An Issue Paper released as part of the series “Making Rangelands Secure” – a learning initiative supported by ILC, IFAD, RECONCILE, IUCN-WISP and Procasur – suggests improvements to the village land use planning (VLUP) process in Tanzania in order to better contribute to sustainable rangeland management. Developed by the Sustainable Rangeland Management Project (SRMP), the paper Village land use planning in rangelands in Tanzania: good practice and lessons learned brings together experience from different organisations and government departments working on VLUP in rangelands areas of Tanzania, as well as relevant lessons from other contexts. It concludes with a summary of lessons learned to date and recommendations based on these for further action to improve VLUP in rangelands.
Lessons learned include:
- Pastoralism and hunting-gathering are valuable land-use systems that should not be lost.
- Despite decentralisation of land access and management, government at all levels can be reluctant to relinquish control of land to local communities.
- Current legislation offers opportunities to strengthen the rights of rangeland users to their land.
- Land-use planning (LUP) should not be a stand-alone activity but must be part of broader development planning; VLUP should not stop with development of the plan, but requires ongoing investment of time and resources.
- Identify and develop broader development priorities and plans with communities, taking into account the importance of land security and LUP; community action plans can provide a framework that stimulates immediate action on top priorities.
- Simplify documents required in LUP processes and provide them in local languages; training paralegals is also useful.
- Ensure that all groups – and particularly women and youth – are involved in VLUP activities and developing related bylaws.
- Support the development of good governance institutions and structures at different levels.
- Advocate for greater voice and participation in decision-making processes for pastoralists and hunter-gatherers.
- Invest adequate time and resources in resolving boundary and other conflicts; train all staff in conflict resolution.
- Collect as much information as possible before starting VLUP; community mapping of rangeland resources and scenario planning are particularly useful tools.
- Ensure that women fully understand their land rights.
- Assist pastoral groups to register customary titles to grazing land through current legislation.
- Assist communities to develop mechanisms to protect livestock corridors, and carry out VLUP with adjoining villages to consider resource management and protection on a larger scale.