Good Land Governance for Climate Change Adaptation

Land governance in Africa has been crippled by millennial challenges like climate change, food insecurity, rapid urbanization, environmental degradation and lack of capacity to mitigate against climate change.

Land governance is about policies, processes and institutions by which land, property and natural resources are managed. In Africa land is not only a source of livelihood but has been used as a spiritual and cultural sanctuary. The African communities have had institutions set in place for land governance since the pre-colonial era to the present day. Customary land tenure is one of the deep-rooted systems.

The humankind has also evolved over time in extreme ways. Some of our behaviours as humans have been harmful to the surroundings with extreme impacts on climate. Climate change is not a conspiracy people!!

Charcoal burning fuels climate change
Charcoal burning as a source of livelihood in Pader Northern Uganda.

Land governance in Africa has been crippled by millennial challenges like climate change, food insecurity, rapid urbanization, environmental degradation and lack of capacity to mitigate against climate change. Africa already has a complex land tenure system and with the above problems added it becomes even harder to attain economic stability and zero poverty SDG 1.sdg1.jpg

The intergovernmental panel on climate change report IPCC 2019   has indicated the linkages between land and climate change. The report mentions how overexploitation of the land resources contributes to the planet warming. It also highlights how agriculture and other land use activities make up to 24% of greenhouse gases which is the main source of climate change.

With all these said the question is, Does Africa have the adaptive capacity in terms of land governance policies to combat the climate change vulnerabilities. Insecure land tenures are drivers to unsustainable land uses and keep the Africa poor and vulnerable groups from thriving.

The Global Land Tool Network publication, Land Tenure and Climate Vulnerability confirm that given the importance of secure land tenure to reducing vulnerability to multiple shocks and stresses, investments in responsible land governance will not only enhance climate resilience but will also improve policy performance when measured against a range of global framework.


Land poses an opportunity in combating climate change. Africa needs to urgently develop capacities on climate change in all levels of land management (village to national to regional for better implementation of the adaptation and mitigation strategies.

The African Union has been vocal in pushing the member countries to implement the regional and international agreements to reduce climate change adversities. African countries are tasked to develop policies which put climate change at the forefront to achieve sustainable development.

Responsible land administration builds strong capacities in post-natural disaster recovery, strong policies mitigate the overexploitation of resources and maintain balance in the ecosystem. These are policies which control the access and use of land. For example, policies which identify and control access of areas prone to the impact of climate change such as flooding.

This brings the agenda of land and corruption. Policies set in place should be implemented without any political patronages. I am sure we have seen a politician advising people to settle on water catchment areas. (I didn’t say that out loud …or did I??

The developing nations need to set policy initiative and set targets to purse in this journey. I mean come on, we don’t have a second Earth.

4 thoughts on “Good Land Governance for Climate Change Adaptation”

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