A visual history of Indigenous Peoples' and local communities' land rights
Mali

CNOP and HELVETAS are leading this initiative with the Tenure Facility and have

Strengthened the capacity of 17 local land commissions to resolve land conflict

 

 

 

 

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CNOP and HELVETAS are leading this initiative with the Tenure Facility and have

Reduced land conflicts by up to 35% in participating communities

“The Tenure Facility pilot in Mali is strengthening national reconciliation and peace.”

– Célestin Dembélé, HELVETAS Mali

Overview

Strengthened land commissions lay foundation for resolving land conflict in Mali and building sustainable peace

Conflict over land and resources in Mali is rooted in the country’s colonial past. Before colonization by the French, communities enjoy codified rights under vast and powerful empires. After Mali falls to French colonial rule in 1892, the French declare all “unproductive lands” to be under the control of the state, under the pretence of increasing productivity. Communities are dispossessed of their land. State ownership continues in postcolonial Mali, fuelling conflict over communities’ customary claims. In 1990, Mali begins a process of decentralization to allow communities to assert their tenure rights and in 2006 passes the Land Reform Act to accelerate resolution of conflicting land claims. Despite these efforts, Mali has problems with conflict over land. Disputes over community lands undermine Mali’s stability and impede efforts to build peace in the aftermath of conflict between Tuareg rebels in the north and the central government in Bamako. Recognizing the urgent need to address land-related conflict in the aftermath of the country’s armed conflict, the National Coordinating Body of Peasant Organizations in Mali (CNOP) and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation work with government, communities, and civil society to build the capacity of land commissions as a mechanism for resolving conflicts over land and securing the land rights of local communities.

1236

Mali’s first emperor Soundiata Keita announces the “Charte du Mandé” or “Manden Charter,” a declaration of human rights and code of conduct

 

Mali’s first emperor Soundiata Keita announces the “Charte du Mandé” or “Manden Charter” – a declaration of human rights and code of conduct

1818

Emperor Seku Amadu declares the “Dina,” defining the empire’s powers and the rules for managing and using communal and pastoral lands

1882

France colonizes the area that is modern-day Mali and declares that all unproductive lands are the property of the statedispossessing communities and pastoralists

1960

Mali becomes a sovereign nation under President Modibo Keita and continues to assert state ownership of communal lands

 

Mali becomes a sovereign nation under President Modibo Keita and continues to assert stated ownership of communal lands

After a military coup, Moussa Traore establishes a military junta, retains state ownership of communal land and suppresses dissent

1991

Amadou Toumani Toure ousts Traore in a popular uprising and leads a transition to democracy

 

Amadou Toumani Toure ousts Traore in a popular uprising and leads transition to democracy

2002

Mali passes the Land and Tenure Law which largely recognizes customary rights but fails to establish steps to implement them

2006

United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopts the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

144 nations, including Mali, vote in favor of the Declaration.

 

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

Mali passes the Land Reform Act recognizing customary rights and establishing land commissions to address land related conflict

2012

Tuareg rebels take control of the north following a military coup in Bamako

2013

The United Nations establishes a peacekeeping mission to stabilize Mali

2015

Government of Mali and Tuareg rebels sign the 2015 Accord for Peace and Reconciliation

While the Accord represents a positive step in remedying the country’s political conflict, it fails to address the land-related conflicts that undermined peace and security in the country in the run-up to the armed conflict and continue to erode trust in the government.

The National Association of Peasant Organizations (CNOP) and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation engage with the Tenure Facility

 

The National Association of Peasant Organizations (CNOP) and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation engage with the Tenure Facility

 

The Tenure Facility funded project ‘Land and forest tenure support project benefiting local communities in Mali’ pioneers, tests and demonstrates scalable approaches and tools that rural municipalities and local communities can use to resolve conflicts among themselves and with government, investors, immigrants and settlers. This work positions local communities as agents who can protect land, forest, and water, and improve livelihoods, thereby contributing to global climate change and development goals. It builds trusting and collaborative relationships between communities, government, civil society and private sector that show the way forward in a post-conflict environment. The project is the Tenure Facility’s first in an arid environment. It set the stage for scaling land commissions across the country, equipped with tools for implementing practical solutions to conflict on the ground. The project conceives and demonstrates a new approach to foster collaboration between communities, NGOs, and mining companies to reduce conflict and foster development. CNOP is an association of 13 federations of small rural producers. HELVETAS is a Swiss international NGO that has been working on rural development in West Africa for over 30 years.

2017

Land commissions overcome bureaucratic hurdles to resolving conflicts about land and resources in rural communities, restoring social peace

 

Land commissions overcome bureaucratic hurdles to resolving conflicts about land and resources in communities located far from the nation’s capital, Bamako, thus restoring social peace

 

“This pilot showed it was absolutely necessary to equip land commissions so that communities and people will believe in them. The government is now convinced this is how things will be done.”

– Boubacar Diarra, Tenure Facility pilot project coordinator

Recognizing the urgent need to address land-related conflict in the aftermath of the country’s armed conflict, CNOP and HELVETAS work with government, communities and civil society build the capacity of land commissions as a mechanism for resolving conflicts over land and securing the land rights of local communities. In 22 months the project reduces by 35% land conflicts in participating villages and by 25% in participating municipalities.

Land commissions overcome bureaucratic hurdles to resolving conflicts about land and resources in communities located far from the nation’s capital, Bamako, thus restoring social peace

 

“The formalization of land transactions goes beyond the two parties concerned. It provides the opportunity to promote intra-community dialogue in order to put in place general rules that will take into account the rights of marginalized groups and protect all community members.”

– Moussa Djire, Tenure Facility Focal Point

Three villages establish Mali’s first inter-communal forest area covering 4,220 hectares in a conflict-prone area threatened by climate change and land grabbing

In Sikasso region, 80% of the people live off the land. Faced with pressure on their lands from climate change and land grabbers, three communities collaborate to develop Mali’s first-ever inter-community forest. The communities manage the 4,220-hectare forest together to strengthen its productivity.

 

In the region of Sikasso, 80% of the population lives off the land.

 

“Of every 100 land conflicts in the Region of Sikassso, 70 come from Ganadougou, an area of Sikasso composed of 10 municipalities, including the municipality of Nièna. These conflicts are often brought before the courts in Bamako. The land commissions are helping to end this situation. There have been recommendations to send back the cases that are pending before the courts, given that the land commissions can help resolve these conflicts in a more permanent way.”

Mohamed Barry, Secretary General of the Mayor, Nièna Municipality

 

Mali enacts Agricultural Land Law to advance recognition of customary rights, improve governance, strengthen rights of women and affirm the conflict-resolution role of local land commissions

The new Agricultural Land Law creates opportunities to scale up the role of land commissions in decentralized land management and local conflict resolution.