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Securing land rights in Mali: practical local solutions to thorny national problems

In rural Mali, competition over access to land is driving conflicts between farmers, herders and fisher folk. Land users and the authorities have to contend with ineffective land legislation and administrative practices, and customary rights that have not adapted to a changing situation. A sense of secure land rights requires clear and transparent public mechanisms for land transfers that are accessible to everyone regardless of social status or sex. This briefing shares lessons from a project developing ‘land tools’ in southern Mali for documenting land transactions and recording multiple interests in land at the local level. In particular, it discusses how a participatory process for developing such tools is as important as the tools themselves.

This briefing has been produced under IIED’s Legal tools for citizen empowerment project.

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Land is life for millions of people across rural Africa. It is central for ensuring they have enough food to eat. Even if they are involved in other trades, land is an essential safety net for the rural poor during times of economic instability and helps define cultures and identities.

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