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Research Webinar | The politics and de-politicization of pro-poor land tenure registration in conflict-affected settings

Monday March 8, 2021, from 13:15 to 14:45
Research seminar

Mathijs van Leeuwen (Radboud University Nijmegen)
DiscussantMartijn Vlaskamp (IBEI)

Available in video:

Land tenure security of smallholders is seen as essential to prevent land disputes, enable a recovery of livelihoods and contribute to sustainable peace in many conflict-affected settings in sub-Saharan Africa. Aware of the shortcomings of state-led, centralized land titling, policy makers and development organizations now favour localized and simplified land registration procedures. But while localizing land registration is challenging in stable settings, the potential complications are even more critical in conflict-affected settings, where land tenure reform easily gets politicized. In this presentation, I will reflect on the politics and de-politicization involved in the discourses that legitimize localizing land registration; the political competition around these programmes; and the politics of the outcomes of pro-poor land registration, therein highlighting findings from our collaborative research project ‘Securing Tenure, Sustainable Peace?’

Mathijs van Leeuwen is a rural development sociologist, who specialises in conflict and peacebuilding in developing countries. After his graduation at Wageningen University in 1999, he worked as a researcher at Clingendael, and with various NGOs in Kenya, Sudan, Guatemala and Bolivia. His PhD research at Wageningen Disaster Studies (2004-2008) concerned discourses and practices of civil society peacebuilding and their international support, with fieldwork in a.o. Burundi and Guatemala.

Since 2009, Mathijs works at the Centre for International Conflict Analysis and Management (CICAM). His current research work focuses on land disputes, post-conflict land reform, local peacebuilding, state formation, and the discourses of intervening organizations on conflict and peace. Many of his research projects are interactive in nature, and challenge policy makers and practitioners from development organizations to critically reflect on their own work and on the implications of research findings for policy and intervention.

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