The commons are a fundamental safety net for many rural families. However, communities across the continent face involuntary loss of common resources due to increasing pressure on natural resources, land grabbing, urbanisation, and user conflicts. This is often because of an unclear legal situation. Despite land being considered a topical issue for the African development agenda, no major land event was previously organised on the continent. From 11 to 14 November, the Land Policy Initiative (LPI) and the Forum on Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) will co-host the inaugural Conference on Land Policy in Africa, which will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on the theme “The next decade of land policy in Africa: ensuring agricultural development and inclusive growth”. The IASS is organising a workshop and a side event in the context of the conference.
The workshop “Sharing practices to recognize and support commons and collective tenure rights” on 10 and 11 November, which is organized by the IASS in cooperation with the GIZ, is a forum for the collection and exchange of practices to recognise, protect and support commons and collective tenure rights. It is also an invitation to get involved in the development of the Technical Guide on Tenure Rights to Commons which is currently being drafted by the IASS on behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in order to increase the uptake of the Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT). The Technical Guide aims to provide practices and strategies with regard to legal and non-legal recognition and protection, administration and conflict resolution, institution building, empowerment, community-level regulation, and sustainable management.
A side event on “Pathways to realize collective tenure rights to natural resources” on 12 November is a platform for further discussions related to the Technical Guide. It focuses on questions such as: How can the rights of communities whose livelihoods depend on the commons be secured? Which strategies, approaches and practices can be used to make collective tenure rights to natural resources real? How can the existing international instruments, namely the VGGT and the F&G (Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa) that address these issues be implemented and support the realisation of collective rights? The IASS invites the panelists and the audience to exchange and discuss these questions while drawing on their own experiences in securing tenure rights in different fields.