Local Capacities for Peace: Addressing Land-based Conflicts in Somaliland and Afghanistan

It was the aim of the project to conduct case studies on certain land conflicts in order to
generate reliable knowledge on the main causes, the conflict cycle and possible mechanisms
of civil conflict resolution. In both Somaliland and Afghanistan land conflicts exist and are fuelled by a multitude of factors and drivers. Besides purely economical reasons, land conflicts are usually
accompanied or aggravated by political conflicts and general socio-economic development. Second, in both countries the formal system of conflict resolution (formal law and the courts)
is not the first choice of conflicting parties. Taking some differences into account, both formal
systems are perceived to be inefficient, biased and corrupt. This in turn leads to a mixed
approach to conflict resolution. Third, land conflicts in the rural and the urban areas differ markedly from one another. In the urban context, different factors are important; while land conflicts in the rural context are often a matter of survival, urban land conflicts are regularly about financial profit. This in turn makes the recommendation of a single system of conflict management difficult, if not
impossible. Fourth, women are seriously disadvantaged when it comes to the management, allocation and ownership of land. These disadvantages are manifest in formal and informal processes and
regulations. Thus, it has become obvious that there is still structural discrimination against
women in both societies. Fifth, the project could show that traditional mechanisms are useful for an ad-hoc solution of land conflicts. There are however difficulties with this system; the most important problems are that women and youth are usually not involved and that the resolution does not produce long-term solutions and thus does not produce reliable legal certainty.