Securing access to drylands resources for multiple users in Africa: A review of recent research uri icon

abstract

  • This review discusses persistent tensions in efforts to secure land rights in Africa's drylands. Some researchers and practitioners advocate for formal, legal recognition of group rights as a way to secure access for drylands resource users. Others, on the other hand, speak against formal, legal protections. They argue that much of Africa's drylands are collectively held, often under customary tenures. Statutory law may undermine the dynamism, flexibility and inclusiveness of such tenures. By reviewing innovative efforts at securing access in different parts of Africa, the paper shows that any attempt to secure access for multiple users in drylands environments needs to identify frameworks for negotiated conflict resolution, crafting rules from the ground upwards, in addition to a more generic identification of rights. Policy-makers can thus focus on process, as well as the content of tenure arrangements, reconciling statutory rights with customary rights. For rights to be meaningfully secured, however, there is need to identify the nature and sources of threats that create insecurities and tailor policy solutions to threats. Elite capture and exclusion of women and young people continue to pose significant challenges in such decentralized processes. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2008
  • 2008
  • 2008