The North-South Institute



Transforming Land-Related Conflict

Land Related Conflict Pub Cover

Transforming Land-Related Conflict

Published: May 2, 2006

After years of being relegated to the margins of development debates, land policy and conflict are receiving increased attention in many quarters. From Brazil to the Balkans, from Zimbabwe to Indonesia, there is growing concern among peoples’ organizations, governments, civil society networks, donors and scholars about the linkages between problematic land policies and violent conflicts. Many are searching for new solutions to the range of challenges at the nexus of land and violence.

What are some of those challenges? What approaches to land-related conflicts exist at the local level, and what is being learned from them in practice? What are international donor agencies doing at the interface of land and conflict? How are global civil society networks grappling with these issues? What could these and other actors do to promote the transformation of land-related conflicts?

This paper reflects on these questions through a review of primary documents and secondary literature. Section 2 analyzes current debates and practices on the resolution of land-related conflicts. Section 3 examines emerging efforts in selected donor agencies, and scans what four global civil society networks are doing at the nexus of land and conflict. Section 4 brings these threads together to identify some areas for reflection and action by different actors. Other dimensions, such as national strategies, regional initiatives, the role of the private sector and other land policy challenges, are only addressed in passing due to time and space limits. Through this joint product, the International Land Coalition and The North-South Institute aim to inform the efforts of a range of different actors trying to enhance their responses to challenges at the crossroads of land and conflict. Our emphasis is on practical options for these actors, but issues not amenable to easy solutions are also raised to provoke deeper reflection.

Author: Stephen Baranyi and Viviane Weitzner

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