LANDac International Conference 2022 Session Summary
With barely eight years left to reach the UN SD 2030 Goals, an acceleration of the process of securing and sustaining tenure rights is required. The focus of the land and forest governance sector should turn to scale approaches and interventions that have proven to be successful. However, sustaining tenure security, particularly that of women, youth and IPLCs, require a ‘fit-for-purpose’ approach, combined with local presence and knowledge, over a timeframe that adapts to realities on the ground. Such approaches have been successfully implemented, but at a small scale in specific contexts. The central question that we want to debate is: “How can sustainable tenure security for women, youth, and IPLC be achieved at scale?”
This question was addressed through discussion on three statements, introduced by a short presentation to set the scene. We started the discussion on “Without a robust impact evaluation on its effects, plans for scaling a pilot intervention are useless”. Simon Peter Mwesigye (GLTN Uganda) shared their experience on community management of wetlands, highlighting that despite the progressive legal framework, this framework is difficult for communities to implement. The discussion stressed different aspects of the impact measurement tool, such as the way you measure, knowing how you achieved measured impact, and already be prepared for scaling before the impact evaluation takes place.
The second statement “Without political will and the involvement of the government, it is not possible to achieve sustainability in land interventions”, was introduced by Boukary Guindo (SNV Mali). The Mali government has recognized the need for new land legislation to replace the colonial laws. The new framework lacks the buy-in of the communities, which causes friction. The discussion on this topic highlighted that indeed, government is important for scaling secure tenure rights, but it needs to be the right people and the right time. Thus, government support is not a precondition to an intervention, but it is required at some point in time. The recognition of communities, their knowledge and ways of living, was also stressed, leading to the conundrum of how to draw up policies at the national level that take cognizance of community needs.
The last statement centered on the topic of inclusion: “In order to be sustainable and inclusive, it is not enough to be aware of sensitivities, but approaches always need to be designed in consultation with women, indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups”. This was framed by Anne Larson (CIFOR) who asked the question what tenure security is. Her work shows that this is a multidimensional, complex and interconnected concept that is made visible through an extensive participatory approach to identify drivers of change. The discussion that unfolded centered on the fact that consultation is usually a tick box exercise by actors from outside who do not have the time for meaningful and deep engagement. The construct of power came forward as extremely important in interventions in general and consultation in specific. Anne concluded the session with the observation that the current sense of urgency undermines the need to build the context specific knowledge required for inclusive and sustainable tenure intervention.