Involving government in Community Land Protection efforts

A component of the community land protection process that we have realized is not fully addresses in the current edition of the Facilitator’s Guide is strategies for involving different levels of government in the work. Many government actors - especially local governments - are crucial allies in our work, but it can be a balance to figure out how best to involve them without having them either take over the process or open it to interference by officials who would rather stymie the work.

How do you involve different levels of government in your work? What are specific strategies that you use to build positive, collaborative relationships with officials and government departments?

What can go wrong, or be challenging about working with government? What are success stories about what is possible when you can build an effective working relationship?

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I know we have some real pros at this among our partners and network members - do any of the current CLP partners want to add their strategies or thoughts? @davidarach @badara113 @meslehrobert3 @suzaneirau @Husna_Mbarak @SAMORAI

hi Marena, i can share our experience from Liberia.

ali


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Please do, Ali! I know SDI has had so much experience working with various levels of government - whenever you have a chance to share some strategies and reflections, I’m sure everyone will be grateful to learn.

@marenabrinkhurst @namati_staff and friends in the network. The question posed here is an important one for several of our efforts within and outside of Namati programs. I cannot help but recall my first discussions with @vivekmaru and others about our work being centred around the themes of “empowered citizens, responsive governments.” Involving government in our work would crucial to if we are going to be true to this these words.

In Environment Justice (EJ) work that we are involved in, making the government accountable and responsive is a constant endeavour. Depending on the context and the “nature” of the government, methods of dialogue, appeal, advocacy and collaboration can be made applicable.

Over the years, EJ paralegals have been able to use evidence based complaints along with affected people to ensure that there is effective response from government agencies e.g. http://indiatogether.org/residents-of-a-municipal-dumping-site-fight-back-women; http://indiatogether.org/vapi-decades-of-damage-environment. We have been part of training programs for government officials to not just share our perspectives but also to understand constraints under which government officials might operate. This is while being aware of the deep problems of corruption and all that goes wrong with institutions.

Notwithstanding the fact that ensuring a favourable response from officials can be an uphill task and work with governments can be seen as co-option, long term policy change, legal reform would require these efforts. From being a member on a government committee and not being able to get a single recommendation through to ensuring that government officials themselves request for inputs into the “make law” process, its been a challenging yet satisfactory curve. From over 5 problem solving government site visits to over fifteen months of waiting for disclosing an important policy document, we have gained, failed and learnt all at the same time.

We look forward to hearing from others too about your experience and benefit from your insights. We would be happy to share more details to the best of our abilities and limitations. :slight_smile: :seedling:

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