The 5th UK Land Forum meeting discussed approaches and tools, and practical experience in legal empowerment. It also provided updates on recent activities of Forum members, including DFID.
The purpose of the Forum was to provide a focus for debate, information and lesson sharing amongst UK stakeholders to inform DFID and wider UK policy and programming for strengthening of land governance and land rights protection.
Growing efforts are being made to promote legal empowerment in the context of transnational agribusiness investments. Several LEGEND partners are key players in this space. Examples of relevant initiatives include Namati’s community land rights programme, CCSI’s small grants scheme for contract scrutiny, Landesa’s private sector engagement, and IIED’s own longstanding Legal Tools for Citizen Empowerment work.
This growing body of practice provides an opportunity for reflecting:
- on how to design and implement legal empowerment interventions in situations where, because of the transnational relations at stake, grassroots-level delivery of legal services may need to be complemented by action at national and international levels (e.g. to support public scrutiny of contracts); and
- on best to combine legal empowerment with complementary interventions, e.g. to provide technical expertise in areas such as inclusive business or economic valuation, or to address more overtly political dimensions.
Exploring these issues can provide useful pointers on most effective ways to blend legal empowerment into land governance programming. Key questions discussed in this Forum:
- How does legal empowerment work and what it try to resolve? What are the specificities that need to be considered in designing and implementing legal empowerment interventions in relation to agribusiness investments?
- What does practical experience of using legal empowerment tools show us? What does experience say is the role of legal empowerment in preventing and resolving disputes, or promoting more inclusive investments? What complementary support is needed for legal empowerment to be most effective?
- What synergies can be created between legal empowerment and other interventions? How can land governance programming incorporate legal empowerment approaches?
The meeting of the of the UK Policy Forum, which took place from Thursday, November 2, 2017, aimed to extend participants’ understanding of legal empowerment as applied to agribusiness investments, and its role in land governance interventions.
In addition, the meeting aimed to:
- Share what is new and interesting on the agendas of Forum participants; and
- Identify themes for discussion for the next standing Forum meetings.
This dialogue will capture the discussion from the UK Policy Forum and will enable others to add their voice to this discussion and invites answers to the questions above.