Building a regional roadmap: Africa’s land commissions come together to tackle tenure insecurity

For many governments, upholding commitments to demarcate and recognize community lands is both vitally important and no small task—particularly in environments where land commissions face constrained funding, political or economic roadblocks, or other obstacles. After a number of representatives from land commissions in Africa voiced a desire to exchange experiences and learning with their colleagues from across the continent, we joined forces with the African Union’s Land Policy Initiative to hold a three-day workshop in Accra, Ghana.

RRI Fellow Madhu Sarin has been working on forest tenure reform in India for the last 15 years. In a conversation with RRI, Madhu shares her perspective on what it takes to strengthen women’s land and community forest rights in practice in India, how the country’s Forest Rights Act helped secure women’s land rights, and more.

The Effects of Large-scale Land Acquisitions on Women

Over the last two decades, companies in search of vast tracts of available land for agriculture, mining, and other uses have increasingly turned to rural Asia and Africa. From 2008 to 2010, between 51 and 63 million hectares of land were acquired on the African continent through such large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs). And while the repercussions of LSLAs affect entire communities, women suffer the most.

Is This My Land?

For Amazonian and native communities, it is not a matter of ignoring or rejecting the land market, but rather finding the best way to relate to it while preserving their ancestral properties, rights, traditions, and knowledge (which are key for biodiversity and intellectual property).