Vast swathes of the world’s land - nearly five billion hectares - are unprotected and vulnerable to land grabs and destruction.
In line with the Sustainable Development Goals, the ILC works for the full involvement of local communities in the ownership and management of this land so that it can be protected.
- Law amendments in Kyrgyzstan gave more responsibility to pastoralist communities to restore their pasturelands with recognition that nomadic practices are key to counteracting degradation
- Participatory Rangelands Management Project secured more than 246,773.4 hectares of rangelands for pastoralists in Tanzania and Kenya
- NES Cameroon developed code of conduct to increase women’s participation in decision making in relation to customary land management
- Successful blocking of military training grounds on communal land in Montenegro with support of Land Rights Now Campaign
Fighting against the clock
“Before, women did not pay any attention to the topic of the pastures, since we did what our men told us. Over the past years, we have had a good opportunity to express our viewpoint. We are invited to the meetings. We express our ideas. We talk about what we need in migration and we receive timely assistance.” says Aigul.
Meet Aigul Aidarbekova. She is a generational pastoralist - her parents and grandparents were herders - in the Naryn region of central Kyrgyzstan. It’s a challenging lifestyle, made all the more difficult by the effects of the climate crisis.Read Story
In 2019, ILC member, Kyrgyz Jayity as part of the National Engagement Strategy in Kyrgyzstan, helped amend the law to give more responsibility to the communities to restore their pasturelands.
Together with the Ministry of Agriculture, members of the National Engagement Strategy in Kyrgyzstan pressed for the new law. This law, instead of blaming pastoralist communities for overgrazing, recognises that their nomadic practices and migratory patterns are key to counteracting degradation in the face of extreme climate events. The group also participates in the Central Asia Pastoralist Alliance, a thematic initiative of the ILC.
With the new law, things have also started to change for women and youth who traditionally have never been involved in decision making.
For the full picture on how ILC members and partners are securing the rights of pastoralists across Central and South Asia, click here.
In December 2020, protesters and community activists successfully prevented the government of Montenegro from occupying traditional pasture land for military activities.
See our section on indigenous peoples for a full profile of LRN’s mission and work
For 51 days, community members and activists braved snowy and sub-zero weather in a protest camp at the foot of Margita mountain, epicentre of an area designated for military training by the outgoing Montenegrin government. Camping within the site earmarked for the army, they successfully prevented the military from accessing their pastures.
Their aim was to maintain a blockade until a new government, more sympathetic to Sinjajevina’s plight, was installed. An unexpected delay in the transition triggered a game of cat and mouse between herders and the military, and made headlines in Montenegro and abroad.
On December 5, 2020, the new Minister of Defense, Olivera Injac, announced that there would be no military training and invited protesters to go home. She committed to examining all documentation related to Sinjajevina and to talk to the local residents as soon as the opportunity arises.
But locals and activists of the Save Sinjajevina association are only temporarily relieved.
They are still calling for the government to scrap the decree establishing the military training ground, and to create a protected area that is co-designed and co-governed by local communities.
Sign the petition
Save Sinjajevina’s nature and local communities!now!
Mapping rights and wrongs in Cameroon
In Cameroon, community-led conservation is gaining momentum as a response to the intensification of land and natural resources exploitation.
Recent years have seen growing pressure on land from large infrastructure projects, mining, agro-industries, and logging.
The country has a dual system of land rights, with customary land rights recognised alongside registered land rights. However, protection for customary land rights is often weaker than it is for formal registration. As a result, community land has been exploited by external investors, with minimal or no benefit for the local community. NGOs have been supporting local community members to conduct participatory mapping of their community lands to enhance their protection. But mapping on the same piece of land by different actors often produced different and irreconcilable maps, leading to the disqualification of participatory mapping as a reliable tool for identifying community land rights and resources.
In certain cases, the National Institute for Cartography was not able to validate some land maps and the local communities were not able to claim their land rights based on the land maps.
As part of the NES in Cameroon, ILC member Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement (CED) partnered with government departments, the Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK), Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), community leaders and community members to develop a harmonised and generally accepted land mapping methodology.
Find out how they did it here.
For the full picture on how ILC members and partners are securing community land rights against dispossession, expropriation and eviction in Cameroon, click here.
Mongolian herders are healing our pastures
Home on the rangelands
Securing Land Rights for the protectors of one of Earth’s most precious ecosystems.
For centuries they have been the custodians of this land, but increasingly, pastoral communities are under pressure from climate change, land grabbing and urban expansion. In East Africa, rangelands are where stock herders and small-scale farmers exist alongside wildlife, yet they are seldom involved in the decisions about how to protect and manage this land.
In the last triennium, through the Participatory Rangelands Management Project (PRM), ILC has helped secure more than
246,773.4 hectares of rangelands in the region: 85,629 ha in Kenya and 161,144 ha in Tanzania.
With representation at municipal and national level, the pastoralists of this region are now able to ensure that long-term plans take their needs and the unique demands of their territories into account. This was achieved through issuance of Customary Rights of Occupancy certificates where necessary, and through an enhanced presence in public and legal forums.
A key part of this initiative is to amplify the voice of women in the land management process, with a quota of at least 35% women on public bodies; in fact, the participation of women currently stands at 45 percent.
Pressure on land use has led to intercommunal violence in both Kenya and Tanzania. Through the forums and conflict resolution systems adopted, a 60 percent decrease in land related conflict has been reported.
ILC members the Resource Conflict Institute (RECONCILE, Kenya) and the Tanzania Natural Resource Forum (TNRF) have been leading the implementation of PRM since December 2017, supported by funding from the European Union.
For the full picture on how ILC members and partners are reducing conflicts and securing rights in Kenya and Tanzania, click here.
12 community land right experts...10 countries
Over the last 3 years, the Community Land Protection Learning Initiative has contributed to securing land rights and strengthening struggles in nine countries.
Together with Namati, and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the Community Land Protection Initiative is equipping ILC members with the practical skills to support communities to document and protect their indigenous and customary lands.
The initiative, offered to selected ILC members, provides a unique opportunity to engage in cutting-edge community land protection efforts and embark on a year-long peer-to-peer learning journey.
Each year, a select number of participants teach one another their most successful fieldwork strategies, collaborate on innovative solutions to complex problems, and pool their knowledge and expertise in ways that can then offer lessons to members across ILC’s network.
This is one of the participants, Karina, who takes us through how by using the human impact assessment tool , you can put communities at the centre of any decision making process and make companies more accountable and processes more inclusive.
This was the result of a collective exchange that took place during the second workshop of the Community Land Protection Learning Initiative, in July 2019. Contributing members included: RMI, JKPP, RRF, Observatorio Ciudadano, ICCA, IIED and NAMATI.
Learn from the participants
How to: work productively with the government
2 February 2020Read More
How to: engage with corrupt leaders and enhance accountability
29 January 2020Read More
HOW TO: ensure the participation of women in decisions about land
12 March 2020Read More
How to: select communities and ensure participation
12 January 2020Read More
How to: empower communities and enhance cultural thriving
2 January 2020Read More
How to: work with corrupt community leaders and deal with conflict
23 June 2020Read More