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Rule of law for whom? : questioning the beneficiaries of Mozambican land and resource rights

Magin, Pascale LU (2015) In Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science MESM02 20151
LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
Abstract
In recent years, land acquisition has escalated due to increased global demand for food and fuel driven by population growth, urbanisation, and growing energy demand. Mozambique is ranked as one of the world’s top 10 countries with available land for agriculture, forestry and livestock production. Low labour costs and land taxes may further increase the interest in Mozambican land. In particular, the Northern province Cabo Delgado is attractive for investors due to its natural resources. The dynamics of land acquisition may have negative consequences for rural communities, as they directly depend on the access to land and associated natural resources for their livelihoods.
Property rights to land are key in fostering economic prosperity... (More)
In recent years, land acquisition has escalated due to increased global demand for food and fuel driven by population growth, urbanisation, and growing energy demand. Mozambique is ranked as one of the world’s top 10 countries with available land for agriculture, forestry and livestock production. Low labour costs and land taxes may further increase the interest in Mozambican land. In particular, the Northern province Cabo Delgado is attractive for investors due to its natural resources. The dynamics of land acquisition may have negative consequences for rural communities, as they directly depend on the access to land and associated natural resources for their livelihoods.
Property rights to land are key in fostering economic prosperity and Mozambican Land Law is said to be one of the most progressive in Africa. This thesis focuses on the role of property rights to land in terms of sustaining communities’ sources of livelihood (land and forest resources), more specifically looking into Mozambican Land Law and how it protects and supports rural communities. After interviewing 90 community members in Cabo Delgado in 2014, I furthermore analyse to what extent the legal framework for rights to land and forest resources is applied in practice.
Key findings from this thesis show that the Mozambican Land Law theoretically supports rural communities and strengthens the security of land tenure for smallholders by automatically granting rights to individuals and communities that occupy the land. It also entails participatory mechanisms such as community consultations and delimitation. However, results from my quantitative study show that the implementation in rural Cabo Delgado is fragmentary. Little knowledge about the legal framework exists, few communities are consulted before investments, neither possess they documentary proof of their rights, nor have they received the economic compensation they are entitled to by law. Additionally, rural communities face poor access to information and high costs for legal processes, which puts them in a weaker position. This might reinforce social stratification, with serious effects on marginalised groups such as women or pastoralists, as they are often left out in decision-making.
Legal empowerment may help to overcome this power imbalance and to strengthen rural communities’ participation. Procedural and distributive justice has to be achieved to foster sustainable development and to decrease disparities in wealth. This debate will become even more important in the future, as commercial pressure on land will increase in Cabo Delgado with natural gas discoveries along the coast. (Less)
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author
Magin, Pascale LU
supervisor
organization
course
MESM02 20151
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
sustainability science, power structures, economic compensation, land acquisition, property rights
publication/series
Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science
report number
2015:011
funder
Danish Forestry Extension (DFE)
language
English
id
5463382
date added to LUP
2015-06-04 09:37:31
date last changed
2015-06-04 09:37:31
@misc{5463382,
  abstract     = {In recent years, land acquisition has escalated due to increased global demand for food and fuel driven by population growth, urbanisation, and growing energy demand. Mozambique is ranked as one of the world’s top 10 countries with available land for agriculture, forestry and livestock production. Low labour costs and land taxes may further increase the interest in Mozambican land. In particular, the Northern province Cabo Delgado is attractive for investors due to its natural resources. The dynamics of land acquisition may have negative consequences for rural communities, as they directly depend on the access to land and associated natural resources for their livelihoods.
Property rights to land are key in fostering economic prosperity and Mozambican Land Law is said to be one of the most progressive in Africa. This thesis focuses on the role of property rights to land in terms of sustaining communities’ sources of livelihood (land and forest resources), more specifically looking into Mozambican Land Law and how it protects and supports rural communities. After interviewing 90 community members in Cabo Delgado in 2014, I furthermore analyse to what extent the legal framework for rights to land and forest resources is applied in practice.
Key findings from this thesis show that the Mozambican Land Law theoretically supports rural communities and strengthens the security of land tenure for smallholders by automatically granting rights to individuals and communities that occupy the land. It also entails participatory mechanisms such as community consultations and delimitation. However, results from my quantitative study show that the implementation in rural Cabo Delgado is fragmentary. Little knowledge about the legal framework exists, few communities are consulted before investments, neither possess they documentary proof of their rights, nor have they received the economic compensation they are entitled to by law. Additionally, rural communities face poor access to information and high costs for legal processes, which puts them in a weaker position. This might reinforce social stratification, with serious effects on marginalised groups such as women or pastoralists, as they are often left out in decision-making.
Legal empowerment may help to overcome this power imbalance and to strengthen rural communities’ participation. Procedural and distributive justice has to be achieved to foster sustainable development and to decrease disparities in wealth. This debate will become even more important in the future, as commercial pressure on land will increase in Cabo Delgado with natural gas discoveries along the coast.},
  author       = {Magin, Pascale},
  keyword      = {sustainability science,power structures,economic compensation,land acquisition,property rights},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Master Thesis Series in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science},
  title        = {Rule of law for whom? : questioning the beneficiaries of Mozambican land and resource rights},
  year         = {2015},
}