Land Governance and Its Influence on Institutional Development in Santiago Del Estero, Argentina

Monday, July 14, 2014: 10:30 AM
Room: 313+314
Oral Presentation
Nienke BUSSCHER , PhD Researcher, Groningen, Netherlands
Over the last decades the rural landscape worldwide has been undergoing major changes. Vast tracks of land are appropriated by different (global) actors for diverse purposes. In Argentina, this ranges from investments for soybean cultivation, cattle farming, nature preservation and ecotourism. The impact of this phenomenon on the livelihood of rural communities in this area is enormous. These populations, who have been living on the land for many generations, often do not possess legal titles to the land and are threatened to continue to live as they did before. Although by law their rights are acknowledged when living on the land for over 20 years, these rights are often not respected. Land appropriation and land grabbing lead to marginalization of rural communities and create inequality. By means of combining literature on governance, socio-ecological systems and social sustainability, this paper looks at how rural communities in the province of Santiago del Estero, Argentina cope with the challenges arising from increasing land use and acquisition and how they advance their mobilization. The focus of this paper lies on multi-level governance processes within this socio-political conflict of rural communities. The challenges the communities face in terms of new boundaries, land management and use, cooperation and participation and ecological restrictions are central for evaluating the sustainability of the system. Major findings presented in this paper are that negotiations over land take place between actors with an unequal distribution of power, meaning that the rural communities are further neglected and political measures overrule local inhabitants rights. This conclusion calls for more recognition of the conflict by the national and provincial governments but furthermore, improved access to information for the rural communities to advance justice and equity in the governance of the commons.