Organisation Internationale de Droit du Développement

Building momentum and partnership at the nexus of land governance, climate and gender

Vendredi, mai 17, 2024
Rome, Italy
17 May 2024

At the World Bank Land Conference in Washington, D.C. this week, IDLO joined participants from across government, civil society, academia and the private sector to explore the theme, “Securing Land Tenure and Access for Climate Action.” IDLO co-organized two thematic sessions during the five-day conference, exploring the links between climate action, women’s land rights, and transparent and inclusive land governance practices.

Working at this nexus of land use and climate change has become an increasingly important focus for IDLO’s programming, research and policy advocacy.

Our regional self-funded project implemented in the East and Horn of Africa, “Improving Governance of Land and Natural Resources,” works to harness IDLO’s expertise in the management and mitigation of land conflict in ways that are directly relevant to climate justice and food security, particularly for rural women and girls.

The project has also helped to spur advocacy from IDLO and its partners in global discussions resulting in the adoption of inclusive land governance practices and climate responsive action.

In October 2022,  IDLO and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), led the organization of the High-Level Regional Conference on Land and Conflict in the East and Horn of Africa in Kampala, Uganda. Convened in partnership with Uganda’s Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development, Open Society Foundations (OSF), Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises (SPARC) and the International Land Coalition (ILC), the event was the first-ever conference in Uganda specifically dedicated to land governance. It gave some 300 participants – including Ministers, senior government officials, chief justices, judges, legal professionals and experts from 17 countries across Africa – space to exchange experiences and best practices. The Kampala Communique,, an outcome document of the conference signed by representatives of the Ministry of Land from different IGAD countries, committed to prioritizing the revision of land policies to secure inclusive land governance practices.


As Chair of the Women’s Land Rights Working Group, IDLO ensured the conference also had a strong gender component, leading the development of one of its four themes, “Realizing Women’s and Girls’ Rights to Land”, and several related sessions.

The Kampala land conference was convened as part of the East Africa Justice Week and held alongside the East Africa Court of Justices Regional Annual Conference and the International Association of Women Judges Regional Africa Conference. The three events were held in parallel to provide a multisectoral platform that would give high-level policymakers an opportunity to exchange country and cross-country policy experiences and lessons learned, with a view to establishing a regional agenda and national policy priorities that comprehensively respond to land conflicts.


Since then, IDLO and its partners have continued on this path. At the November 2023 Conference on Land Policy in Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for example, IDLO partnered with the African Union Commission, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, and the African Development Bank (AfDB) for a masterclass on land governance and the rule of law. Later that month, at the UNFCCC 27thSession of the Conference of Parties (COP27) in Egypt, IDLO held the side event, “Pathways to Justice: A Rule of Law Approach to Climate Mobility.” It emphasized the need for improved governance of land, water and other natural resources, and the empowerment of those most affected by climate change to claim their rights and actively participate in climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives and decision-making. IDLO also joined OSF Africa and IGAD in Nairobi, Kenya to jointly host the side event, “The Role of Rule of Law and Community Land Governance in Advancing Climate Resilience, Justice and Peace” on the margins of the Africa Climate Summit and Africa Climate Week in September 2023.


Realizing women’s equal rights to land and property and promoting the participation of women in land governance is a central pillar of IDLO’s land governance portfolio. We took this message to the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in March 2023, convening a parallel event with the ILC on “Securing Women’s Rights to Land and Natural Resources through Technological Innovation for Economic Justice and Resource Rights.” A few months later, IDLO was selected to organize the session, “Strengthening Women’s Land Rights: A Feminist Pathway Towards Achieving Transformative Climate Action,” with Groots Kenya at the June 2023 LANDac International Conference in Utrecht, the Netherlands. In partnership with the Rights and Resources Initiative, IGAD and the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Feminist Action for Climate Justice, IDLO also organized a concurrent session on “Advancing Feminist Climate Justice through the Rule of Law” at the Women Deliver Conference in July 2023 in Kigali, Rwanda.

What began in Kampala in 2022 has grown into the continued recognition and inclusion of the rule of law as a significant component for effective land governance. This advocacy will continue into critical forums such as the UN Convention to Combat Desertification’s 16th session of the Conference of the Parties and the 2024 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, where we look forward to continuing the discussions around these critical issues.


Highlights of IDLO’s recent programmatic work and knowledge products on land rights

In the Philippines, IDLO, in partnership with Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Climate Change Commission and the Philippine Commission of Women, recently released Advancing Gender Equality in Climate Action: Gender Assessment of Climate and Environmental Laws in the Philippines, a comprehensive mapping of national climate and environmental laws in the country. A similar assessment conducted in Burkina Faso will be released later in 2024. IDLO also offers capacity development and technical support to institutions in both countries on gender-responsive climate laws and policymaking on climate action.

In Rwanda, IDLO is working to enhance land conflict management and dispute resolution mechanisms. These efforts include working with the country’s National Land Authority (NLA) and customary Abunzi committees, which provide local mediation services which have helped more than 3,500 justice seekers resolve disputes and secure land rights. In partnership with Kadaster International and the Ministry of Justice, IDLO also developed a practice manual and guidelines on national legislation governing land boundary disputes, delivered trainings to managers and judges in the land sector, and ran a local radio campaign to raise awareness on land rights.

In Uganda, IDLO works with communities to increase their awareness of land tenure rights and to provide advice on how to claim these rights. This is enabling people – including women and girls, who make up a significant portion of the agricultural sector – to hold institutions accountable and find peaceful pathways to the resolution of land disputes.