Challenging the colonial legacy in Gabon

FERN | 1 August 2012

Gabon represents an extreme case of retention of colonial land rights norms. Current laws, formulated in the 1960s, are little different from those of 1899 which French colonialists made to enable Paris to ‘legally’ hand over most of the country to private French-based logging interests which it helped set up for the purpose.

“Land Rights in Gabon, Facing Up to the Past - and Present”

Is a new analysis by Liz Alden Wily for FERN. It shows how the same strategies of economic growth through dispossession of citizen rights are sustained. Her arguments offer an alternative strategy; recognise communities as rightful owners of traditional forest lands, and build growth strategies on that basis. In practice, win-win strategies are hard to come by, but this offers a better chance for inclusive and peaceful growth than the current trajectory.  Following a two-day conference in Libreville hosted by Brainforest, a major NGO in Gabon, civil society actors launched a land and resource rights initiative to challenge property laws and continuing allocation of community lands to logging, mining and agribusiness. Contact person for the ‘Gabon Ma Terre Ma Droit’ (‘Gabon My Land My Right’) is:  Joseph Mouckala Koumba, of ATTAC Gabon: [email protected]

The summary of the Gabon study can be downloaded here:

The full report can be downloaded here:

If you require copies of this report please contact [email protected]

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Source: FERN

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