GROUNDING LAND GOVERNANCE - Land Conflicts, Local Governance and Decentralization in Post-Conflict Uganda, Burundi and Southern Sudan


Conflict about land is increasingly seen as a core challenge for post-conflict peacebuilding. In the transition from war to peace, land is a source of both local and national conflicts. During conflict, land tenure is reshuffled and land is misappropriated or becomes a stake in other (ethnic) tensions. Displacement and (partial) return give rise to competing claims to land. Conflict also erodes and transforms the land governance institutions that could potentially deal with these conflicts. The way land is governed after violent conflict is a key determinant for whether land conflicts are resolved peacefully or remain unresolved and fuel further instability. Hence, many post-conflict interventions to deal with land conflicts include support to decentralization. Thereby, responsibilities for managing land and resolving disputes are transferred to local authorities and institutions. Generally, decentralization is considered an important strategy for conflict transformation and state-building from below. Yet, in practice, decentralization appears to be an ambiguous process, and may stir up new conflicts. This research explores the dynamics of land governance institutions in post-conflict situations and studies in particular how decentralization of land governance influences relations of governance, the legitimacy of local land tenure institutions, and the resolution of local land conflicts. It also assesses what this implies for donor and NGO policies. The research programme includes 1 Post-doc and 3 PhD projects, and includes case-studies in Uganda, Burundi and Southern Sudan. The programme will generate an analytical framework for the study of land governance after conflict that aims to inform decentralization policies in post-conflict situations and to promote dialogue with policy-makers about land governance.


Hoofdstuk in boek

  • M van Leeuwen, A. Ansoms, T. Hilhorst, D.N. Kobusingye, C Muchunguzi(2016): Everyday Forms of Land Grabbing in the Great Lakes Region pp. 103 - 124 , Oxford

Wetenschappelijk artikel

  • M van Leeuwen(2014): Renegotiation customary tenure reform - Land governance reform and tenure security in Uganda Land Use Policy pp. 292 - 300 ISSN: 0264-8377.
  • M. van Leeuwen, G. van der Haar(2016): Theorizing the Land-Violent Conflict Nexus World Development pp. 94 - 104 ISSN: 0305-750X.
  • P.H. Justin, M. van Leeuwen(2016): The politics of displacement-related land conflict in Yei River County, South Sudan Journal of Modern African Studies pp. 419 - 442 ISSN: 0022-278X.
  • H. van Dijk, D.N. Kobusingye, M. van Leeuwen(2016): Where Do I Report My Land Dispute? The Impact of Institutional Proliferation on Land Governance in Post-Conflict Northern Uganda Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law pp. 238 - 255 ISSN: 0732-9113.
  • L. de Vries, P.H. Justin(2017): Governing Unclear Lines: Local Boundaries as a (Re)source of Conflict in South Sudan Journal of Borderland Studies pp. 1 - 16 ISSN: 2159-1229.
  • M. van Leeuwen(2017): Localizing Land Governance, Strengthening the State: Decentralization and Land Tenure Security in Uganda Journal of Agrarian Change pp. 208 - 227 ISSN: 1471-0366.

Professionele publicatie

Publicatie bedoeld voor een breed publiek



W 01.65.332.00


Prof. dr. ir. J.W.M. van Dijk

Verbonden aan

Universiteit Leiden


P. Justin, D.N. Kobusingye, Dr. ir. M. van Leeuwen, R.E. Sewornu MSc, R. Tchatchoua MSc


01/02/2011 tot 30/03/2017