In many African countries, the majority of land is under customary tenure: the rights, rules and responsibilities to possess, occupy and use it are based on community customs. But customary-held land rarely enjoys adequate protection under national laws; any legal mechanisms to uphold land rights may be easily circumvented. With land-based investments expanding rapidly in Africa in recent years, scarce resources are coming under pressure. Conflicts erupt between competing land users. Communities find themselves dispossessed.
Strengthening the legal framework for customary land-rights holders is crucial for their legal recognition and protection. IDLO works to elevate the land rights of communities in Africa and empower customary rights holders to protect their land.
For more information, see IDLO's publication Protecting. Community Lands and Resources. Evidence from Liberia, Mozambique and Uganda.
Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia are rich in forests, land and minerals, but have struggled to derive development benefits from these natural resources. Although land use investments can activate economic, social and environmental progress (such as local employment creation, wealth generation and infrastructure establishment), positive development outcomes are not automatic.
On Wednesday, IDLO Director-General Irene Khan met with the Minister of Justice of Mozambique, Benvinda Levi, and the Ambassador of Mozambique, Carla Elisa Mucavi, at IDLO’s offices in Rome.
The Conference of the UN’s food agency, FAO, is taking place this week, against a backdrop of mixed news. Dozens of countries have halved the number of their citizens going hungry, meeting a key component of the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) three years before the target date of 2015. The other component, extreme poverty eradication, is also making great strides.