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Securing long term land-use rights for the community and conservation objectives

Published: 14 May 2019
Last edited: 14 May 2019

Clear land ownership and land tenure (the right to use land) are the basic preconditions for the implementation of any habitat management measure. Land-use rights of all beneficiaries needs to be clear and secure before project initiatives commence to avoids risk of undocumented dimensions in the planning and implementation of conservation measures. It also secures long-term interest of the land user to manage the land sustainably. The purpose of this measure is to clarify, legally regulate, obtain and hold land tenure rights needed for conservation actions and for sustainable livelihood. Land tenure rights encompasses land ownership, lease of land and/or other rights related to the use of land. 

 

In Georgia, most land is state owned. But after the breakdown of the Soviet Union land tenure rights have not been properly documented or registered. Today, traditional land-use rights based on verbal agreements and traditions are translated into legally documented/registered leases by the CBOs representing their respective villages. Resolving uncertain land tenure is one of the major benefits the ECF is bringing to partner communities, providing them with a clear economic perspective for the future while preserving the existing community management of shared pastures and meadows. 

Classifications

Category
Alliance and partnership development
Co-management building
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Legal and policy frameworks, policy advocacy
Management planning
Sustainable livelihoods
Scale of implementation
Local
Subnational
National
Phase of solution
Implementation

Enabling factors

  1. Readiness of state property authorities to document and register the existing community land use rights 
  2. Completion of a land tenure study to understand the land tenure uncertainties and existing rights 
  3. Accurate mapping of entire conservation area and communication of these findings (maps, figures, reports) accessible to the community and authorities
  4. Active involvement of local governments (municipality and department levels) 
  5. Voluntary involvement of local authorities, departments and administration
  6. Proper compensation for land-use

Lessons learned

  • Properly identify land-use rights and open issues including research, data collection and GIS analysis performed i) formally (municipal and regional data collection), and ii) informally (discussions with locals).
  • Consideration of information documentation and lack of documentation. Locals may use pasturelands/meadows in a traditional way, with little or no documentation of their user rights. In the frame of the project, the land-use needs to be considered in both formal/political contexts and informal/traditional contexts. 
  • Communication between multiple land management bodies in Georgia (state, municipality, community, private) and land-use designations (forests, agricultural, protected areas, private land). Positive relationships and active communication with all stakeholders leads to healthy working relationships
  • Consideration of national and regional politics integral to securing land-use rights. 
  • Sufficient budgeting of costs required to obtain land-use rights