If Not Private Property, then What? Legalizing Extra-Legal Rural Land Tenure Via a Third Road
35 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2010 Last revised: 8 Apr 2011
Date Written: November 6, 2010
All over the world rural smallholders hold their land in ways that are not formally recognized and protected by state law. But under the mounting pressure of encroachments on such rural land by big investors, elite interests, colonists and others, new official land law regimes have been introduced in many countries. The thesis that only western style property rights can provide sufficient tenure security to promote development has been criticized of late. But if not private property, then what? The new land law regimes show a bewildering variety of approaches. It is urgent to draw practical lessons from these approaches stressing real tenure security. Particularly interesting are those regimes in which extra legal (“customary”) community-based land tenure arrangements are built upon. In this article the need to introduce locally adapted land law is explained and cases are analysed from Mozambique, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Indonesia (Sumatra).
Keywords: land tenure, community-based land tenure, legalization, governance, development
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