Pastoral Land Tenure Security: A Focus on Land Certification among the Borana, Ethiopia

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2020-05, 2020-05

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Pastoralists in Ethiopia have suffered due to longstanding land tenure insecurity. One form of remedying this land tenure insecurity is an official guarantee entitling landholders not to lose rights over land unless exceptionally stipulated. This can be achieved through proper legal recognition and land certification process and procedure. The FDRE Constitution recognizes pastoralists’ right to free grazing land and guarantees them against eviction from their land. Even if implementation of rural land certification schemes in Ethiopia aimed at securing land tenure has been going on for the last two decades, pastoral lands have not received the required attention in this nationwide land certification program. This Thesis aims at factors contributing to pastoral land tenure insecurity, highlighting the importance of land certification, indicating possibility of pastoral land certification and exploring pastoral land tenure in Ethiopia with a focus on land certification process among the Borana. To this end, the Thesis builds on policies and laws, interviews and observations, literature review and experiences of other countries. The Thesis finds that land tenure insecurity of pastoral community emanates largely from lack of proper recognition under federal and regional rural land policies and laws as well as absence of pastoral land certification. Pastoral land certification is not similar with that of private/government holdings certification. Therefore, mechanisms which reflect its peculiarities are needed. The Borana Zone in Oromia NRS is the first ever to start certification of pastoral land by entertaining the uniqueness of pastoral land tenure in Borana pastoralist community. Two years lapse after certification of three “dheedas” (grazing areas), even though the certification process does not cover all grazing areas, the majorities of land holdings there are certified. The situations in certified “dheedas” are very promising. Implementation of pastoral land certification program in Borana shows the possibility of certification of pastoral land and its importance to strengthen land tenure security of pastoral community. Accordingly, this Thesis argues that, pastoral land can be certified, even though it has unique features and complex issues need to be settled. Pastoral land certification in Borana can be a good lesson to extend that experience to the rest of pastoral areas in the country and even beyond by contextualizing situations.



Certification, Ethiopia, Land tenure security, Pastoral land