....when investors and government seek community land
Following the publication of "The Challenge of Protecting Community Land Rights: An Investigation into Community Responses to Requests for Land and Resources" by NAMATI, this webinar introduceed the complexities of how best to support communities to authentically decide whether or not they will share their lands with government agencies, international investors, and national elites. It identified the ways in which powerful actors fail to get genuine FPIC, and explored strategies to ensure against bad faith land claims by those with power, money, and access to state force.
- The power and information asymmetries that communities face when approached by investors and government officials seeking land.
- What often happens when communities try to demand that their rights are respected, with case study examples.
- Actions that local, national and global actors might take to address these challenges, including specific strategies to support communities to either reject unwanted land requests or negotiate fair deals with potential investors that lead to authentic community prosperity.
Watch the recording below or on the ILC Youtube channel here
Ali Kaba - a field researcher, policy analyst and Program Coordinator at the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI). He has interests in customary land governance, rural youth migration, natural resource management, and sustainable development. Ali has over ten years of experience working largely on customary land formalization in Sub-Saharan Africa, primarily Liberia and Nigeria.
Nelson Alfredo - a lawyer, social activist for the promotion and defense of the rights of communities over land and other natural resources, for over 10 years. He is working with the Centro Terra Viva, Mozambique
Theresa Auma Eilu - a Social Worker. She worked with Land and Equity Movement in Uganda (LEMU) as director of programs, she was dedicated to Community Land Protection work for 8 years. She is currently in the final stages of her PhD in Social Sciences at Makerere University.
Rachael Knight - a land rights lawyer with expertise in community land protection and good governance. She founded Namati’s Community Land Protection Program, then served as its director from 2012-17 and as its senior advisor from 2018-19. In this capacity, together with land rights advocates across Africa, she co-created an integrated model of community land protection that is now practiced around the world. Previously, she was director of the International Development Law Organization’s Community Land Titling Initiative, and has worked as a consultant for FAO from 2004 until the present; in this capacity she wrote “Statutory recognition of customary land rights in Africa: an investigation into best practices for law-making and implementation.” She has also written various books and guides for community land protection advocates and activists.
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The findings of the research suggest that community land documentation and legal empowerment efforts are not sufficient to balance the significant power and information asymmetries inherent in interactions between rural communities and investors backed by (feared) government officials.
WHAT CAN GRASSROOTS ADVOCATES DO?
- Increase the amount of time spent training communities about how to respond to external requests for their lands.
- Increase the amount of time/energy allocated to drafting by-laws on what to do when facing external requests for use of lands and resources.
- Support the community to works towards its “future vision,” then help the community to use its lands to prosper on its own terms; if land is protected but empty/unused, it is easier to grab/give away.
- Ensure that communities have an advocate’s phone number to call or text for immediate help and advice.
- Empower community youth, who have less fear of speaking out.
- Connect communities to share successful strategies, take coordinated action: against one investor, or against a sector.
WHAT CAN GLOBAL GLOBAL POLICYMAKERS, ADVOCATES, FOUNDATIONS, MULTI-LATERAL AND BI-LATERAL AGENCIES, AND THE MEDIA DO?
- Establish national hotlines for immediate legal advice and support.
- Create a cadre of pro bono lawyers, paralegals and advocates.
- Provide intensive training for government officials at every level of government.
- Fund and empower national/global media to bring such stories to light.
- Pass national laws that require national investors to follow international best practices when acquiring land for tourism, mining, logging and agribusiness.
- Further sensitize investors to the negative financial impacts of failure to ensure authentic FPIC.
Learn more from the presentation of the research