TMG Think Tank for Sustainability

Linking land rights for smallholders to Land Degradation Neutrality targets

Studies in Benin and Kenya highlight the importance of securing communal tenure rights in land restoration projects

Dec 17, 2021

Linking land rights for smallholders to Land Degradation Neutrality targets

It is estimated that as much as 90% of the world’s soils could be degraded by 2050. It is for this reason that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has adopted Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) as a core target under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 - Life on Land.

As part of follow up to the Global Soil Week (GSW) project, TMG Research is coordinating two country-level projects to investigate how to implement LDN initiatives while fostering the land rights of smallholder farmers, pastoralists, and other marginalised resource users. The project is implemented by partner community-based civil society organisations in two countries: Kijabe Environment Volunteers Organization (KENVO) and Kereita Integrated Community Forest Association (KICOFA) in Kenya; and Association pour la Promotion des Initiatives Communautaires (APIC) in Benin.

In a first phase, the project has facilitated participatory mapping processes to determine the impact of planned land and forest restoration initiatives focusing, respectively, on Kereita Forest in Kiambu County (Kenya) and Three Rivers Forest (Benin).

The two reports show that forest-adjacent communities heavily depend on forest resources and forest-related activities. Proposed LDN forest protection measures are found to directly impact the communities’ land tenure rights and thereby their livelihood on levels such as household food security and income. While existing planning and conservation instruments hold the potential to safeguard tenure rights effectively, both reports conclude that current LDN initiatives do not protect communities against infringements on their legitimate tenure rights. Both reports therefore underscore the importance of recognising the legitimate land rights of communities living in areas targeted for restoration activiteis, and ensuring they have an equal voice in decision making processes that impact on these rights.

The two country reports can be read here:



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