Pioneering local mechanisms for resolving land conflicts
Land and forest tenure support project benefiting local communities in Mali
Pioneering local mechanisms for resolving land conflicts
Land and forest tenure support project benefiting local communities in Mali

The National Coordinating Body of Peasant Organizations in Mali (CNOP) and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation pioneered innovative approaches and tools for resolving tenure conflicts and encouraging collaborative natural resource management. The project capitalized on the opportunity to address land conflict in Mali, in the aftermath of Mali’s armed conflict, and contributed to achieving the 2015 Accord for Peace and Reconciliation. CNOP and HELVETAS organized and trained 17 local land commissions, established Mali’s first inter-community forest, and facilitated a local multi-stakeholder dialogue on mining. The potential for scaling up is promising, and the project is generating knowledge that will inform the development of cornerstone laws for rural land rights in Mali.

 

For the full story of the fight to implement land and forest rights in Mali go to the Timeline.

Strengthened the capacity of 17 local land commissions to resolve conflict over land and resources in rural communities where courts are often too remote and expensive for villagers to access — in 22 months

“The Tenure Facility pilot in Mali is strengthening national reconciliation and peace. Commissions help to calm the country. The pilot started in accessible areas in southern Mali, with a level of security that allows for movement on the ground. Based on the experience gained in these areas, we plan to expand project activities in the more volatile and conflict-prone part of the country.” — Célestin Dembélé, HELVETAS Mali

Goal

To accelerate the implementation of innovative measures contained in the new land policy for decentralized and peaceful management of natural resources

Objectives

  • Strengthen village and community land commissions’ operability
  • Demonstrate how collective rights can be recognized and implemented in a pilot intercommunal forest and through agreements between communities on social and environmental commitments
  • Host a strategic dialogue space on the implementation of the agricultural tenure policy and law

Actions

  • Build the capacity of new land management organizations
  • Support recognition of eight municipal-level commissions and nine village-level commissions
  • Develop a consensus-based management plan for a pilot intercommunal forest
  • Support negotiation of an agreement between a private mining company and a communal council
  • Establish and facilitate a national multi-stakeholder strategic orientation committee to support the implementation of the government’s Agricultural Land Policy

Results

  • Established, organized and trained 17 local land commissions – eight at the municipal level and nine at the village level
  • Reduced by 35% land conflicts in participating villages and 25% in participating municipalities
  • Mapped, demarcated and geo-referenced Mali’s first intercommunal forest area covering 4,220 hectares and prepared for official recognition
  • Organized and facilitated Mali’s first local multiparty dialogue on mining
  • Established and facilitated a national multi-stakeholder strategic orientation committee to support the implementation of Mali’s Agricultural Land Policy and the National Assembly’s development and enactment of the country’s landmark 2017 Agrarian Reform law
  • Engaged the High Council of Local Collectivities (Haut Conseil des Collectivités), the Permanent Secretariat of the High Council on Agriculture (Secrétariat Permanent du Conseil Supérieur de l’Agriculture), and other high-level government institutions to guide project activities, validate approaches and tools, and draft new legal instruments
“This pilot showed it was absolutely necessary to equip land tenure commissions so that communities and people will believe in them. The government is now convinced this is how things will be done.” — Boubacar Diarra, Project Coordinator

Impact

  • Addressed the urgent need to resolve longstanding conflict over land by pioneering, testing, and demonstrating scalable approaches and tools that rural municipalities and local communities can use to resolve conflicts among themselves and with government, investors, immigrants, and settlers
  • Set the stage for scaling the success of land commissions across the country by supporting and learning from the experiences of land commissions in the south, where conflict is more localized; the learning can be scaled to areas where conflict is more prevalent and widespread, particularly in the north
  • Built trusting and collaborative relationships between communities, government, civil society, and private sector that show the way forward in a post-conflict environment
“The intercommunal forest initiative is a very good thing, especially because it is located in Yorosso, at the gate of the desert. It is critical to manage it with local people. The same is true for the village land commissions, which can help local people manage their land conflicts and better understand the mechanisms of land management. That is why the land commissions are being spontaneously adopted by other villages. Some villages that did not work with the project heard about the experience of village land commissions and decided to organize their own to improve land management.”” — Bakary Diarra, Regional President of AOPP, Sikasso Region

Completed


From 01 November 2015
To 31 July 2017

Budget
US$657,400

Proponents

National Coordinating Body of Peasant Organizations in Mali (CNOP) and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation

HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation

Beneficiaries

Grassroots communities and their organizations, including family farmers and other vulnerable groups such as youth, women, migrants, and herders

The national ministries and authorities on land governance

High Council of Communities

CNOP

Stories

Mali’s new agricultural land law paves

way for scaling up the role of local land commissions

Three communities establish

a communal forest in Yorosso—at the gate of the desert

Lessons learned

  • Engagement in the design and implementation of land reform projects builds the ownership and commitment of policy-makers and government representatives, as well as local communities.
  • Developing and facilitating a neutral space and time for stakeholders to deliberate and negotiate is essential to changing norms, rules, and power relations that shape land and resource and fuel conflict.
  • More horizontal relationships, combined with increased trust and broader participation, enables a more reflexive discussion of current problems and potential in a community.
  • The use of less hierarchical communication results in a wider exchange of knowledge and experiences among project participants.

The National Coordinating Body of Peasant Organizations in Mali (CNOP) is building on the achievements and lessons of the Tenure Facility pilot project to upscale the role of local land commissions in securing land tenure rights and resolving conflict over land and resources. The initiative will contribute to achieving the 2015 Accord for Peace and Reconciliation by addressing land conflict, a root cause of the armed conflict. It will also support the implementation Mali’s Agricultural Land Law (LFA), which was enacted in 2017. The LFA recognizes the customary land rights of communities and family farmers, which can be secured through local land commissions.

Working with HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation, CNOP will consolidate the capacity and effectiveness of the 17 local land commissions established in the pilot, establish and support the operations of 100 more land commissions in three regions, and encourage the inclusion and participation of women and vulnerable groups in land governance. The initiative aims to encourage sustainable management of natural resources by promoting the agro-ecological farming. This innovative approach promotes environmental protection, climate change mitigation, social inclusion, and peaceful collaboration and co-existence.

For the full story of the fight to implement land and forest rights in Mali go to the Timeline.

Establishing and strengthening 100 new land commissions to secure land tenure rights farmers and resolve conflict over land and resources

“Mali's new Agricultural Land Law says 15% of lands must be allocated to women and young people. We are building the capacity of land commissions to encourage and support their participation, as well as the inclusion and participation of immigrant farmers, pastoralists, and nomads.” — Ibrahima Coulibaly, CNOP President

Goal

To secure community agricultural land for sustainable, equitable, and peaceful land management

Objectives

  • Strengthen village and community land commissions and support the creation of new ones
  • Train community leaders and land commissions on land management provisions and tools
  • Secure the collective land rights of villages and families
  • Prevent and resolve land conflicts
  • Improve relations among people and authorities involved in land management
  • Promote the involvement of women and young people in land management
  • Ensure the sustainable development of land through rural agro-ecology

Actions

  • Build the capacity of the 17 existing land commissions and establish and strengthen 100 new land commissions
  • Train community leaders and land commissions in land management, land-use planning, and conflict management
  • Secure collective lands and forests
  • Establish village land cadasters and train young people in mapping and demarcation
  • Prevent and resolve conflicts Foster understanding and ownership of legal provision, establish 1Build the capacity of new land management organizations
  • Build capacity of village leaders, local authorities, police and judges in negotiation and non-violent conflict management
  • Build capacity of women, youth, and vulnerable groups to participate effectively to secure their rights and contribute to land governance and management
  • Develop and support multi-stakeholder platforms for dialogue and exchange
  • Support recognition of eight municipal-level commissions and nine village-level commissions
  • Develop a consensus-based management plan for a pilot intercommunal forest
  • Support negotiation of an agreement between a private mining company and a communal council
  • Establish and facilitate a national multi-stakeholder strategic orientation committee to support the implementation of the government’s Agricultural Land Policy

 

Expected results

  • 17 existing land commissions operate effectively
  • 100 new land commissions operate effectively
  • Land commissions manage land effectively
  • Land commissions to manage conflict effectively
  • 10,000 hectares of community lands are identified, demarcated and registered
  • Land transactions are recorded
  • Local conventions for managing land and resources are developed and adopted
  • Space for cross-border dialogue created to address issues with Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Guinea
  • Land commissions establish three communal forests at the municipal and inter-municipal levels
  • Multi-stakeholder platforms are established at village, municipal, and regional levels
  • Women and young people are members of their land commission
  • Women and young people participate in local consultations on land management
  • Communities and family farms improve land management through agro-ecology
“Once collective lands have been secured and a village's territory has been mapped, the land commissions provide a space for community consultations on allocation and use of land and resources. It is in this space that women, youth, and vulnerable groups can negotiate access to land and resources. We need to prepare them and support them as they join, participate, and assert their rights. ” — Boubacar Diarra, Project Coordinator

Expected impact

  • Rural communities resolve conflicts among themselves and with government, investors, immigrants, and settlers, setting the stage for peaceful co-existence, development, and environmental protection
  • Mali is better prepared to scaled up land commissions across the country, including areas in the north where conflict is more prevalent
  • Communities, government, civil society, and private sector establish more trusting, supportive, and productive relationships that enable implementation of the FLA

Ongoing


From 01 January 2019
To 31 December 2021

Budget
US$1,500,000

Proponents

National Coordinating Body of Peasant Organizations in Mali (CNOP) and HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation

HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation

Permanent Secretariat of the High Council on Agriculture

Permanent Secretariat of the Domain and Land Reform

National Directorate of Water and Forests (DNEF)

Agriculture Land Security Advocacy Network (RP-SéFA)

Consultations Platform (Cadre de Concertation)

Cultural Association Act Sept

Malian Group Against Land Grabbing

Beneficiaries

Grassroots communities and their organizations, including family farmers and other vulnerable groups such as youth, women, migrants, and herders

National ministries and technical services responsible for agriculture, land issues, decentralization, and the environment

High Council of Communities

CNOP