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Political Economy of Land and Conflicts


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Presented at the CAPRi International Workshop on Collective Action, Property Rights, and Conflict in Natural Resources Management. June 28th to July 1st, 2010, Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Political Economy of Land and Conflicts

  1. 1.
  2. 2. Political Economy of Land and Conflicts June 28 – July 1, 2010, Siem Reap, Cambodia By Remy Sietchiping CAPRi Workshop on Collective Action, Property Rights, and Conflict in Natural Resources Management
  3. 3. Contents <ul><li>We all know: land and conflicts nexus </li></ul><ul><li>Why securing land rights for all matters </li></ul><ul><li>Continuum of land rights and conflicts </li></ul><ul><li>Gender and conflicts </li></ul><ul><li>Political economy of land conflicts </li></ul>
  4. 4. UN-Habitat: land and conflicts <ul><li>Human settlements programme </li></ul><ul><li>Urban agency (nexus conflicts and cities’ issues) </li></ul><ul><li>Linking Brown and Green agenda </li></ul><ul><li>Land related publications, projects and programme (e.g. Safer Cities) </li></ul><ul><li>Three main units working on land and conflicts: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Land, Tenure and Property Administration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disaster, Post-Conflict </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Urban Governance </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Reminding ourselves <ul><li>Land = Life-livelihoods/wealth/death </li></ul><ul><li>Natural resources are depleting </li></ul><ul><li>Population is growing </li></ul><ul><li>Demand for land and land-based resources is increasing </li></ul><ul><li>Conflicts over land and its resources are on the rise </li></ul><ul><li>Land is multifunctional: social, eco, env, cultural, historical, emotional, and political </li></ul><ul><li>The driver or outcome of conflicts is ultimately about POWER </li></ul>
  6. 6. Examples of Key questions <ul><li>What is the role of power, politics and patronage on land conflicts? </li></ul><ul><li>Are land conflicts mostly about property rights or land tenure systems? </li></ul><ul><li>How important is it to understand the various needs of and demands over land and its resources? </li></ul><ul><li>How can governance of tenure and natural resources play out in conflicts? </li></ul><ul><li>How competing interests over land are resolved? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Gender, land rights and conflicts <ul><li>Women land rights are further eroded during and after conflicts </li></ul><ul><li>Power relationship between men and women are often skewed </li></ul><ul><li>Women & children tend to be at the receiving end and weaker during and after the conflicts </li></ul>
  8. 8. Property or land rights OR
  9. 9. Land rights and property rights <ul><li>Property rights often imply ‘ownership’ </li></ul><ul><li>Tenure may imply relationship and rights ( own, use, access, transfer, etc.) and nest of options </li></ul><ul><li>No piece land (property) for everybody, but land rights for all (the law can led you down); equitable access to nat. resources </li></ul><ul><li>Burundi is overpopulated. Adverse possession law can be an obstacle for returnees, thus fuelling conflicts (e.g. unresolved grievances and equity) How to address original occupants and current occupiers </li></ul>
  10. 10. Reconciling legal and legitimacy <ul><li>Avoid the clash between socially accepted tenure arrangements and practices vs formal property rights </li></ul><ul><li>In Kenya Post-election violence (2007 up to now) caused massive displacements-IDPs. Land policy formulation and the draft constitution are attempting to address these issues </li></ul>
  11. 11. Conflict management: Enumeration approach
  12. 12. Tenure systems: enumeration approach <ul><li>Know your land rights </li></ul><ul><li>Systematic collection of claims (participatory/collective enumeration) </li></ul><ul><li>Enumeration for relocation & resettlement (e.g. Bossaso, Somalia ) </li></ul>e.g . land centre, Ituri DRC
  13. 13. Tenure systems: enumeration approach <ul><li>Claim database: who claims the land? Which parcel of land is claimed? What type of entitlement does he/she claim? Who has access to what resources or not? </li></ul><ul><li>Re/build trust </li></ul>
  14. 14. Skewed land access and armed conflicts <ul><li>How inequitable access to land and natural resources are contributing to conflicts in SAA </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nigeria Delta region over Oil </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bakasi ( Cameroon vs Nigeria ) over oil </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Angola over Diamonds </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Democratic Rep. Congo ‘ natural resources cursed’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Darfur (Sudan) access to water, pasture and transit routes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It is critical to understand rebel groups motives and identify the central of powers </li></ul>
  15. 15. Continuum of rights: not one size fits all
  16. 16. Bridging the divide with Continuum of land rights <ul><li>Recognising that men and women can access land for the range of purposes </li></ul><ul><li>Formal and informal tenure systems can co-exist ( legal pluralism ) </li></ul><ul><li>Legitimate form of tenure arrangements are preferred where governance is weak </li></ul><ul><li>Various property rights and tenure regimes can co-exist in the same space </li></ul><ul><li>Informal not written (un-recorded) does not mean inexistent </li></ul>
  17. 17. Securing land rights not necessary property <ul><li>Land rights also call for responsibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Conflicts also mean displacements, not necessary loss of land rights and resp. </li></ul><ul><li>South Sudan : the length of conflict makes it hard to identify to who the property ‘belongs’ to. E.g. occupation and use rights are methods to prevent further conflicts. </li></ul><ul><li>Somalia : Letter of allotment signed by legitimate representation is the first evidence of rights </li></ul>
  18. 18. Post conflicts and land claims <ul><li>How to address overlapping set of claims? </li></ul>
  19. 19. Examples <ul><ul><li>Map out the existing tenure arrangements ( DRC ) and centre of power </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify various land rights holders </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get local leaders and relevant centres of power involved ( South Sudan ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consider creating mediation centres and alternative/legitimate dispute resolution mechanisms ( DRC ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gradually legitimate and institutionalise the practices ( South Sudan, DRC ) </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Political economy of land and gender <ul><li>Example of simple checklist: Between man and women in post/conflict situation: </li></ul><ul><li>Who is likely to have access to land and its resources? </li></ul><ul><li>Whose rights/land are likely to be secured/safeguarded? </li></ul><ul><li>Who makes decision? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the level of participation in decision making? </li></ul><ul><li>Who enforces agreements? </li></ul><ul><li>Who has access to what institutions (e.g. Conflicts resolution) </li></ul>
  21. 21. Women’s ‘right’ (not) to own, and greater need for use and access <ul><li>Property can be socially constructed and may refer to ownership and stewardship </li></ul><ul><li>In Northern Uganda , conflict has caused over 90% displacement; land resettlement program (driven from ownership) does not include women as they do not have the right to ‘own’. </li></ul><ul><li>Ethiopian certification program has reduced conflicts in cases where the name of men and women are on the Certificate </li></ul>
  22. 22. Political economy of land <ul><li>‘ process by which decisions are made regarding the access to, and use of, land, the manner in which those decisions are implemented and the way that conflicting interests in land are reconciled ’ FAO, 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Some pointers </li></ul><ul><li>Who is benefiting/losing from the decisions and the conflicts? [ Whose land is this anyway? ] </li></ul><ul><li>How ‘equitable’ these benefits and loses distributed? </li></ul><ul><li>How land conflicts generate new centres of power and how they can be managed? </li></ul><ul><li>How political and economic patronage plays out in pre/post- conflicts? (e.g. concessions)? </li></ul><ul><li>How various interests over land managed? </li></ul>
  23. 23. Political economy in practice <ul><li>When a community group is disfranchised , one can draw from ‘ genuine’ grievances , and link to political and economic elites (internal or external), the governance is ‘weak ’, the situation is ripped for conflicts (e.g. Delta region-Nigeria , Southern Sudan, Cabinda-Angola ) </li></ul><ul><li>Relying on legitimate means of resolving conflict can pay dividends (e.g. Customary tenured based mediation in Uganda, written consensus on local rules in Niger ) </li></ul>
  24. 24. Political economy of land and Poverty <ul><li>73% of the bottom billion have been or are in conflicts (Collier, 2007). </li></ul><ul><li>(Equitable) economic growth reduces incidences of land and natural conflicts (e.g. Sub-Saharan countries) </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid nepotism, patronage, poor governance, all can contribute in preventing conflicts and minimise their recurrence </li></ul>
  25. 25. Political economy and institutions <ul><li>Need for trusted, reliable and legitimate instruments, leaders, powers, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Decentralised land administration for dispute resolution has been found effective: community-based adjudication, local land tribunal, local land boards, (e.g. Rwanda , Namibia , Kenya ). </li></ul><ul><li>Legitimate institutions could be formal, customary, religious, etc. (e.g. Gacaca courts in Rwanda handle land disputes) </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>Securing land rights for all is GOOD for conflict prevention and management </li></ul><ul><li>Understand and map out shifting centres of power and various interest groups </li></ul><ul><li>Gender and land rights (access and use) are important </li></ul><ul><li>Socially and legitimate mechanisms are worthwhile </li></ul><ul><li>Political economy is critical especially where poverty, weak governance and injustice prevail </li></ul>Wrapping up (5 points)
  27. 27. Know more (UN-Habitat references)? <ul><li>2007: A Post-Conflict Land Administration and Peace-Building Handbook: Volume 1 –Countries with Land Records. </li></ul><ul><li>2008: Secure land rights for all </li></ul><ul><li>2009: Quick-Guide to Post-Conflict Land Issues, </li></ul><ul><li>2010: Count me in: Surveying for tenure security and urban management. </li></ul><ul><li>Also available here: </li></ul><ul><li> or </li></ul>