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By Anna Wellenstein and Victoria Stanley
Gender equality is central to ongoing global efforts to reduce extreme poverty and improve livelihoods for all. An important part of gender equality is ensuring women’s equal access to – and secure rights to – land and properties.
Strengthening women’s land tenure security improves their rights and their dignity. Importantly, improving women’s access to and control over economic resources also has a positive effect on a range of development goals, including poverty reduction and economic growth.
What do we know about women’s land rights globally?
Although gains have been made to increase legal protections for women to use, manage, own and inherit land, in practice, women often aren’t able to realize their rights to the land on which they live, work and depend for survival.
In a video blog marking the International Day of Rural Women, World Bank Director of Strategy and Operations, Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilience Global Practice Anna Wellenstein and Senior Land Administration Specialist Victoria Stanley discuss three “headlines” one may encounter on women and land:
- Globally, there is an understanding that reducing poverty requires secure land tenure, and that women’s share in that is important.
- Researchers and policymakers don’t have enough gender-disaggregated data at the country level to understand the true scope of the challenge of women’s land rights, but efforts are underway to collect more data and gain a better understanding.
- There are strong pilots and initiatives of women themselves to gain equal access to land and improve tenure security, but now these efforts need to go to scale.
To drive broader development impact and affect lasting change, the World Bank joins global and regional partners – Landesa, Global Land Tool Network (GLTN), UN-Habitat, Habitat for Humanity, and the Huairou Commission – and local women and communities in preparing an advocacy campaign that aims to close the gap between law and practice on women’s land rights.
For more visit: blog series.
The Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development<http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/home/> and the Mekong Land Research Forum<http://www.mekonglandforum.org/> will run a week-long intensive summer school on land research in the Mekong Region. Applications are welcome from early-career academics, government staff and those working with civil society organizations. The purpose of the summer school is to equip participants with a research orientation relevant to the challenges of land governance in the Mekong Region. A good working knowledge of the English language is required.
SCHOLARSHIPS are available for participants from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, covering travel and accommodation support. Participants from elsewhere (including Thailand and China) will need to fund their own travel and accommodation costs, but all tuition and meal costs will be provided without charge.
• Summer school description, including provisional timetable: 2019 Mekong Land Governance summer school description
• Details of information meetings around the region, to learn more from previous participants: Summer school 2019 – information meetings
The summer school Facebook page can be found here:
In October 2016, women farmers from 22 countries across Africa climbed the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro to claim women’s rights for access to and control over land and natural resources. This event coincided with the launch of a campaign of the African Land Policy Centre (ALPC) to reach the target of having 30 percent of all registered land in the name of women by 2025 and to embed women’s land rights into the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In line with these initiatives, there has been increased attention for women’s land rights by grassroots movements, local governments, civil society organisations, academics, and international organisations. Nonetheless, despite progressive policies, legal frameworks, and strong civil society engagement in many countries, there is still a lot to be done to feel a real impact on the ground. This webinar featured experiences from several grassroots initiatives and highlighted how they fight for women’s improved access to and control over land and other natural resources and to scale up women’s land rights.
The webinar was co-hosted by Acção Académica Para O Desenvolvimento Das Comunidades Rurai (ADECRU) (Mozambique), Action Aid, Both ENDS, ENDA Pronat (Senegal), Fórum Mulher (Mozambique), GROOTS Kenya, LANDac, the Land Portal Foundation and OXFAM International.
Download the report here: Realizing Women’s Land Rights Report
We are pleased to invite you to the dialogue on reaching complete market transformation to sustainable palm oil in 2020.
Taking place on Friday 14 June 2019, at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht, this dialogue will debate how we can reach our 2020 target and formulate a Framework for Action through interactive discussion.
During the day, the European Palm Oil Alliance (EPOA), Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative will also each give updates on recent developments. The Amsterdam Declaration Partnership will give a briefing on their progress as well. Specifically, this day is developed for networking amongst our shared stakeholders. Be prepared for a lively debate!
The draft program is available here. Registration is free but space is limited, please register here before May 20 to avoid disappointment. Cancellations after 10 June will be subject to an automated charge of 50 euros for catering expenses.
For more information, please contact RSPO Europe: email@example.com
A bottom-up perspective on environmental conservation and local development in Costa Rica.
Country: Costa Rica
OSA PENINSULA, COSTA RICA. In the existing contrast between environmental conservation and local development, local people are often not taken into account. However, The conciliation between these two lies upon the local people.
Living off the forest
Eulalio is waiting for me at the beginning of the path. He greets me with a smile as white and broad as his hat. We ride horseback for over an hour up in the primary rainforest; it’s still very early in the morning and the wildlife of the most biologically intense place on Earth surrounds us.
Suddenly the rainforest turns into grassland: 60 hectares clear-cut with chainsaw and fire. This area was way wider when in 1965 Eulalio’s family obtained rights to possess no-one’s land through deforestation and created their ranch. Now the whole area belongs to the Golfo Dulce Forest Reserve (RFGD), a buffer protected area that surrounds the Corcovado National Park. Eulalio and his family live out of farming: rice, beans, cattle and few pigs. However, his livelihood has been notably affected by the Reserve’s regulation. «I cannot use my land the way I need it – he sighs – I left some area back to the forest, because it is not worth to work it anymore, but they [the Ministry of the Environment] pay me peanuts as compensation for forested land».
In the RFGD only a restricted range of extractive activities is allowed, limiting to a great extent economic possibilities; «If I leave any fallow land, I am not allowed to farm it anymore because they consider it as reforesting land. This way I have to keep it clear all the time and the soil loses nutrients and harvest is poor».
Many stories resemble Eulalio’s one. Traditional livelihoods in the Osa are based on natural resources exploitation, but they have been limited by environmental conservation. Those who possess land can play the card of (low)Payment for Environmental Services; those who do not have land or a land title often just bypass the law and base their livelihood on illegality.
Conservation VS development
Since the ‘70s, when protected areas was created in the Osa, local people have been displaced and/or limited in their economic activities. All this is happening in an area that has been traditionally affected by one of the lowest development levels in the country, namely for lack of economic opportunities, employment and public services. In its latest report, the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy classifies the Peninsula’s development index among the last quintile and shows a clear relation among protected areas and low development index. Is it then really impossible to reconcile environmental conservation and local development? Many attempts have been made in this direction, but the results have been alternate and the population often has not been actively involved.
Still, human activities are considered the main threat to the Peninsula’s biodiversity richness: urbanistic and touristic expansion go on runaway, forested areas are cut and cleared with fire to make space for monocultures namely oil palm. Animals are hunted illegally and gold mining activity is perpetrated within protected areas.
If it is certain that economic development entails trade-offs to environmental conservation, it is also true that lack of any economic alternative leads to illegal and unsustainable extractive activities.
Also, while environmental conservation in the Osa seems to be rooted both in governmental institutions and NGOs, this doesn’t seem to be the case of local development.
“Of course protecting Nature is important! But they get their pay check at the end of the month, while we are left with nothing”
Cut and burnt forest
Yield from oil plantation
Get to know the author:
After graduating in the Master in Sustainable Development/ID track Alice swung between her IDS studies and the belief that we should not only focus on developing countries but also on marginal areas of so-called developed ones. She just came back from one year in Northern Tanzania where she worked as project officer on a project focused on enhancing resilience of Maasai communities.
Click here for other IDS alumni blogs and experiences.
Looking into the Crystal Ball: Anticipating and Influencing Change in Asian Deltas
Prof Veena Srinivasan has been appointed as the holder of the Prince Claus Chair in Development and Equity 2018-2020 at Utrecht University. On 7 May she will deliver her inaugural lecture, entitled: ‘Looking into the crystal ball: Anticipating and influencing change in Asian deltas’.
Srinivasan has been appointed to the Chair for her research into sustainable and inclusive food production in Asian delta regions. She is keen not only to contribute to delta and food research being conducted in Utrecht, but also to play a role in intensifying collaborations between Dutch and Indian institutions. She will engage in comparative research across delta regions within India (Ganges and Cauvery) and across Asia (Mekong and Indonesia).
Date: 7th May 2019, 16:15 – 18:15.
For more information, click here.
Statement by Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights on his visit to Lao PDR, 18-28 March 2019 Vientiane, 28 March 2019
On paper, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic has made great progress in poverty reduction over recent decades. And after more than twenty years of striving to graduate from “least developed country” (LDC) status, and maintaining GDP growth above 6.5 percent since 2005,1 the country is set to graduate in 2024.2 This impressive growth has been achieved in large part through encouraging foreign investment, particularly in mining, hydropower, and agriculture. However, behind this apparent success story lies a more complicated and problematic reality. Unlike in many countries, Lao PDR’s rapid economic growth has not led to a commensurate reduction in poverty. The Government’s single-minded focus on large infrastructure projects (such as dams and railways), land acquisition, resource extraction, and foreign investment has created all too few jobs for Lao people, generated very large debt repayment obligations, and disproportionately benefited wealthy elites. Those living in poverty, ethnic minorities, and people in rural areas have seen very few of the benefits of the economic boom.
Continue to read his end of mission statement here: End of Mission Statement
In conflict situations, many people are displaced because of hostility and arms in the area. Displaced people are forced to leave behind their properties, and this in turn interrupts the relationship between people and their land. The emergency period in particular has been identified as a weak point in the humanitarian response to land issues in post-conflict situations. In addition, during this period of response, most post-conflict governments do not prioritize land administration as an emergency issue due to other social, economic, security, and political challenges, which countries face in the immediate aftermath of the conflict. In the longer run, this results in post-conflict illegal land occupation, secondary occupation, numerous disputes and claims over land, and dysfunctional government institutions that legalize these illegal and secondary occupations. This research explores the nexus between displacement and land administration in a post-conflict context. It uses empirical data from fieldwork in Rwanda, and discusses how government interventions in land administration in emergency and early recovery periods of post-conflict situations affect future land administration during the reconstruction phase. The post-conflict Rwandan government envisaged proper land administration as a contributor to sustainable peace and security as it enhances social equity and prevents conflicts. Thus, it embarked on a nationwide systematic land registration program to register land all over the country with the aim of easing land administration practices and reducing successive land-related claims and disputes. However, the program faced many challenges, among which were continuous land claims and disputes. Our research anticipates these continued land claims and disputes are due to how land issues were handled in the emergency and early recovery period of the post-conflict Rwanda, especially during land sharing initiatives and Imidugudu (collective settlement policy).
We consider the different types of rent-seeking practices in emerging oil economies, and discuss how they contribute to social conflict and a local resource curse in the Albertine Graben region of Uganda. The rent-seeking activities have contributed to speculative behavior, competition for limited social services, land grabbing, land scarcity, land fragmentation, food insecurity, corruption, and ethnic polarization. Local people have interpreted the experience of the consequent social impacts as a local resource curse. The impacts have led to social conflicts among the affected communities. Our research used a range of methods, including 40 in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, participant observation, and document analysis. We argue there is an urgent need by all stakeholders—including local and central governments, oil companies, local communities, and civil society organizations—to address the challenges before the construction of oil infrastructure. Stakeholders must work hard to create the conditions that are needed to avoid the resource curse; otherwise, Uganda could end up suffering from the Dutch Disease and Nigerian Disease, as has befallen other African countries.