Making laws and building institutions in the Sahel: The case of Niger

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The changes currently being made by Sahelian countries in the sphere of land use and resource management laws are discussed. Changes are being made to accommodate increased local participation in resource management, the recognition of customary ownership rights, and the integration of customary tenure and management systems. Environmental degradation, population pressure, and the drive of urban elite to acquire land and invest in commercial agriculture have put new pressures on rural systems and revealed embedded contradictions over resource control. In rural Niger, as elsewhere in Africa, the conjunction of these pressures has led to increasing conflicts between family members, farmers, herders, and traditional chiefs and their dependents. To address these different issues, the Government of Niger has undertaken since 1986 the formulation of a major land legislation project, the Rural Code. The situation in Niger is discussed in: the history of land policies in Niger until 1987; conflicts and land policies; creating tenure institutions for conflict resolution; lessons from past commissions; the Rural Code in 1993; and the obligation of conciliation, empowering local institutions. (CAB Abstracts)


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Resource utilization, Tenure systems, Environmental management, Local population, Legislation, Ownership, Land management, Rural development, Governance


Entwicklung and Landlicher-Raum 29(6): 19-22