How it started
The SARD Initiative is helping to support FAO’s multidisciplinary efforts to provide evidence-based guidance to the Commission for the Legal Empowerment of the Poor. The commission focuses on how to enable the poor to move out of poverty through access to secure and fungible property rights, enforceable labour rights, and a justice system that provides them real legal protection. FAO’s efforts focus on property rights and Sub-Saharan Africa, with the objectives to identify what are the prevailing types of access of rural poor to land and other natural resources, and the major threats to the security of these rights; strengthen mechanisms leading to improved security of tenure for the poor and vulnerable; identify and upscale good practices and innovative approaches for protecting the property rights of the poor and vulnerable.
SARD addresses the multiple dimensions of access to land and other natural resources and their linkages with dynamics of poverty and vulnerability, with specific attention to the multiplicity of authorities and institutions that affect property regimes, such as statutory laws, customary systems, economic uses of the resources, status within the community and household, and access to legal services, knowledge of rights and procedures, and in general to the interaction of economic, social and environmental issues. The specific themes addressed in the SARD component are:
1- Cultural indicators for food security and natural resources management;
2- Property rights and poverty dynamics; multiple authorities and collective action
3- Pastoralist areas: conflicts between tenure regimes and economic use of the land.
a) Property rights and poverty dynamics; multiple authorities and collective action
This theme addresses the linkages between property rights and poverty dynamics through case studies from the Nyando River Basin in Western Kenya. The focus of the case studies is on the multiple dimensions of land tenure and their linkages with poverty dynamics (including interface between labour/land rights; community participation; gender), and on the identification of the social, economic and environmental dimensions around property rights and the roles played by institutions in land tenure systems. The case studies compare good practices and “bad” practices and identify capacity building needs through stakeholder analysis of the communities affected by changes in tenure systems. The case studies also identify legal tools and legal/paralegal services, including alternatives to formalisation of individual rights that can promote the security of rights for the poorest and most vulnerable, and rural development in the long run. Main issues addressed are: coexistence of multiple sources of authority to natural resources - land and water; multiple rights and claims over the same resource; dynamics between natural resources and poverty/vulnerability; labour components (livelihoods); economic, social and environmental dimensions and collective action. This work is undertaken in collaboration with Maseno University (Kisumu, Kenya).
b) Pastoralists areas: conflicts between tenure regimes and economic use of the land
This theme will present lessons from case studies from pastoralists areas of Kenya aimed at addressing specific issues of relevance to indigenous peoples (Maasai and other pastoralists communities). Starting from the historical development of the communal property regimes to the establishment of group ranches, and their eventual subdivision into individual titles (still ongoing), these case studies will address specifically the need for consistency between economic and socio-cultural uses of the land and tenure regimes, and the conflicts generating from the coexistence of multiple authorities over natural resources and the threat to conservation. The case studies will also present some good practices of collective action and community-based management of the resources that have succeeded in overcoming these conflicts and in finding a more sustainable way of managing the resource for a livelihood, and how better awareness at community level can influence policy decisions. These case studies will provide also an opportunity to enhance the visibility of these communities, to identify capacity-building needs and organise policy-maker exposures and to contribute recommendations directly to the debate on Land and Wildlife policies legislation in Kenya, currently under review. This work is undertaken in collaboration with the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and MPIDO.
Regional workshop on “Improving Tenure Security of the Rural Poor” for Sub-Saharan Africa, 22 – 26 October, 2006, Nakuru.
The first milestone of the FAO project funded by Norway (FNOP/INT/108/NOR) is the organization of the workshop in Nakuru, which brought together 60 experts in land, pastoral, forest and fisheries property rights, mostly from African countries and the rest from International Organizations. The workshop reviewed current evidence and recent findings about the issues, trends, and best options for legally empowering the poor through improved property right regimes in Africa and was oriented primarily towards influencing and informing the Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor (CLEP).
As part of the Agenda, the SARD Initiative sponsored one day field visit, the “Naivasha Learning Exchange on Pro-poor Property Rights”, to spotlight poverty-tenure relationships and conflicting claims to access to and use of natural resources as result of privatization of the commons. A Maasai pastoralist community and a fisherfolk community inhabiting the areas around Lake Naivasha were visited and representative of flower farmers and conservationists were also met to hear different perspectives on access to the lake water, land, wildlife and geothermal power. Accessibility of the lake is key to local livelihood systems as the flower farmers need water for the plantations and are concerned by lake’s overexploitation by community members, the pastoralists need the water for their livestock, and the fisherfolks' livelihoods depend on fishing in the lake. In addition to these, conservationists place the sustainability of the lake and its wildlife as a priority, and the state is also responsible for the production of public services, like power generation. Presently, a Lake Naivasha management plan is under consideration by the Government and represents a significant endeavour to regulate water use for commercial, pastoral, tourism, small holders, businesses and domestic purposes. As a result of the workshop, diverse water user groups and concerned stakeholders committed to prepare a community development plan to define priorities of actions with the aim of addressing problems and find ways to address the concerns associated with the use and conservation of the Lake resources.
Kickoff Roundtable on Pastoralist and resource rights, 3 November, 2006, Nairobi
As an immediate follow up the of the Nakuru Workshop, pastoralists civil society groups organized, with the support of the SARD Initiative and the Mainyoito Pastoralist Integrated Development Organisation (MPIDO), a roundtable to define priorities for research and policy development with the aim of meaningfully influencing the integration of pastoralist and minorities' issues in both national, regional and international legal and policy frameworks.