Organisation Internationale de Droit du Développement

Reducing Climate-driven Instability and Conflict Over Land and Natural Resources: What Role for Customary and Informal Justice Actors?

EVENT | Wednesday, 6 October 2021 | 2:00 - 3:00 pm CEST

Reducing Climate-driven Instability and Conflict Over Land and Natural Resources: What Role for Customary and Informal Justice Actors?

Observable patterns of climate change already result in growing scarcities of arable land, water and other natural resources in countries from Afghanistan to Rwanda to Somalia. These scarcities tend to exacerbate the marginalization and vulnerability of women, young people, indigenous communities, and other populations experiencing systematic exclusion, aggravating existing injustices, but also fuelling competition over resources and increasing the risk of instability and violent inter- and intracommunal conflict.

In fragile contexts, everyday access to land, water and natural resources is often governed by customary and informal actors. These actors, ranging from traditional authorities to indigenous leaders to entrenched informal power-brokers, operationalize prevailing institutions and rules that are culturally-resonant and typically viewed as legitimate by local populations. These actors can be understood as customary and informal justice (CIJ) providers. While people often resort to CIJ providers because they are more proximate, faster and cheaper, CIJ providers are often rooted in established power relations and thus tend to reinforce existing conservative and patriarchal norms.

The panel will discuss how equitable access to land and natural resources can be realized through legal empowerment of justice seekers and by strengthening the inclusiveness, responsiveness and accountability of CIJ mechanisms, fostering a stable and peaceful environment for sustainable development. Speakers will draw on the experience of IDLO and other stakeholders in countries including Chad, Somalia, and Uganda.

Panelists will engage with the following key framing questions:

  • How does climate change affect access to land, water and natural resources for the most vulnerable and marginalized people in fragile and conflict-affected contexts?
  • How can justice seekers effectively demand, and CIJ actors provide, more inclusive, responsive and accountable justice services in ways that strengthen access to land, water and natural resources, especially for women, young people and indigenous communities?
  • How can CIJ providers contribute to preventing or reducing intra- and inter-communal conflict over land, water and natural resources?




  • Dr Ilaria Bottigliero, Director of Policy, Research and Advocacy, IDLO


  • Ms Bernadette Bakkidde, Director Access to Land Justice, LANDnet Uganda
  • Ms Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Coordinator, Association of Peul Women and Autochthonous Peoples of Chad; board member of International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change
  • Ms Julie Benmakhlouf, Rule of Law Specialist, IDLO

Interactive Dialogue