Organisation Internationale de Droit du Développement


Conference Themes
1. Prioritizing and promoting responsible, conflict-sensitive and inclusive land and natural resource governance and improving access to justice for all:

Rule of law and access to justice are essential to achieving good governance, peace and sustainable development. A rule of law-based approach to land governance can enable concerted action at regional and national levels and empower communities and vulnerable groups affected by land conflict to claim their rights (through both formal and informal justice mechanisms) and to participate effectively in the recognition, formalization and management of land rights. This includes sharing of best practices on:

  • Aligning local, national and regional policies with the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure for Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGTs) at all levels – from legal assessment and lawmaking, through implementation of legislation to settlement of disputes. And strengthening the implementation of these VGGTs in the context of managing land conflicts at regional level and beyond.
  • Improving the governance of tenure through concerted efforts from a broad range of stakeholders.
  • Resolving land conflict in settings characterized by legal pluralism, competing normative frameworks, institutional multiplicity and forum shopping, and ending impunity for land rights violations against customary land holders by individuals, corporations and states.
  • Addressing the weak tenure of customary land rights that suffer from both limited recognition and enforcement in the statutory system and weak/non-existent traditional dispute resolution mechanisms.
  • Protecting and strengthening the land tenure of vulnerable groups, such as indigenous peoples and pastoralists, through awareness-raising and sensitization, including for public authorities and judges that implement restitution, compensation and durable solutions to displacement and dispossession.
2. Making the link between the fair and sustainable allocation and use land and natural resources and peace and security in the Horn of Africa:

In fragile contexts, the immediate impact of climate change on precipitation and temperatures, combined with political and social tensions, exacerbates competition over scarce natural resources. Without effective dispute resolution mechanisms, both formal and customary, and given the existence of weak land rights and land governance systems, this competition over natural resources can escalate into violent conflict. The Conference is a chance for partners to analyse the interrelation between land, peace and security and to share global experiences in:

  • Unlocking potential in the East and Horn of Africa by addressing intra and inter-community land conflicts triggered by the competition between agricultural and pastoral communities, divisive politics, as well as encroachment and appropriation of common, state or public land through secure land tenure and improved access to land justice.
  • Identifying and supporting customary and formal institutions that have a proven track record in improving relationships between groups in land-related conflicts, and which uphold the land rights of women, youth and minority groups.
  • Mapping, documenting, registering and planning pastoralists’ land in the IGAD region for sustainable peace, security, productivity and resilience.
  • Reducing economic vulnerability during crises, such as droughts, through programmes that assist pastoralists with capital to help reduce land-related conflict.
  • Shifting the power dynamics to the grassroots level through capacity development of relevant agencies at the district level to govern and support pastoralism, and other modes of agricultural production, thus decreasing the prevalence of land-induced conflict.
  • Identifying and promoting cross-border commonalities, resource sharing and inclusive governance,and supporting cross-border communities and local governments.
  • Involving land users, including women, youth, farmers and pastoralists, in land decisions to ensure fairness and justice.
  • Promoting multi-stakeholder land use planning at all levels to resolve land use conflicts and to build relations and a common vision, and to better prepare for the impacts of climate change
  • Protecting communities and vulnerable populations from land grabbing by promoting the business and human rights agenda, fostering corporate social responsibility, ensuring the protection of defenders and advocates, and fighting against corruption in land administration.
3. Securing local land rights to support climate change adaptation and sustainable food systems:

Land is under increasing pressure from climate change, along with competing uses, including urban expansion, extractive activities, agricultural expansion and infrastructure development, which are reducing forest cover, causing land degradation, affecting agricultural productivity and leading to increased levels of food insecurity. Sustainable land management practices integrating ecosystem restoration and rehabilitation are needed to reconcile these diverse uses and ensure that environmental, as well as social development goals are achieved. Investments in development, peace, food security, nutrition and climate resilience – in the absence of land justice and conflict sensitive land governance – is a recipe for failure. Secure land rights are key for conflict-free investments in land and natural resources and empower communities to embrace climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. The Conference will explore the chain of causation between climate change, land/natural resource scarcity, and food security and share experiences in:

  • Gauging the impact of weak tenure rights on food security and nutrition by focusing on the effects of tenure security on agricultural development programs, the linkages between land tenure, conflict and food production, and promoting access to food and livelihood strategies.
  • Building institutional preparedness for managing the impact of climate change on conflict by relying on data and research on the climate change/conflict nexus to identify broad, inclusive and actionable policy and institutional capacity reform areas for land governance institutions.
  • Improving land governance for food system transformation through the implementation of land reforms, which can strengthen land administrations, improve land use planning, discontinue unsustainable land use practices, prevent environmental degradation, contribute to rural incomes and promote climate change mitigation and adaption.
  • Promoting participatory and inclusive land use planning and management processes, which can strengthen the communities’ resilience to climate change.
4. Realizing women’s and girls’ rights to land:

Women account for 70 per cent of family farming in Africa, but less than 20 per cent of women have full access to agricultural land. Women’s rights to land, property and gender equity are essential human rights, yet these tend to stay at the planning and policy levels and are rarely implemented. A rule of law approach to securing women’s land rights includes:

  • Understanding and removing the barriers to land ownership by women, and recognizing their exposure to the effects of climate change and the critical role of women, especially indigenous women, in the management of natural resources.
  • Strengthening access to justice through human rights-compliant customary and informal justice mechanisms, gender-sensitive succession laws, legal awareness, qualified legal assistance and representation, women’s leadership and women’s economic empowerment.
  • Raising women’s awareness and understanding of land and legal processes, and securing their land rights so that they are better able to claim them and engage in land related processes.
  • Promoting women’s role in land use management in the aftermath of conflict and the criticality of their equal involvement in peace negotiations and conflict resolution.


Along with exploring these themes in greater detail, the High-Level Conference is a key component of the broader East Africa Justice Week, taking place in Kampala 24-28 October, which will continue to probe the themes of land, conflict, gender equality and climate justice, including through the National Association of Women’s Judges of Uganda’s Biannual Meeting of African Women Judges; the Launch of Assessment Report by IDLO and FAO on Food Security; and the East African Court of Justice’s Annual Symposium of East African Chief Justices.