Partners Event on coordinating a Covid-19 response while monitoring the effect on governance of tenure and determining how to build back better
The spread of COVID-19 in South Africa and other countries in the region has again brought to the fore the fact that very dense, under-serviced, mostly informal, settlements are not healthy places to live. They are also places where the spread of a disease is difficult to prevent or manage.
Land is an essential source of livelihood for a majority of Sierra Leoneans. Most of Sierra Leone’s population lives in rural areas and it’s GDP is largely based on agriculture. The three main livelihood activities surveyed in the 2015 population and housing census are crop farming, animal husbandry and fishery, which depend largely on access to and ownership of land. Smallholders mostly cultivate rice, cassava, cocoa, coffee, cashew, groundnut, palm oil, vegetables and other fruit trees.
Despite the achievement of Constitutional democracy in 1994, 'the land question' is at the heart of South Africa's struggles to overcome the cumulative legacies of nearly 350 years of white minority rule. The emotive quality of land policies evokes painful legacies fuelled by disappointments with the official land reform programme ushered in by the new Constitution of 1996. There is broad agreement that land reform programmes have not fulfilled their aims to significantly redistribute land and productive agrarian capacity, strengthen land tenure for the majority, and settle the restitution claims of victims of land dispossession.
Climate change can destabilize existing land and resource governance institutions and associated property rights across the spectrum of landscape types. Transformed climatic conditions, manifested in either rapid-onset or slow-onset ways, can change how land and natural resources are accessed and used as geographical shifts in resource productivity, resource scarcity, and therefore land use patterns occur.
With secure land tenure, Indigenous Peoples and local communities can realize human rights, achieve economic growth, protect the environment, and maintain cultural integrity. For centuries, Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) have used, managed and depended on collectively-held land for food supplies, cultural and spiritual traditions, and other livelihood needs. Historically governed through customary tenure systems rooted in community norms and practices that often go back centuries, governments often consider such community land as vacant, idle, or state-owned property. Statutory recognition and protection of indigenous and community land rights continues to be a major challenge.