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Good Governance Africa: Call for Paper Proposals

Good Governance Africa (GGA) invites interested participants to submit a paper proposal in the form of an abstract of up to 500 words. Selected papers will be published in the second edition of GGA’s Rights to Land book.

The first edition of the book examined land restitution procedure in South Africa’s post-apartheid era (William Beinart, Peter Delius and Michelle Hay, 2017). The second volume of the book aims to consider the phenomenon of land ownership, tenure and restitution in Africa. It proposes to highlight the successes and
challenges African countries have faced with their land restitution policies and identify the factors influencing the procedures of land tenure and land reform on the continent. This
includes, but is not limited to, legal frameworks, customary land tenure and the land rights of women, and land restitution mechanisms, which are reducing poverty and securing sustainable livelihoods. Given the differing historical backgrounds of many African countries, the book also intends to consider the current trajectory of land reform and restitution in postcolonial contexts.

For more information, click here.

GUATEMALA BLOG #8 (no) land governance and deforestation in Guatemala

Sometimes, an image says more than any numbers. Who needs tables and graphs on the pace of deforestation the Petén department in Northern Guatemala? –  when it is clear from the two satellite pictures below how fast this is happening and what the differences are with its neighbouring country on the East, i.e. Belize.

Source: About the Dispute. Government of Belize (2018):  http://belizereferendum.gov.bz/dispute/about

In the right half of the illustration, one does not even need to draw the border line (that is not very well visible anyway) to see where Guatemala ends and Belize begins, or vice versa. The photographs are a perfect visualisation of the failure and (near-) absence of land governance mechanisms in Guatemala (see instalment #7 of this blog), with uncontrolled tree loss as a result. What you see above is caused by two factors: the demand for (fire-)wood in Guatemala, and changes in land use in Petén, i.e. the replacement of trees by agriculture and cattle breeding. Obviously, both mechanisms reinforce each other.

It is a familiar image along the roads in rural Guatemala: people carrying a heavy bundle of wood on their shoulders. Either they will sell it to their fellow-villagers, or they will use it for their own household needs; many people do not have access to any other fuel for their cooking and heating.  This phenomenon accounts for the lion’s share of timber demand in Guatemala, and in the absence of any controls, timber is transported from the sparsely populated North to the cities in the South massively and illegally: it is estimated that only 2,5% of all timber extraction in Guatemala is formally authorised.[1] 

But trees are also cut or burned in order to prepare the land for other activities. Two separate processes occur. One is spontaneous agricultural colonisation: smallholders with no or little access to land turn to the primeval forests in Petén, slash and burn a few hectares and start to work the land. The other process entails large portions of forest being turned into pastureland for extensive cattle breeding, often as a cover for clandestine drug trafficking operations: the Petén is comparatively flat and therefore an ideal place for airstrips that accommodate small planes. It is estimated that in the Laguna del Tigre national park alone, in 2017 there were some 65 illegal airstrips.[2] One can only guess at the figure for Petén as a whole. The authorities are ill-equipped to do much about it, or indifferent.

So much for the bad news. On a brighter note, and speaking of parks, most of Petén is a sort of protected area: the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR). Within this reserve, the sections that are under a regime of community forestry are doing best, as this 2018 map by the Rainforest Alliance shows. Thanks to concessions for sustainable marketing of timber and non-timber products, deforestation has been strongly reduced and incomes of community members have increased.[3] The work of the regional community forestry association ACOFOP, that represents 24 local organizations of agroforestry producers and sustainable management of natural resources,  was key in the consolidation of this effort, offering an alternative to the ‘fortress conservationist[4]’ set-up of the MBR.

Another promising experience is the PINPEP program of the National Forestry Institute (INAB), with incentives for farmers to use part of their land for forestry, for both conservation and production purposes. Over the past 12 years, about 127,000 hectares have been covered by this program, with 35,000 beneficiary families.[5] It is of particular interest to note that the most important incentive is security of tenure for the participating producers: with proof of participation in PINPEP, a producer can get a land title from his or her local government.

So, despite all the problems and setbacks that I have signalled in both this instalment and previous ones, there are glimmers of hope for land governance and tenure security in Guatemala. And it is on this positive note that I say goodbye: a few weeks ago, I have left the country and my blog ends here.  However, and with some pride, I can refer you to another recent text of mine on land governance in Guatemala. It won the third prize in the Land Portal’s Data Stories Contest and you can read it here.


[1] O. Monterroso, G. López y J. Gálvez (2012): Análisis sistémico de la deforestación en Guatemala y propuesta de políticas para revertirla. Guatemala, Universidad Rafael Landívar, serie técnica No. 38.

[2] S. Escalón: A new secret runway found in Laguna del Tigre National Park in Guatemala. Mongabay, 18 May 2017 (https://news.mongabay.com/2017/05/a-new-secret-runway-found-in-laguna-del-tigre-national-park-in-guatemala/)

[3] Community: The Secret to Stopping Deforestation in Guatemala. Rainforest Alliance, August 2018 (https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/articles/community-the-secret-to-stopping-deforestation-in-guatemala)

[4] = without any human presence.

[5] http://www.sifgua.org.gt/Pinpep.aspx

Group Manager Human Settlements Research Group (IIED)

IIED is a policy and action research organisation. They promote sustainable development to improve livelihoods and protect the environments on which these livelihoods are built. They specialise in linking local priorities to global challenges. IIED is based in London and works in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific, with some of the world’s most vulnerable people. They work with them to strengthen their voice in the decision-making aren as that affect them —from village councils to international conventions.

The role is based in the Human Settlements Group at IIED, which has worked on urban environmental and poverty issues since the 1970s. The group aims to support more equitable and sustainable development in urban centres in low-and middle-income countries. Their poverty focus is vital and informs everything we do because people on very low incomes, living in slums or squatter settlements, are the most vulnerable to environmental challenges. Their work has always been developed with partners, ensuring that it is rooted in the concerns of urban residents and practitioners, while contributing significantly to global research and policy debates.

Main responsibilities of the Group Manager

This is a critical role to ensure the effective operation of one of IIED’s four Research Groups. Working closely with research and coordination colleagues, the post holder will support the development and implementation of strategic goals, manage staff and consultants, and facilitate the effective functioning of the Group. The role of Group Manager at HSG is astrategic and evolving management role. While there will be a strong focus onresearchproject management at the start, we expect that as the group continues to grow, the Group manager position will evolve into a key leadership and management role, focusing on coordinating and growing the group.

For more information, take a look here.
Deadline for application: 31st July 2019

Invitation to submit to a special issue publication on “Land, Women, Youths, and Land Tools or Methods”

Developing the tools or methods for securing land rights for all, especially for the youth and women, is a primary objective of responsible land management and land administration. Understanding the challenges women and youths face (and possible ways of resolving these challenges) in their quest to access, use and secure land resources, is vital for knowledge building for achieving tenure security for all. However, a broad knowledge gap exists on the land–women–youth–policy nexus of land management study and practice.

All stakeholders in the global land sector are invited to disseminate their research and practical experiences to the Special Issue entitled “LAND, WOMEN, YOUTHS, AND LAND TOOLS OR METHODS” to the journal, LAND.

Dr Uchendu Eugene Chigbu, of the Technical University of Munich and Co-chair of the International Training and Research Cluster of the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN), is the Guest Editor of this Special Issue. The Special Issue hopes to build a knowledge base of researches that present emerging land tools or methods that can improve the understanding of land-women-youth-policy relationships. For details on the Special Issue and procedures for submitting articles to this Issue, please visit the official webpage of the journal, LAND, at https://www.mdpi.com/journal/land/special_issues/land_women

Call for research fellowships on land and gender for young researchers in the NELGA network.

NELGA’s research fellowship programme aims to support junior researchers in conducting a specific research projector field study at a NELGA partner institution and encourage them to pursue successful scientific careers. The invitation is targeted at staff members or students of NELGA partner institutions with a background in land governance or gender studies.

For more information download the flyers bellow:

For further questions please contact:

Ms Jana Bömer, boemer@daad.de

Ms Luisa Prior, luisa.prior@giz.de

Three things to know about women’s land rights today

This blog originally appeared on World Bank and on Stand4herland

By Anna Wellenstein and Victoria Stanley

Watch the video here

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:

  1. Globally, there is an understanding that reducing poverty requires secure land tenure, and that women’s share in that is important.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

SUMMER SCHOOL ON RESEARCHING LAND GOVERNANCE AND LAND RELATIONS IN THE MEKONG REGION

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:

https://www.facebook.com/Summer-School-on-Mekong-Land-Relations-1680911415514382/

Realizing women’s land rights in Africa and Beyond – A Webinar Report

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

Sustainable Palm Oil Dialogue – Europe

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: info.eu@rspo.org