Legal empowerment for accountable, just and equitable governance of land and investment in Cameroon
Large land areas in Cameroon are under agribusiness and logging concessions. While private sector investments hold out promise for green development and poverty reduction, the country faces key governance challenges, including a legal system in flux and weak regulation of rural land relations. Uncoordinated, overlapping investments have created scarcity in specific places, and tensions between investors and communities. The government has launched a process to revise the country’s land laws. This offers opportunities to promote more just, equitable, and effective approaches to land governance.
Against that backdrop, this action-research project, implemented by the Cameroon-based Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement will test two sets of interventions: a local-level community-investor dialogue process, supported by junior lawyers and local support staff, and a national-level process to facilitate effective public participation in land policy and reform debates. The project will examine strategies to: enable communities, women, youth, and indigenous groups to secure their tenure rights in the face of land-related investments and address community-investor challenges; facilitate the equitable participation of organizations representing marginalized groups, including women, youth, and indigenous peoples, in national-level policy debates; and address social differentiation and power imbalances at both the local and national levels.
Findings are expected to contribute to the improved ability of communities to secure their tenure rights; the more equitable participation of women and indigenous groups in local land governance and decision-making processes; improved capacity of civil society organizations to contribute to land reform processes; and the sharing of lessons internationally. This project is part of a group of IDRC-supported projects in sub-Saharan Africa entitled “Using action research to improve land rights and governance for communities, women, and vulnerable groups”.