Dans : Global Environmental Change, ISSN: 0959-3780, Vol: 83, Page: 102763

Année de publication : 2023

Auteurs : Mathijs van Leeuwen, Gemma van der Haar, An Ansoms, Joël Baraka Akilimali, Emery Mushagalusa Mudinga, Patient Mulumeoderhwa Polepole, Camille Munezero

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2023.102763


The last two decades, a variety of –mostly donor-led– initiatives have aimed at ‘localizing’ land tenure registration, specifically in conflict-affected settings, making the registration of land rights more accessible to rural smallholders. In such settings, land registration is seen not just as instrumental to tenure security and economic development; but also to prevent land-related violence and promote sustainable peace. However, to reach such goals proves extremely complex. This paper explores discourses and practices of localized land tenure registration in Burundi and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). More specifically, we explore how these efforts are marked by the absence of reliable state action, by institutional competition, and by the risk of elite capture. We organize our discussion around three common assumptions about land registration interventions: that they will 1) contribute to clarifying and protecting land rights; 2) help the most tenure insecure, notably women, to strengthen their rights to land; and 3) prevent disputes. Based on our findings from Burundi and the eastern DRC we suggest that the expectations of registration efforts need to be tempered. On the one hand, localized land tenure registration risks to become part of the dynamics that reproduce conflict. On the other hand, it is not able, on its own, to create the more fundamental changes necessary for a sustainable peace.