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Centre of African Studies: News


Realising Justice? Negotiating Land Reform in Southern Africa: Engaging with Global Perspectives

Second workshop of an International Partnership and Mobility Scheme - Chrystal Macmillan Building 6th Floor, Mon 16th June 2016

Realising Justice? Negotiating Land Reform in Southern Africa

Second Year Workshop

Funded by the British Academy

Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh, Monday 16th May 2016

To register, click here.

This is the second in a series of workshops, research and training modules, funded by the British Academy’s International Partnership and Mobility Scheme to be conducted in Botswana, Edinburgh, Malawi and Zimbabwe addressing the critical issue of access to land and land reform in Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. The project recognizes the critical importance of land and its centrality in promoting wellbeing not only in national but also in local contexts. Scholars from Malawi, Edinburgh, Botswana and Zimbabwe are examining the impact of current land tenure systems and effects of land reform polices on livelihoods. The workshops seek to engage scholars from Africa and elsewhere to discuss the importance of land policies in the context of debates about development and fair distribution of resources. For the pressure on land use and access to land is one of the most pressing of global challenges to peace, sustainability and justice in the twenty-first century.

The inaugural workshop was held in Gaborone, Botswana in 2015 and began the process of developing a research agenda and a strategy for engagement of policymakers, practitioners and governments in the region and donor countries. This second workshop aims to expand its remit in recognising the global dimensions of regulating access to and use of land and the challenges that they represent across jurisdictions.  The aim is to identify common problems that are shared across jurisdictions as well as ascertaining the differential impacts that arise from the specific contexts in which land tenure is negotiated in national and local domains. In doing so it also aims to engage with perspectives and experiences from other countries and areas in the world, in order to address the transnational impact of regulating land and the global effects that such regulation has.

To this end this workshop will explore: 1) the norms that underpin international and transnational governance regimes regulating access to and use of land and the extent to which they have an impact on individual countries’ jurisdictions on land; 2) who are the actors who are engaged in this field and to what extent do their perspectives overlap or conflict with one another when it comes to promoting equitable and sustainable governance over land?; 3) what impact does globalization have on the recognition of the legitimacy of plural orders, such as statutory, religious or customary law, and the authority that is accorded to them?; and 4) what are the most pressing challenges that counties face in administering land and implementing reform given the global pressures that are brought to bear by international and transnational agencies and institutions?

The workshop is interdisciplinary in nature, drawing on disciplines and perspectives from architecture and planning, law, political sciences and gender studies. Please see attached programme for details.