaacs, Moeniba, Dennis, Tracey

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Language: English

Tout ce qui est décidé pour nous mais sans nous, est contre nous : l’application des droits fonciers coutumiers au Mali en s’appuyant sur les directives pour la gouvernance foncière de la FAO

Tout ce qui est décidé pour nous mais sans nous, est contre nous : l’application des droits fonciers coutumiers au Mali en s’appuyant sur les directives pour la gouvernance foncière de la FAO

Documents

Ces dernières années, les communautés sont confrontées de plus en plus aux accaparements de terres tant au niveau urbain et périurbain qu’au niveau rural facilités par la complicité des élites et les dysfonctionnements administratifs, en particulier en « omettant » d’appliquer les droits fonciers coutumiers pourtant reconnu dans le Code Domanial et Foncier (CDF) du Mali. Cette injustice a créé de nombreux conflits fonciers. Ce sont des territoires, des écosystèmes, des identités communautaires, la souveraineté alimentaire voire nationale qui sont menacés. La Convergence Malienne contre les Accaparements de Terres (CMAT), composée de 5 structures d’envergures nationales (AOPP, CAD-MALI, CNOP, LJDH et l’UACDDDD), travaille avec les communautés des villages Fonsira et Dalla pour trouver des solutions concrètes tant sur le terrain qu’au niveau des textes législatifs, en s’appuyant notamment sur les directives des régimes fonciers du CSA de la FAO.

Author(s): Jacovetti, Chantal, Kone, Massa

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Language: French

Why wait for the state? : using the CFS Tenure Guidelines to recalibrate the political-legal terrain in struggles for human rights and democratic control of land, fisheries and forests

Why wait for the state? : using the CFS Tenure Guidelines to recalibrate the political-legal terrain in struggles for human rights and democratic control of land, fisheries and forests

Article

Grassroots organizations do not need to wait for the state to implement Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (Tenure Guidelines or TGs). Rural communities can take governance into their own hands and use TGs as a tool for investigation, reflection and action. The challenge is how to take the next step: under what conditions can TGs provide the rural poor with resources to organize and mobilize? This article provides an overview of new efforts by the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC) to assist in debate and mobilization.

Author(s): Franco, Jennifer, Monsalve Suarez, Sofia

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Language: English

Policy brief by Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria

Policy brief by Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria

Brief

This policy brief serves to aid policy for land management especially in Cross River State, Nigeria. Following incessant conflicts between communities and investors (individuals, companies, multinational etc.) within the rainforest communities in Nigeria, and Cross River state in particular, Environmental Right Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FOEN) conducted a study anchored on bottom-up accountability and governance: securing community tenure rights to land in impacted communities in Betem, Akpet, Idoma and Akamkpa in Cross River State Nigeria. Relevant government agencies need to act on recommendations which include respect for communal land rights, a halt to depreciation, eviction and destruction of rural livelihoods.

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Language: English

Collaborative action research on the rush for land and water in Uganda, Mukono District

Collaborative action research on the rush for land and water in Uganda, Mukono District

Paper

The land in fishing communities is especially susceptible to land grabbing. Findings reveal that lawlessness, ignorance of the law, unlawful evictions and increasing conflicts in fishing and farming communities, all lead to loss of access to land and fishing grounds. This report gives background and context of the research, clarifies the legal and policy framework governing the use of land in Uganda, while providing background on the Mukono district. The research is the first of its kind to offer affected communities a platform to exchange among themselves and reflect on the ongoing land grabbing taking place in in their communities.

Author(s): Nakato, Margaret, Bavuma, Namaganda Rehema, Namugga, Vaal Benjamin

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Language: English

Securing community tenure rights to land in Betem, Akpet, Idoma and Akampa in Cross River State, Nigeria

Securing community tenure rights to land in Betem, Akpet, Idoma and Akampa in Cross River State, Nigeria

Paper

The study focuses on impacts of PZ Wilmar’s acquisition of nearly 30,000 hectares of land. Wilmar is a multinational company involved in land grabbing cases related to oil palm plantations in Cross River State, Nigeria. The study shows the extent of Wilmar’s infringement on communal land rights, examining cases of eviction and destruction of livelihoods. Findings show that the four communities studied suffered from increasing food prices, deficits of local staple foods, evictions and displacement of poor farmers. Severe loss of biodiversity due to pollution and unsustainable environmental practices was observed. Recommendations outline effective community action and advocacy.

Author(s): Uyi Ojo, Godwin, Uwagie-Ero, Adesuwa, Tokunbor, Nosa

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Language: English

Bottom-up accountability initiatives and large scale land acquisition in sub-saharan Africa : project synthesis report

Bottom-up accountability initiatives and large scale land acquisition in sub-saharan Africa : project synthesis report

Study

Undemocratic politics, policy making and law making interpretation and implementation, prove to be drivers of land grabbing in the four country studies presented here. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (CFS/FAO) Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (Tenure Guidelines or TGs), albeit “soft” law, are being used by local communities for bottom-up accountability against land grabbing. Land deals are marked by highly contested political processes – usually between the central state, local communities and the corporate sector. This report summarises findings of research on accountability in Large Scale Land Acquisition (land grabbing) in Africa.

Author(s): Monsalve Suarez, Sofia

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Language: English

Building bottom-up accountability in an era of land grabbing in sub-saharan Africa : policy points and recommendations from Nigeria, Uganda, Mali and South Africa

Building bottom-up accountability in an era of land grabbing in sub-saharan Africa : policy points and recommendations from Nigeria, Uganda, Mali and South Africa

Brief

This policy brief outlines recommendations resulting from a three-year action research programme undertaken by civil society organizations in collaboration with threatened communities of smallholder farmers and fishers. Through participatory action research, local organizations and communities used The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (Tenure Guidelines or TGs) to analyse and assess unjust situations regarding the governance of their land and resources, and to point the way forward in terms of advocacy and democratic land control. Rights advocacy and access to resources must include women and youths.

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Language: English

Toolkit for participatory action research

Toolkit for participatory action research

Paper

This project brings the international soft law instrument, the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of the Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests (Tenure Guidelines or TGs) to rural communities and, together with them, uses the Guidelines to strengthen their tenure of land, fisheries and forests. As well, it provides policy-relevant knowledge on how to promote legitimacy and accountability of public authorities involved in land grabs. The goal of the Toolkit is to help users to produce outputs which are politically relevant and useful. Also provided are some tools and frameworks which can be developed to advance specific Action Research projects.

Author(s): Hall, Ruth, Brent, Zoe, Franco, Jenny, Isaacs, Moenieba, Shegro, Tsegaye

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Language: English

Using the tenure guidelines for action research : a primer

Using the tenure guidelines for action research : a primer

Paper

As part of a collaborative project to strengthen the capacity of grassroots communities in Mali, Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa, this practical guide focuses on accountability and accountability politics in the global rush to grab land, water and other natural resources. Through action research, threatened communities can determine causes, conditions, and consequences that will inform collective action and advocacy, in particular by using the CFS/FAO Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (Tenure Guidelines or TGs). This first international ‘soft law’ instrument focuses on economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) and their application to local governance.

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Language: English