Baseline for Just Environmental Governance Project in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique

Baseline from Just Environmental Governance project shows an apparent need to build the local knowledge in regards to legal rights to land, to strengthen advocacy capacity of communities, to promote dialogue, and to level the playing field among communities, government, and private investors when it comes to accessing and benefitting from land and natural resources. 

Mozambique’s recent discovery of some of the largest gas and coal reserves in the world has put the topic of natural resource management on top of the agenda. The government has high expectations about the central role that the newly discovered natural resources can play in reaching growth and reducing poverty.

Industries such as mining, gas, logging of hard-wood timber, agribusiness, and tourism are coveting the rural communities’ most important economic asset – their land that they use for subsistence farming, pastoral activities, wood collection, and construction material. How to reconcile the rising demand for the communities’ traditional land that they depend on for daily survival is the big challenge facing Mozambique.

Seeing the current developments in the country, Danish Forestry Extension (DFE) and its local partner associação do meio ambiente (ama) want to work with local communities, the government, and private sector in the Cabo Delgado province to ensure that community rights to land and resources are protected and respected. The work will be focused on advocacy for community access to land and just environmental governance. Communities will receive training about their land rights and how to demand accountability from the public and private sectors in the allocation and distribution of the benefits gained from their land.  

In July and August 2014, DFE and ama collaborated to conduct a baseline study for the new project. The baseline study informs about the current state of environmental governance in the district of Ancuabe and Montepuez in the province of Cabo Delgado.

The results of the baseline study show that only half of the people interviewed in the communities have knowledge about existing land and forest and wildlife laws, including the information that 20% of tax revenues have to be shared with the affected community. Also, only 60% of the interviewed people know about the existence of foreign investments in their area. This goes hand in hand with the information that only one fourth have ever participated in a community consultation. Community consultations are by law required to take place if an investor wants to gain access to community land.  The given responses also show that mostly women of all ages and men under 30 have the least information about the asked topics.

Analyzing the responses of government officials show the need for increasing their knowledge about the legal frameworks and procedures for land and natural resource management. Not all officials on all levels are equally informed. Knowledge about laws and their mechanisms have to be spread as well as knowledge about on-going and future investments. The collaboration between all governmental entities has to be strengthened.

The findings of the baseline study will help to concretize the main focus of the project regarding target groups and advocacy strategies. It will also be used as a reference point to monitor changes over time. It is hoped that the project will contribute to the empowerment of communities so that they can represent their own interests in the area of land access and management of natural resources.  

Baseline interviews in the communities
Women lack information about their rights to land
Baseline interviews in the communities

Danish Forestry Extension
Amalievej 20
1875 Frederiksberg C
Denmark

CVR-nr. 25096045

office@remove-this.df-extension.dk