LARRI - Land Rights Research Initiative
The Land Rights Research Initiative (LARRI) is an initiative hosted by the Unit of Human Geography, Department of Economy and Society at University of Gothenburg. The initiative was launched 2012 and is meant as a platform for discussion, exchange of ideas and information as well as for promoting collaboration among researchers, students and other actors interested in land rights issues from a poverty and development perspective in a context of global change.
Activities have consisted of the organization of open seminars on global processes and policies of particular significance for the land rights and other natural resource rights of the rural poor, this type of events will continue to be organized by LARRI.
LARRI past events
7th December 13.00-15.00
Title: “Safeguarding Customary Rights in the face of cancelled large-scale land acquisitions: The Case of Mozambique”
26th October 13.00-15.00
Title: “Why do so many land deals remain unimplemented in Africa? A land rights perspective”
This LARRI webinar took place on March 16, 13:00-15:00. The topic of the webinar is land rights issues among the Sami population in Sweden ("Land use conflicts and governance in Sápmi - what can we learn from a rights-based approach").
Presenters are Annette Löf, Swedish Agricultural University, and Malin Brännström, Umeå University.
Commoning or Commodification? Pastoralist Land Rights in the Face of Political, Economic and Institutional Change in Northern Kenya
For at least a decade, the drylands of northern Kenya have been subject to a changing political economy with transformative implications for pastoralist livelihoods. Historically portrayed as remote, unused and unproductive land, drylands are increasingly becoming the focal point for capital investment and state expansion. At this LARRI webinar, we will focus on our attention on three important and concurrent forces of change that are taking place across pastoralist Kenya and how they create new, complex and contested conditions for pastoralist land rights: (1) Devolution of national government power and financial resources; (2) land investment and appropriation in the wake of the large-scale infrastructure projects; and (3) the introduction of the Kenya Community Land Act. How should we understand these emerging land rights dynamics and what are their implications for dryland governance in East Africa?
Per Knutsson, School of Global Studies at the University of Gothenburg will make an introductory presentation based on his past and ongoing research on pastoralist land rights in East Africa.
Moderator: Robin Biddulph
LARRI was launched in 2012 at the University of Gothenburg as a platform for discussion and collaboration among researchers, students and others interested in rural land rights issues in the context of global change. Over the years a number of seminars, conference sessions, newsletters and other networking activities have been organized.
Due to the current covid pandemic we will no longer be able to organize regular seminars at the university. Instead we aim to facilitate exchange between interested researchers and others by organizing a series of “LARRI webinars”. The idea is that these would be relatively informal events where participants will be able to:
- Present their research projects and plans for discussion and feedback
- Discuss a particular topic or issue based upon a paper or short introduction
- Exchange news within the land-rights field of common interest
- Participate in dialogue between researchers, policymakers and practitioners;
The target group for these webinars would primarily be researchers interested in land rights issues but also others working with or studying related issues are welcome. The topic and focus of webinars would vary and depend upon suggestions from participants in our meetings. Initially we would arrange one webinar every second month starting with a first planning session.
We are now interested to get feedback from you to see if you think our ideas of recurrent “LARRI webinars” would be of value to you, and, if so, that you would be willing to participate and perhaps even contribute with ideas and/or presentations? We look forward to be hearing from you.
The Development Research Conference 2016 on the theme: “Global Visions and Local Practices - Development Research in a Post-2015 World”
LARRI co-organize panel 8 at the conference with the Unit for Human Geography at University of Gothenburg. Read more about our panel here: “Land and resource tenure rights in the context of new global development agendas”
The conference is arranged by: Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University in collaboration with Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet).
The aim with the conference is to provide a multi-disciplinary forum for networking and intellectual exchange among scholars who conduct research in and of relevance to low-income countries and/or engage in capacity-building collaborations. Researchers and research students will present ongoing and completed research, including projects funded by Sida and the Swedish Research Council. The conference also intends to offer a platform for dialogue and strengthen the relation between development research and policy makers.
Read more at the conference webpage: www.su.se/devres2016 and in the call for abstracts.
"Are Ordinary Africans Getting the Continent Back – or Not? – The Fate of Community Lands in Africa in 2016"
LARRI arranged a seminar with renowned land tenure expert Liz Alden Wily in Gothenburg on the 24th of February on the theme of customary property in Africa based on her rich experience with community land issues from research and development practice.
Liz Alden Wily is an internationally renowned land tenure expert and independent researcher with wide-reaching experience from a number of countries throughout the developing world but with a particular focus on customary tenure and community land security in sub-Saharan Africa, on which she has published extensively. She is a Fellow of RRI the Rights and Resources Initiative, a Fellow of Van Vollenhoven Institute in the School of Law in Leiden University, and an Expert Associate of Katiba Institute, a constitutional law reform body in Kenya, where she resides for most of the year.
Community lands refer to the lands which rural communities traditionally own and govern under customary regimes. While homesteads continue to multiply with each generation, globally, a remarkable proportion of community lands remain shared properties, owned collectively by community members under customary norms. These areas are most vulnerable to reallocation by governments. The surge in real or threatened losses is invigorating popular determination to secure formal recognition of community lands as community property. This presentation critically examines progress in Africa, where two billion hectares are unrecognised community lands, belonging by custom to more than half a billion rural Africans. Are they getting legal recognition of this ownership or not?
Download the seminar invitation here
Selected publications by Liz Alden Wily:
(Press Article) ‘Community Lands’ Less About Saving the Past than Securing the Future, The STAR, Kenya 12 December 2015. Available here
Customary Tenure: Remaking Property for the 21st Century. In Michele Graziadei and Lionel Smith (eds.) Comparative Property Law: Global Perspectives, Edgar Elgar, UK (2016). Available here
Time to Rethink? A Critique of Rural Land Law in Cote d’Ivoire (2015) FERN, Bruxelles and Moreton-on-Marsh. Available here
Resolving natural resource conflicts to help prevent war: A case from Afghanistan (2014) in Livelihoods, Natural Resources, and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding (Helen Young and Lisa Goldman (eds); pp.115-137. Routledge, Oxon. Available here
Custom and Commonage in Africa Rethinking the Orthodoxies. Land Use Policy Journal Vol. 25 (2008) 43-52. Available here
The Tragedy of Public Lands: Understanding the Fate of the Commons under Global Commercial Pressure. International Land Coalition, Rome.
Whose Land is It? Commons and Conflicts States. Why ownership of the commons matters in making and keeping peace. Rights and Resources Initiative. Available here
So Who Owns the Forest? An Investigation into Forest Ownership and Customary Land Tenure in Liberia. Sustainable Development Institute and FERN Available here
How African governments allow farmers to be pushed off their land.
The Guardian. March 2012. Available here
More publications by Liz Alden Wily can be found here
October 2, 2015:
Decentralization and Local Governance of Land in Africa – The implementation of Tanzania’s Village Land Act in the context of increasing pressure on land
Open LARRI Seminar with Rasmus Hundsbæk Pedersen, Postdoc at DIIS Danish Institute for International Studies.
When: Friday, 2 October 2015, 13.15-15.00
Where: Vasagatan 1 in Gothenburg at School of Business, Economics and Law, Room F - 45
About the seminar:
To address the increasing pressure on land and improve the security of tenure, especially among small-scale farmers, several governments across sub-Saharan Africa have initiated land reforms since the late 1990s. These so called “New Wave”land reforms are as diverse as the contexts in which they are implemented.
One common characteristic however is the recognition and formalization of existing rights to land, including customary/ community land rights. In theory this often implies decentralizing responsibility over land administration and land dispute settlement and promotion of registration and issuing of land title deeds. But what are actually the outcomes of the reforms in practice?
One of the most well-known examples of this type of tenure reforms is the Village Land Act in Tanzania. Rasmus Hundsbaek Pedersen, currently postdoc at DIIS in Denmark, has done extensive field research on the implementation of this reform in Tanzania and will present his findings as starting point for discussion. His current research focus is on large-scale investments into natural resources in Sub-Saharan Africa. One of the issues that will be discussed is thus also how the Village Land Act is seen and implemented in relation to the interest of Government of Tanzania to promote large-scale land investments.
Registration is not mandatory but we appreciate if you let us know if you plan to attend: firstname.lastname@example.org, 031-786 9222
Photo: Land council secretary important for the settlement of local land disputes, by Rasmus Hundsbæk Pedersen, DIIS
May 21, 2015:
Securing Land-Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa: What are the Issues and Bottlenecks?
Seminar with Ph.D. Lasse Krantz co-arranged by LARRI and the Global Sustainability Studies Seminar Series at School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg.
When: Thursday, 21 May 2015, 10.15-12.00
Where: Room A319 at School of Global Studies - Annedalsseminariet, Campus Linné, Seminariegatan 1A in Gothenburg.
About the seminar:
The rapidly escalating demand for land for large-scale commercial investments in Sub-Saharan Africa has also resulted in an increased awareness of the importance of securing local people’s tenure rights to the land they depend on for their livelihoods. The conventional approach for securing property rights to land is by establishing a system of private ownership through individual titling. This approach has been tried in several African countries over the years but with mixed results. Therefore, since the end of the 1990s, there has been a shift of thinking regarding land tenure policy in Africa paying attention also to the legal recognition and formalization of already existing customary rights and communal tenure systems. Also these latter approaches however contain certain challenges, which need to be tackled in order for these to have an inclusive and equitable outcome at the local level.
These and other related issues are discussed by Ph.D. Lasse Krantz, guest-researcher at the Department of Economy and Society at GU and project leader of LARRI, based on his recently published working paper on the same topic. The presentation will be illustrated by examples from his on-going research on the implementation of the land tenure reform in Mozambique.
Read the related Working Paper in Human Geography written by Lasse Krantz: "Securing Customary Land Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa: Learning from new approaches to land tenure reform"
April 29, 2015:
Land conflicts and state formation in Africa. Examples from Uganda.
LARRI has invited Anders Sjögren, PhD, a senior researcher and leader of the research cluster on Conflict, Security and Democratic Transformation at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala. Anders will hold a seminar on land conflicts with a focus on examples from Uganda.
This lecture addresses various aspects and expressions of land conflicts and relates them to different dimensions of state formation, including territorial demarcation, political authority and collective identity. It argues that in contexts where, as is the case in much of Africa, these dimensions are subject to reform or otherwise contested, land, being a key economic, political and cultural resource, more often than not becomes both source and object of conflicts.
The lecture illustrates these theoretical issues with an examination of different forms of land related conflicts in contemporary Uganda, first by an overview of how the multiplicity of land tenure regimes shape land conflicts in specific ways in different parts of the country, and then by how this is related, at the national level, to struggles over whether and how to reform land policy, and to the politics of central-local relations at large.
Where: Room F-44 at the School of Business, Economics and Law, Gothenburg.
Moderator: Per Knutsson, senior lecturer in human ecology at the School of Global Studies, Gothenburg
Download the seminar invitation here
April 15, 2015:
Do ordinary people profit from agrobusiness?
LARRI co-hosted an open seminar with the Swedish NGO Afrikagrupperna on land investments and its effect on small-scale farmers in Mozambique.
Lasse Krantz, project leader of LARRI, gave an introduction to the land law in Mozambique. Sheila Rafi from the organization Livanigo in Mozambique then spoke about her experiences from working against landgrabbing.
Sheila talked about a case where a thousand small-scale farmers were ejected from their land in the city of Nampula, after the brazilian company AGROMOZ invested in the land for establishing soy production. The farmers did not receive adequate compensation and no new land to farm.
March 11, 2015:
Changing Gender Relations? Women's experiences of Land Rights in the context of the Land Tenure Reform program in Rwanda
PhD candidate Jeanette Bayisenge (GU) presented findings from her PhD compilation thesis and the discussion was moderated by Margareta Espling from the Unit of Human Geography (GU).
Women’s rights to land is a hotly debated issue in today’s land tenure reform in Africa. The recent national Land Tenure Regularization Program in Rwanda has been hailed as a very positive example in this context. However, at a closer inspection it turns out to not being so unproblematic.
September 10, 2014:
Securing Forest and Community Land Rights - Challenges, Trends and Ways Forward
This seminar offered an opportunity to learn from and discuss with experts from Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), Sida, civil society organizations, academia and the private sector.
See videos and download presentations here…
Read the full report from the seminar here...
February 19, 2014,
"Women's Land Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa - experiences from Mozambique"
Open LARRI seminar with Professor Randi Kaarhus from University of Nordland in Norway:
Read the full report from the seminar here...
January 23, 2013: Meeting on the theme
"Community Rights and Large-Scale Land Investments".
- Kenneth Hermele: Reflections on the current trend of large-scale land investments.
- Maria Ölund: Indirect socio-ecological implications of large-scale land and water investments: based on field research from the Afar region in Ethiopia.
- Lasse Krantz: Scope and constraints for community-investor partnerships: experiences from Mozambique.
- Jesper Karlsson: An update on FAOs research on FDI in agriculture and work with principles for responsible agriculture investments.
The main LARRI event in autumn 2013 was a conference session that LARRI co-organized together with The Nordic Africa institute (NAI) at this year's Agri4D (Agricultural Research for Development) conference. The session was held on Sept 25 in Uppsala. The session theme was "How to secure land rights in a context of global competition for land" with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa.
Download a report from this conference session.
April 17, 2013: Meeting on the theme
"Securing land rights through tenure reforms?"
The following research activities were presented and discussed:
- Jeannette Bayisenge: "Land tenure reform: A tool for ensuring land rights to women? Experiences from the administration of the land registration and titling in Rwanda."
- Robin Biddulph: “Do land titling programmes avoid areas where there is tenure insecurity? And other reflections from the Cambodian case.”
- Lasse Krantz: “Securing Land Rights in a Context of Increasing External Demand for Land: the case of Mozambique”
- Gunnar Köhlin: “Experiences from the land registration and certification programme in the Amhara region of Ethiopia”
September 18, 2013:
"Land Tenure Reforms in Asia and Africa"
13:15-15:00 at School of Business, Economics and Law, Vasagatan 1:
Stein Holden, University of Life Sciences, Aas, Norway
April 17, 2013:
LARRI Networking meeting on the theme "Securing land rights through tenure reforms?"
The following research activities were presented and discussed:
Jeannette Bayisenge: "Land tenure reform: A tool for ensuring land rights to women? Experiences from the administration of the land registration and titling in Rwanda."
Robin Biddulph: “Do land titling programmes avoid areas where there is tenure insecurity? And other reflections from the Cambodian case.”
Lasse Krantz: “Securing Land Rights in a Context of Increasing External Demand for Land: the case of Mozambique”
Gunnar Köhlin: “Experiences from the land registration and certification programme in the Amhara region of Ethiopia”
March 13, 2013:
Open seminar on the theme "Large-Scale Land Investments: Curse or Development Opportunity?"
Program:Kenneth Hermele, School of Global Studies – GU, an introductory presentation based on his Ph.D thesis: “Land Matters - Agrofuels, Unequal Exchange and Appropriation of Ecological Space”.
Thereafter the moderated discussion started with comments from two discussants: Matthew Fielding Project Manager at SIANI and Stockholm Environment Institute and Jesper Karlsson who works with research on international agricultural investment and principles for responsible agricultural investment at FAO.
January 23, 2013:
LARRI Network Meeting on the theme "Community Rights and Large-Scale Land Investments".
Kenneth Hermele: Reflections on the current trend of large-scale land investments.
Maria Ölund: Indirect socio-ecological implications of large-scale land and water investments: based on field research from the Afar region in Ethiopia.
Lasse Krantz: Scope and constraints for community-investor partnerships: experiences from Mozambique.
Jesper Karlsson: An update on FAOs research on FDI in agriculture and work with principles for responsible agriculture investments.
September 19, 2012:
Open seminar with Michael Taylor and Luca Miggiano from ILC
The International Land Coalition was held on the theme "Securing tenure rights among the rural poor: Priorities for action and research".
June 7, 2012:
Tenure in Climate Change Mitigation Strategies: the case of REDD
A joint LARRI-Focali seminar with Arild Angelsen, professor of economics at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) and a Senior Associate of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Indonesia" .
May 15, 2012:
The first LARRI seminar on the theme "Land Rights in the Context of Escalating Global Competition for Land".
Jesper Karlsson (FAO) and Lasse Krantz (GU) presented issues of concern and the idea about LARRI.