Thursday, 22 March 2007
LANDSAFE INVESTMENT TRUSTS FOR CUSTOMARY LAND AND PROTECTED AREAS IN ZAMBIA
A PRELIMINARY GUIDE PREPARED FOR CUSTOMARY LEADERS, GOVERNMENT AND COMMUNITY RESOURCE BOARDS
WHAT IS A LANDSAFE INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP
A Landsafe investment partnership is made up of the local community and government, investors, and local and international NGOs. It is a sustainable business partnership of equals who share a common goal of integrating community development with that of biodiversity and land conservation. It is investment driven; and it does not take away customary land.
A Landsafe partnership may be registered as a trust company under the Companies Act CAP 388 of the Zambian Laws (limited by guarantee) or under the Land (Perpetual Succession ) Act (Cap. 186 of the Laws of Zambia) - non-profit, having as its trustees the chief (chairman of the headmen), the investor, a representatives of the main partner NGO, the Community Resource Board (dealing with wildlife interests) and the District Council (or a governmental organization in the case of protected areas such as ZAWA and the Forestry Department) in which the programme is being conducted, and other key stakeholders.
WHY DO CHIEFDOMS NEED LANDSAFE DEVELOPMENT?
The chiefdoms cover more than 94% of the land in Zambia and contain a wealth of natural resources. Development has not come to these areas, and the opportunities for attaining food security and the raising of living standards are few in places where villages are scattered, lie far from Government services and from markets, and where crops are preyed upon by wildlife. The Government does not have the money or the capacity to deliver full development, and donor support merely ensures continued dependency on aid. The way forward is to encourage investment, but investment which comes in as a partner of communities, that supports the traditional structures and that does not take away the land.
HOW CAN A LANDSAFE INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP ASSIST DEVELOPMENT?
Chiefs are empowered under the Lands Act No. 29 of 1995 to dispose of land for up to 99 years on leasehold tenure – provided Government agree. Driven by a need to generate income, chiefs are selling off land, removing it forever from the community. The Landsafe model ensures that land remains in the villagers’s control – except, in exceptional cases, perhaps for small areas needed for high-cost buildings. Chiefdoms also do not own the wildlife of their areas, this resource being held by Government and given out as yearly hunting quotas. In support of Government’s policy of de-centralization and devolution, the Wildlife Act of 1998 offers an opportunity for the community to obtain more powers over its own wildlife resources – one of its main opportunities for raising living standards and for wealth creation, giving as one of its main objectives ‘to facilitate the active participation of local communities in the management of the wildlife estate’. This Act, also allows for the recognition of Community Resource Boards (CRBs), which, representing the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), may obtain and make use of game quotas and are responsible for the protection of wildlife and people (from wildlife – the original function of ZAWA’s predecessor organizations). However, CRBs are only empowered under the Wildlife Act, making the formation of Trusts – with responsibility for all natural resources, essential. Landsafe makes use of these two Acts – as well as the proposed Forest Act of 1999 and the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) – and the recent National Policy on Environment (May 2006), to lay the groundwork for the future development of customary land so as to conserve the biodiversity and, at the same time, to stimulate much needed rural development.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF LANDSAFE PARTNERS?
• The Customary Authority
The Authority i.e. the chiefs and their headmen, is, along with the investor, the co-director of the Trust responsible for the development of the area, lending to it his traditional powers and those enshrined under the Lands Act, ensuring that secure access to and use of the land is possible, and that the community benefits.
• The Community Resource Board
The CRB, being only empowered under the Wildlife Act, is there to assist in the sustained use of the wildlife resources for the benefit of the community – in particular in taking ownership of game quotas and for deploying and managing village scouts, protectors of the very resource which should be sustainably utilized. It is also the vehicle to serve the community by making applications, where feasible, for wildlife harvesting rights, as allowed under Part 3(3) of the Wildlife Act – a rarely invoked right.
• The Investor/manager
The role of the investor/manager is to provide the seed money to start the project, to recruit other investors, and perhaps to manage the development. For this to happen there has to be an incentive to do so, as well as the necessary protection and security of tenure for the investors. The manager will also have the crucial role of managing a conservation area (a conservancy), one containing scattered communities, and possibly endangered species and protected areas. This is an holistic development requiring experience in wildlife management, biodiversity protection, tourism development, artisanal and commercial agriculture, forest exploitation, community development and small business development.
• The NGOs
The NGOs act as umpires between managers and investors, the customary authority, the community based organizations (CBOs) and Government. They assist the scheme to grow, and lay the groundwork for long-term sustainability. Crucially, they are empowered to carry out community development, identifying projects through participatory rapid rural appraisal, developing project proposals, drawing on money built up in a trust fund, as well as accessing donor funds for micro-level development.
WHAT WILL LANDSAFE INVESTMENT DO IN ZAMBIA?
• It will create a business partnership between the community, Government and investors, expressed in the form of a trust company in which the chiefdom, the investor/manager, NGOs, CBOs and the District Councils are subscribers
• It will allow ‘use and occupancy’ (usufruct) of land – from which it will derive rentals – managed by the trust in a trust fund, to benefit the community and the biodiversity on which it depends
• It will help to empower the CBOs so that they are better able to conserve the natural resources of the chiefdom for the benefit of all concerned
• It will provide for sustainable agricultural and natural resource development
• It will improve livelihoods and, in comparative terms, create wealth
• It will provide food security
• It will provide a framework for sustainable donor involvement
• It will provide a model and framework for the delivery of true rural development, particularly in resource rich areas
• It will not alienate the land
WHAT DO THESE WORDS MEAN?
Biological diversity (biodiversity): the variations in biological organisms at ecosystem, species and gene level
Authority over land held under customary tenureLandsafe
An integrated conservation and development model (symbolized by the traditional African chair) established within areas of customary tenure and associated protected areas, and carried out by a partnership between investors, customary authorities and government, and non-government organizations
A conserved area (not, necessarily, a game ranch)
Land held under customary tenure i.e. Open Areas and Game Management Areas
The custodian of land held under customary tenure (chiefs and headmen)
Land held, through long tradition, by village headmen under the chairmanship of a chief (Appendix 4 of the Laws of Zambia)
The allocation of responsibilities for decision-making and operations to lower levels of government, community organizations, private sector, and NGOs
The transfer of power from a central to a subordinate level of organization, particularly from a central government to regional or local governments
A dynamic complex of plants, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit
Commonly hunted animal species specified under the Wildlife Act
The principle which makes for the origin and progress of wholes in the universe. It is not only creative but self-creative, and its final structures are far more holistic than its initial structures
The management of the whole
An area where authority to hunt within a specified hunting block has been given by ZAWA and the local community, to a company for a specified period of time
The conversion of land from customary tenure to leasehold tenure: provisionary – 14
years; full title – 99 years (renewable)
The rights of individuals or groups over arable, grazing and residential land, how such rights are acquired, what they consist of, how they operate in the holding, transfer and inheritance of land and how they may be extinguished
The resident ‘owners’ of customary land - including GMAs, other than owners of tourist and camp lodges or hunting concessions – who by virtue of their rights over land, invest in and should derive benefits from the sustainable utilization of the natural resources in their area; or as defined by ZAWA in the 2003 Safari Lease Agreement as ‘The total number of villages, their residents and traditional rulers within a Game Management Area
Land and its biological resources: the soils, vegetation and the fauna
Customary land not included in GMAs
One who shares risks, losses and profits
Private game ranches
Fenced privately owned property (leasehold) (ZAWA: Draft Policy on Private Wildlife Estates)
Land which is not situated in a customary area (Lands Act 1995)
A set of chosen actions to support the achievement of a specified development goal
Use of an organism, ecosystem or other renewable resource at a rate within its capacity for renewal
Legal and institutional framework which determines the ways in which rights to natural resources (property rights) are defined and enforced
The principle of customary tenure whereby anyone can have access to and the use of a piece of land but cannot claim any form of ownership of it. The latter implies in English jurisprudence – from which Zambia’s laws are derived, title to the lands and full rights of management including the rights of alienation (ownership at law) but not necessarily possession or enjoyment of benefits which may belong to the owner at equity.