The Impact of Climate Change on Indigenous Peoples’ Land Tenure and Use

The Case for a Regional Policy in Africa

in International Journal on Minority and Group Rights
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In Africa, owing to a lifestyle that is culturally and collectively dependent on land and its natural resources, indigenous peoples are adversely affected by climate change. This is despite the fact that they contribute least to its cause. While this situation requires the protection of indigenous peoples’ land tenure and use, this is generally not yet the reality in the domestic laws of states in Africa. Premised on four propositions, this article makes a case for a regional policy to safeguard indigenous peoples’ land tenure and use in the light of climate change challenge in Africa. In the main, the propositions are: the indigenous peoples have a distinctive perception of land tenure and use relevant for adaptation and mitigation purposes; the land tenure and use is adversely affected by climate change; there is weak protection of indigenous peoples’ land tenure and use under the national and international climate change response frameworks, particularly the National Adaptation Programmes Plan of Action (napa) documentation as well as land-related Clean Development Mechanism (cdm) and redd+ mitigation initiatives; and there are emerging regional activities with the potential to crystallise into a statement of policy. The proposed policy which should embody detailed normative and institutional safeguards on land tenure and use, the article recommends, can be initiated by the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (amcen) and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) for the protection of indigenous peoples facing the adverse impact of climate change in Africa.

The Impact of Climate Change on Indigenous Peoples’ Land Tenure and Use

The Case for a Regional Policy in Africa

in International Journal on Minority and Group Rights



  • 14

    Africa Conservation Conventionsupra note 13 Article 17.

  • 18

    Ndahindasupra note 6 pp. 1–13; Bojosi supra note 6.

  • 19

    Working Group Reportsupra note 8 pp. 86–89; F. Viljoen International Human Rights Law in Africa (Oxford University Press United Kingdom 2012) p. 230.

  • 20

    Working Group Reportsupra note 8 p. 92.

  • 29

    Wachirasupra note 21 pp. 316–317; C. Daniels ‘Indigenous Rights in Namibia’ in R. Hitchrock and D. Vinding (eds.) Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Southern Africa (iwgia 2004) p. 54.

  • 34

    Okoth-Ogendosupra note 26 p. 3; M. H. Wilson Reaction to Conquest: Effects of Contact with Europeans on the Pondo of South Africa (Oxford University Press New York 1961) p. 113.

  • 41

    Okoth-Ogendosupra note 26 p. 12.

  • 48

    Burketsupra note 47 p. 98; B. Ganz ‘Indigenous Peoples and Land Tenure: An Issue of Human Rights and Environmental Protection’ 9 Georgia International Environmental Law Review (1997) p. 173.

  • 49

    Abate and Kronksupra note 5 p. 112.

  • 54

    J. Lüdert‘Nature(s) Revisited: Identities and Indigenous Peoples’ p. 20 visited on 3 June 2013.

  • 57

    Desmetsupra note 39 p. 48.

  • 72

    Quan and Dyersupra note 71 pp. 7–8; L. A. Crippa ‘redd+: Its Potential to melt Glacial Resistance to recognise Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights at the World Bank’ in Abate and Kronk supra note 5 p. 123; Abate and Kronk supra note 5 pp. 5–8.

  • 74

    Gorte and Sheikhsupra note 71 p. 1; Toulmin supra note 1 pp. 74–75.

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    Barumesupra note 69; see also Toulmin supra note 1 p. 77.

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    Olengurumwasupra note 81 p. 22.

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    Barumesupra note 69 p. 70.

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    Barumesupra note 69.

  • 91

    Kidd and Kenricksupra note 21 p. 22.

  • 100

    World Rainforest MovementDams Struggles Against the Modern Dinosaurs pp. 16–17 visited on 27 May 2013 hereafter referred to as Dam Struggles.

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    Dam Strugglesibid. p. 28.

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    Barumesupra note 69 pp. 68–70; M. M. Cernea and K. Schmidt-Soltau ‘Poverty Risks and National Parks: Policy Issues in Conservation and Resettlement’ 34:10 World Development (2006) pp. 1808–1830.

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    Colchestersupra note 105 p. 5.

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  • 113

    Working Group Reportsupra note 8 p. 18.

  • 117

    Working Group Reportsupra note 8 p. 16.

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    Tebtebba Foundationsupra note 115 p. 481.

  • 119

    Working Group Reportsupra note 8 pp. 18–19.

  • 121

    Working Group Reportsupra note 8 p. 17.

  • 136

    Warnersupra note 127 p. 27.

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    Abate and Konksupra note 5 p. 10; Crippa supra note 72.

  • 147

    Toulminsupra note 1 p. 128; however the benefit of the cdm particularly in relation to afforestation and reforestation has been questioned for promoting large monoculture tree plantations in the veil of afforestation and reforestation. In addition the benefits of forest carbon projects under the cdm for the poor are doubted because of the low carbon price and its trade off with competing activities in support of local needs see B. Fischer et al. ‘Implementation and opportunity costs of reducing deforestation and forest degradation in Tanzania’ Nature Climate Change (2011) pp. 161–164; C. Mbow Could Carbon buy Food? The Stakes of Mitigation versus Adaptation to Climate Change in African Countries 5 GLP News Letter (2009) pp. 20–23.

  • 148

    Toulminsupra note 1 p. 130.

  • 154

    Uganda Land Act 1998Article 44.

  • 155

    Nigeria Land Use Act 1990Articles 1 and 5 respectively vest land in the presidency and the governors.

  • 156

    Zambia Land Act 1995Article 3 vests ownership of land in the presidency to keep in trust for Zambians.

  • 157

    Tanzania Land Act 1999Article 1(1) (a).

  • 159

    The Constitution of Kenya 2010hereafter referred to as Constitution of Kenya.

  • 163

    Tanzania Forest Act 2002Article 47(g).

  • 179

    Agideesupra note 178 p. 21.

  • 212

    Toulminsupra note 1.

  • 215

    Central African Reportsupra note 214 p. 13.

  • 217

    Resolution 153supra note 216 see recital section generally.

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