I write this blog as our project team embarks on a fifth year of work on women’s land tenure security (WOLTS) with pastoral communities in mining-affected areas of Mongolia and Tanzania. Just before Christmas 2019, we were in Mundarara village in northern Tanzania. Exceptionally heavy rains made getting around much more challenging than usual. Locals travelling on foot had to make wide detours to avoid getting bogged down in waterlogged grazing land, and it took everyone much longer to get to the village primary school for our long-planned training day.
Next week the Conference on Land Policy in Africa - Winning the Fight against Corruption in the Land Sector: Sustainable Pathway for Africa’s Transformation, will take place in Abidjan. The African Union recognises that corruption is a key factor hampering efforts at promoting governance, socio-economic transformation, peace and security, and the enjoyment of human rights in the Member States.
Deciding whether or not to allow an investor to use community lands and natural resources is one of the most important decisions a community can make. Namati and the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) have published two new guides to help communities prepare for interactions with investors and, if they so wish, negotiate fair, equitable contracts. These guides are the first of their kind.
Malcolm Childress visited Honduras in April as part of a fact-finding and speaking delegation sponsored by the US State Department.
On the northern coast of Honduras, palm forests give way to white sands, blue seas and one of the world’s most spectacular coral reefs. But, in a story that will be familiar to observers of land rights worldwide, that beauty has brought developers eager to build, and conflict around the ownership of land occupied and claimed by longstanding Garifuna communities.
Sextortion: referring to a form of blackmail in which sexual information or images are used to extort sexual favors from the victim. One of the biggest challenges for those working in the land and natural resources sector, has been drawing attention to the fact that this happens in our sector, too and most importantly, that something needs to be done about it.
Reflections on an old Mongolian saying
At a recent gender training session in Mongolia, a middle-aged man used the old Mongolian saying that “a woman has long hair and a short brain” when we asked participants to name some of the main characteristics of women and men. I was glad that he was corrected by a much older man, who pointed out that the saying relates to traditional gender roles that are already very different from what they were just a few years ago.
The failure to secure the property rights of rural communities shows a clear policy gap between citizens and rights to land as per the Constitution and the attitude and practices of the state, traditional leaders, white farmers and mining companies in relation to such rights.
The artisanal mining sector in West and Central Africa is a rapidly expanding economic force employing millions of young people, often those who are the most vulnerable. Numerous ancillary informal economies are associated with the export of what are commonly known as “conflict minerals” such as diamonds, gold and coltan. Women grow crops and process food for the labor force of young men digging deep into the ground to pull out the ore and precious metals and stones.
The recent series of devastating hurricanes in the Caribbean has reminded the world, once again, that natural disasters are not equal-opportunity destroyers. The economically marginalized and those lacking secure land and property rights are often disproportionately affected for at least three reasons:
By Roy Prosterman
Asia’s Tigers, the collection of booming economies that emerged in the East following World War II, are often hailed as economic miracles. There was, though, no “secret sauce” behind that sustained and broad-based economic growth. Rather, as Myanmar is poised to show, the key ingredient for a Tiger economy can be found right beneath our feet.