TGCC Zambia Methodology: Rural Land Use Planning

Since 2014, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has supported efforts to increase tenure security in rural customary lands in Zambia through the documentation of customary land boundaries for households and communities in Chipata and Petauke Districts of Eastern Province through the Tenure and Global Climate Change (TGCC) program. This work, led in the field by the Chipata District Land Alliance and the Petauke District Land Alliance, has resulted in customary authorities delivering land certificates across over 700 communities and 12,000 land parcels in Eastern Province. Elements of the methodology have also been applied by Frankfurt Zoological Society in Muchinga Province, and by Mwembeshi Nature Conservation Society in peri-urban chiefdoms outside of Lusaka. Spatial data on land use, development infrastructure, and conflicts have been generated for large areas of these chiefdoms and can be used as the basis of future planning efforts by traditional chiefs, with the cooperation of community members and district government. Furthermore, it is expected that there will be investments to improve land use planning in Eastern Province as part of a forthcoming World Bank grant and loan mechanism associated with the Zambia Integrated Forest Landscape Program. It is in this context that this methodology for land use and development planning has been produced.

In simple terms, land use planning is about making decisions on a sustainable form of land use in rural areas and the initiation of the appropriate options and measures for implementation and monitoring. However, in the context of Zambia’s rural customary areas, it makes most sense to integrate land use planning with broader development planning, which ultimately could form the basis of a Chiefdom Development Plan. Zambia has a number of legally mandated planning processes; for example, from the Urban and Regional Planning Act of 2015 and associated with the Wildlife Act of 2015. This methodology does not attempt to replace either of these, but rather provides a framework for rural planning that may feed into government planning processes when they reach these areas. Furthermore, this effort focuses on planning within chiefdom boundaries, because the program has worked most closely with village headpersons, advisors, and chiefs, for whom chiefdom and village boundaries are most relevant for day-to-day management and decisions. If this effort is carried out by government planners, they may wish to use the ward or district levels for planning. While not precisely the same boundaries, chiefdoms are largely confined to individual districts, and ward boundaries often fall within individual chiefdoms. With the recognition that in rural customary areas chiefs are often the main source of authority, there is a need to balance engagement with customary authorities and their jurisdiction alongside the desire of the state to work in government administrative boundaries.

This methodology was developed based on past USAID land use planning efforts. It anticipates using a combination of primary and secondary methods of data collection. It is open to different levels of data collection, from basic surveys that can cover five to ten villages in a day to intensive multi-day visits to hundreds of villages. Stakeholder discussions are required with traditional leaders and advisors, as well as with community members themselves. Key informant interviews are also necessary across a range of government institutions at the district and provincial levels. Structured data collection from the field should form the basis of feeding bottom-up information into ambitious but realistic land use and development plans. The use of spatial information to facilitate dialogue and decision-making and to allocate resources is at the heart of this methodology.