Panel 3


Formalisation of access and trade in land and natural resources: Inter‐sectoral lesson sharing from and for forestry, mining, fisheries, and land tenure

Wednesday 5 June 08.30- 10.00 (first session), 10.30 -12.00 (second session), Fujisan Hall

Presented Papers

Part 1 of this two-part panel includes the following papers:

Part 2 of this two-part panel includes the following papers:

For more information on this panel, contact Paolo Cerutti (p.cerutti@cgiar.or) and Louis Putzel (


Synthesis/Introductory Paper: Formalisation of access and trade in land and natural resources: Inter-sectoral lesson sharing from and for forestry, mining, fisheries, and land tenure

Louis Putzel1 and Paolo Cerutti2
1Center for International Forestry Research, (CIFOR)

No abstract


Formalisation of chainsaw milling in Central Africa: opportunities and potential impacts

Paolo Omar Cerutti1,2, Richard Eba’a Atyi1, Edouard Essiane1, Guillaume Lescuyer1,3, Raphael Tsanga1
1Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
2Australian National University (ANU)

During the last two decades, all countries in Central Africa adopted new laws for the management of their forests. Two major frameworks contributed to the drafting of those laws. On the one side, the ideas synthetized by the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, such as a more responsible forest management, new roles for rural communities in the management of forested landscapes, and a more equitable redistribution of the benefits accrued from the exploitation of the forest. On the other, the structural adjustment plans that all countries in Central Africa had to enact as a consequence of the economic crisis that hit in the 1980s. The plans pushed all countries to look for desperately needed economic resources, and in the respective forestry sectors, this resulted in the creation of new fiscal schemes that applied to clearly demarcated, large-scale forest management units, generally leased to internationally owned, export-oriented, logging companies. In the process, smaller-scale forestry activities, such as those conducted by individual or small enterprises, normally with chainsaws in areas not demarcated for large-scale harvesting, fell below the radar of policies and laws that remained focused on increasing State revenues. As a consequence, such activities developed and grew in the informal economy, largely unregulated for, only to be “rediscovered” by the State in the 2000s, when national and international pressures mounted to fight illegal logging and timber trade. This paper examines the evolution and the characteristics of the informal timber sectors in the countries of Central Africa, with a focus on the potential impacts that “formalisation” efforts, such as those deployed in the framework of the EU’s Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan, may exert on rural communities and chainsaw millers’ livelihoods and environment.

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Formalising the Non-Timber Forest Product Trade: Experiences from Southern Africa

Rachel Wynberg1, Jaci van Niekerk1, Witness Kozanayi1 and Sarah Laird2
1University of Cape Town, South Africa
2People and Plants International, US

No abstract


Case Analysis on the Formalisation of Artisanal Mining in Rwanda and DRC

International Peace Information Service, Antwerp, Belgium

Over the last decades Eastern Congo’s mineral exploitation became exclusively artisanal. Ever since, mineral production and trade have played an important role in the financing of armed groups and consequently the prolongation of insecurity. The Central Government’s lack of control over the eastern part of the country, including the artisanal mining sector, offers an opportunity for all armed actors (state as well as non-state actors) to profit from the mineral wealth. The fact that artisanal mining predominantly occurs informally renders it difficult for Kinshasa to gain a hold on the sector and, therefore, to effectively tackle the conflict mineral phenomenon. Additionally, Kinshasa misses out on a significant portion of tax revenues from the sector. Yet, despite the involvement of armed groups, including state actors, artisanal mining is an essential livelihood strategy, in a country where very little alternative sources of income exist.

Although the 2002 Mining Code created some provisions to formalise the artisanal mining sector, very little has changed so far. All actors in the mineral chain, including miners, local traders and exporters, perceive very little incentive to enter the formal sector. From 2008 onwards, legislators, governments, multilateral organisations and industry organisations have made several other attempts at formalising the artisanal mining sector in DRC and in the neighbouring countries. This paper offers an overview of all major upstream initiatives trying to ensure that minerals extraction and trade are not tainted by conflict in Eastern DRC. Three different approaches have been identified: certification schemes, traceability systems and due diligence measures. The first category encompasses the Certified Trading Chains, the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region Regional Certification Mechanism and the DRC National Certification; the second one mainly refers to the traceability scheme designed and implemented by the International Tin Research Institute and the last one indicates efforts at enhancing private sector accountability carried out by the UN Group of Experts on the DRC and by the OECD.


Formalisation Policies, Informal Resource Sectors and the De-/Re-Centralization of Power: Geographies of Inequality in Africa and Asia

Samuel J. Spiegel1
1University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

In recent years, a burgeoning body of research in Asia and Africa has documented how policies to formalise rural economies have often failed to empower poorer small-scale producers due to socioeconomic, institutional and political factors. Research on the link between formalisation frameworks and livelihood insecurity is increasingly recognized as a priority. This study examines how national formalisation policies can contribute to livelihood insecurity, focusing on the implications of centralizing, de-centralizing and re-centralizing power in regulatory processes. Developing an approach for examining “scalar” features of formalisation debates that cut across a variety of rural sectors, from land regulation to forestry regulation, the analysis draws upon a critical review of policy documents as well as field observations and interviews and gives particular attention to cases in Zimbabwe and Indonesia in small-scale mining sectors. In these cases, efforts at de-centralizing decision-making power were short-lived, ultimately replaced by national efforts at re-centralizing power between 2005 and 2012.

The analysis illustrates how the supposed “benefits” of formalisation policies have been highly elusive in low income rural communities, partly because small‐scale producers have been ostracized during regulatory reform processes and implementation decision-making. The analysis considers how formalisation policies have been used to justify heavy-handed law enforcement campaigns, contextualizing how private property enforcement and national environmental law became contentious rationales for police crackdowns in recent years, leading to intensified livelihood insecurities and a host of negative social, environmental and economic outcomes. The conclusions suggest the need for analytic focus on: (1) How access to the benefits of formalisation policy may become more unequal in rural contexts when global and national policy strategies narrowly focus on building up the power of central states at the expense of alternative (more “local”) governance scales; (2) How frictions between large-scale and small-scale production models may be addressed by revising formalisation policy priorities; and (3) How research on the heterogeneous dynamics of marginalization within and across sectors could help steer national policy narratives away from what James Ferguson calls “ordered- gridlike spaces” and towards perspectives that take better account of diverse livelihood arrangements and constraints in contested rural areas.


Context in land matters: Access effects and history in land formalisation

Nancy Lee Peluso1, Alice B. Kelly1, Kevin Woods1
1Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley

Formalisation has become a widespread tool for state administrators and managers of land to document, legalize, normalize, and make legible to themselves land rights on the ground. Formalisation also serves to govern land transfers under the capitalist political economic conditions dominating global interactions today, even those in current or previously socialist regimes. Contrary to claims that formalisation programs and practices can simply travel and be applied equally well in any nation‐state, we argue that historical contexts matter, in two critical ways. First, past forms of land formalisation, whether implemented under different or similar political regimes in a single national territory affect various social groups differently. The historical, geographical, and social contexts within which new property rights are implemented have material and differentiating effects. Second, the “social values” of land are often not taken into consideration by promoters of land formalisation, in part because of the assumption that land needs to be made into a commodity with commonly accessible mechanisms of transfer. Yet the social values of land are precisely what is not commodifiable and cannot help but influence how, under what conditions, and to whose benefit formalisation will succeed. History matters, and how it is told matters equally; formalisation has never benefited everyone equally, despite the exhortations of program developers, ideologues, and idealists.


Formalisation and collective appropriation of space on forest frontiers: Comparing communal and individual property systems in the Peruvian and Ecuadoran Amazon

Peter Cronkleton1 and Anne Larson1
1Center for International Forestry Research, Lima, Peru

How does the collective appropriation or allocation of space vary between communal and individually titled properties in the Amazon? Residents of both types of property use collective processes and concepts to establish shared norms and define acceptable behavior for allocating natural resources. Within communal properties, residents implement a variety of arrangements based on customary norms and practices to allocate access rights to forests formally owned by the collective. In a similar process, groups moving into forest frontiers adopt customary concepts and practices to claim and subdivide space, especially where the presence of state institutions is weak. In such cases collective action is usually seen as a means towards individual ends, though at times, even after formal individual rights are granted, collective rules and concepts persist and help define the legitimacy of property claims. This paper compares and contrasts collective processes used by residents of communal and individual properties to examine the nature of collective appropriation in different types of property; it also explores state efforts to formalize property rights on forest frontiers and the relationship of these processes to tenure security. The article is based on a two year study of four landscape mosaics in the Peruvian and Ecuadoran Amazon. The landscape mosaics represented dynamic deforestation frontiers and were selected to include stakeholders with both communal and individual properties at different stages of formalization. Data collection relied on household surveys, and interviews with focus groups as well as key informants. Results indicate that in situations of strong social cohesion, the local legitimacy of collective norms can effectively exclude external actors and shape forest management decisions of residents. Unfortunately for forests, the legitimacy of property claims – and tenure security in these two countries is still strongly grounded in concepts of occupation and use leading to the transformation of forest for agriculture.


Development of community based artisanal fisheries in the Brazilian Amazon and the formalisation of national and international markets

David McGrath1,2,3, Oriana Almeida4 and Leandro Castello1
1Woods Hole Research Center, Massachusetts, USA;
2Universidade Federal do Oeste do Pará, Santarém, Brazil;
3Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia, Brazil
4Universidade Federal do Pará, Belem, Brazil

A major trend in the global trade in tropical forest products is the implementation of importation policies to promote the sustainable management of natural resources in the countries of origin. In many cases, efforts to ensure sustainable origins involve requirements that small scale rural producers and managers cannot meet. These agro-extractivist groups are often only partially integrated into the formal economy. Many lack the basic documents required to engage the government bureaucracy, and most production, local processing and marketing take place through informal channels that are outside government regulatory frameworks. This is especially true of small scale extractive activities such as artisanal fisheries. They face four major problems: 1) The small scale, diffuse and informal nature of local fisheries means that there is minimal documentation of the origins and networks through which products pass before entering formal markets; 2) community management systems rarely produce the verifiable information on the sustainability of resource use required by import regulations; 3) extraction, storage and processing technologies rarely meet government sanitary requirements, and 4) government regulatory processes impose excruciating costs on those attempting to comply with bureaucratic requirements. Given this situation, importing countries efforts to ensure the sustainable origins of products entering their markets are likely to have the unintended consequence of accelerating the exclusion of these community fisheries from access to all but local markets. Rather than supporting artisanal fishers, these policies, without supporting policies and programs, could simply contribute to their demise. This paper examines the evolution of community managed floodplain fisheries in the Lower Amazon and parallel processes of formalisation of floodplain households, their communities and management systems, in order to evaluate the extent to which the ongoing process of formalisation strengthens the ability of artisanal fishers to participate in national and international markets

Formalising the small-scale forestry in Indonesia to support timber legality verification: lessons from East Kalimantan

Krystof Obidzinski1, Heru Komarudin1, Dody Hernawan2, Agus Andrianto1, Ahmad Dermawan1
1Center for International Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia
2Bioma (Biosfer Manusia), Samarinda, Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia

It is estimated that currently small-scale timber sector (logging and processing) in Indonesia consists of up to 700,000 business units which hire up to 3 million people in the rural parts of the country. Two- thirds of the timber ventures and employment are thought to be located in Java while the rest on the outer islands. Cumulatively, the small-scale domestic timber sector is estimated to produce 10 million m3 of timber products annually requiring twice as much wood for raw material.

A large part of the small-scale timber sector operations remain outside of the mainstream national economy. Therefore these activities are often considered illegal. Over the last decade, much of the government efforts in the forestry sector have focused on improving forest law enforcement and reducing illegal logging, with significant success. However, the small scale small-scale timber sector in Indonesia continues to face legality challenges. As Indonesia gears up to sign the VPA (Voluntary Partnership Agreement) with the European Union in the early 2013, one of the major dilemmas is how to manage the small scale forestry sector to reduce timber legality risks without endangering rural livelihoods.

This paper contributes to this debate by exploring options for formalising the unrecorded small scale timber extraction and processing. The pros and cons of formalisation are considered in historical perspective based on the lessons from four distinct periods in the last 100 years when attempts at formalising small-scale operations had been made: i) late colonial period; ii) early independence period; iii) industrial period of the early 1970s; iv) and post-1998 decentralization period. Throughout these different stages of forestry history in Indonesia, small-scale timber operations faced the dilemma of illegality (which carried the burden of legal stigma, prosecution, and corruption) or formalisation (which often led to control and cooptation by large scale business interests). Based on historical records and data from the field, this study suggests that formalisation is a feasible option for the small scale forestry operations on the fringes of legal economy but it requires concrete measures by government decision-makers to strengthen land tenure security, provide financial assistance to small timber enterprises to enhance longer term business orientation, and ensure the availability and affordability of legal sources of timber.