Rights and Resilience in Kenya (RARE)

Project summary

There is increasing attention to the role of land as a critical asset in climate change adaptation, and a realization that land uses, livelihood practices, and investments related to adaptation strategies all require access to land. However, research-based empirical knowledge on the role of land rights in climate change adaptation is limited. RARE investigates relationships between resilience and land rights in the context of pastoral and agro-pastoral adaptation in Kenya, including how adaptation strategies interact with changing land needs, land claims, and land rights, and how to support the efforts of external actors to ensure land access for resilient rural development. RARE addresses four research questions: 1) How do land use- and mobility patterns change as pastoralists adapt, and what are the implications for their land needs? 2) How do conflicting land claims interact with pastoralist adaptation strategies, and what are the statutory and non-statutory mechanisms for dealing with them? 3) How do land law reforms and changing land rights affect pastoralist adaptation strategies? And 4) How can international, national, and local institutions best support pastoralists’ land access and deal with conflicting land claims related to climate change adaptation? These questions are examined theoretically by joining two bodies of knowledge and research, which are generally studied separately but potentially have strong connections, namely climate change adaptation and resilience studies; and land access and property rights studies. The aim is to achieve new analytical perspectives to resilience and adaptation studies while also contributing to other related literatures. We address the questions empirically based on fieldwork in two study areas: Samburu in the North and Kajiado in the South of Kenya. The development objective is to ensure secure and peaceful access to land for climate change adaptation and thereby the resilience of all Kenyan citizens.


First year report

Development objective: Ensure secure and peaceful access to land for climate change adaptation and thereby resilience of pastoralists and all Kenyan citizens.

Immediate objective: produce and disseminate insights for improved land use policies and planning; prevent land conflicts from erupting into violence; manage land rights in support of pastoralists and other land users’ adaptation; identify innovative approaches to land rights for adaptation.

Outcome 1: Insights on land rights in adaptation achieved and disseminated. Output 1: 13 articles; 4 work papers; 3 seminars; 5 newspaper articles. Outcome 2: UoN capacity in and dissemination of research enhanced.

Output 2: 4 PhD students; 1 PhD course; 4 Kenyan master theses; 1 course curriculum.

Outcome 3: Policy recommendations on how to support land access and reduce land conflicts for adaptation.

Output: 5 policy briefs, 1 media package; 1 global review of successful approaches relevant to land-based adaptation; UNFCCC COP side event.

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