Around the globe a massive land grab is taking place. Big-money interests are approaching rural communities, eager to strike deals for forests, farmland, pastures and coasts. But the playing field is far from even. Millions of people, misled about their rights and the nature of these offers, are being exploited.
Namati’s solution: help communities to use the power of the law to protect their lands and livelihoods.
We’re writing now to share new resources and some notes from the field. We hope you find these useful. To share more, and to continue a dialogue with network members around the world on protecting natural resource rights, please log in to the Legal Empowerment Network.
Community Land Protection Made Simple
In Liberia, we worked with the Sustainable Development Institute to produce two simple guides:
The “Guide to Protecting Land and Resources” walks communities through the process of documenting their customary land claims and strengthening community governance over lands and forests. The guide explains how to map community land, settle boundary disputes, create by-laws to ensure equitable, sustainable land use, and set up a governance structure.
“Getting a Fair Deal from Companies and Investors,” shows communities how to prepare for negotiations when investors come calling. These guides can be adapted for use in any country where there is a threat of dispossession.
Improving Investment Practices
In Sierra Leone, Namati’s input was incorporated into the government’s Guidelines for Sustainable Agricultural and Bioenergy Investment. The guidelines ask firms to sign binding impact and benefits agreements with host communities, and to contribute to a legal aid fund which would in turn provide communities with independent legal representation.
Communities Seeking Environmental Justice
Namati is working with fisher people and farmers in Gujarat, India, to monitor the extent to which firms are complying with environmental regulations. In Mundra, the site of a massive waterfront development project, community members have documented widespread violations of conditions meant to protect fragile ecosystems and the livelihoods of local people. A report on these findings, Closing the Enforcement Gap, was submitted to regulatory authorities and was responsible in part for the project developer’s first admission of wrongdoing.
Namati has also produced and disseminated the first user-friendly versions of India’s coastal zone regulations. Booklets and pocket reference cards in local languages cover all the information available in government regulations, but in a way that ordinary people can understand and use to identify violations and demand compliance.
Building the Movement
In late 2013, Namati’s Community Land Protection Program co-hosted a Regional Symposium on Community Land and Natural Resources Protection in South Africa. Over 20 organizations worked together to identify practical solutions to common challenges.
We hope you find these guides useful. Please do share them widely. For more tools and information relating to community rights to natural resources, please visit our website.
Vivek, Rachael, Sonkita, Manju, and the whole Namati team
P.S. If you haven’t already, read and endorse our open letter to the United Nations, which includes targets on rights to land and property.
More Notes from the Frontline
How to write equitable large-scale land leases: advice to lawyers – Namati’s Sonkita Conteh offers helpful advice to lawyers involved in land investments. As it turns out, it’s not so hard to draft fair land lease agreements.
Two Coal Blocks and a Political Story – Recent developments in India suggest the government is willing to bypass their own environmental protection laws in order to fast-track economic ‘development’ projects. By Kanchi Kohli.
In Burma, the government has set an unreasonable 1-year deadline to register all rural lands—creating a dangerous opportunity for grabbing and exploitation. Namati is working with CPRCG to deploy community paralegals in 150 village tracts across 5 states to help people understand the policy, register their lands, and object if others try to register false claims.
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Last updated January 30, 2013.
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Last updated: February 2, 2023
Welcome to the namati.org website (the “Site”) and the Legal Empowerment Network Forum (the “Forum”) operated by Namati, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Namati”, “we”, “us” or “our”). We share your concern about the protection of your personal information online.
This Policy describes our privacy practices and sets out your obligations and ours with respect to your use of the Site and the Forum. This Policy applies only to the Site and the Forum and does not necessarily apply to our offline collection of information.
Namati may collect and retain two types of information about Site and Forum visitors: (i) personal information that individual visitors voluntarily provide when interacting on the Site or Forum or on certain other occasions (such as via forms or in emails); and (ii) tracking data, which is data that is automatically collected from every Site and Forum visitor as they use and browse the site.
We may, from time to time, store and archive the information you submit to or through the Site and Forum. The information that we gather may include your name, title, and address, telephone number, email address, credit card number or other elements of personal information. In addition, if you contact us, we may keep a record of your correspondence, including any information contained therein.
You may decline to provide any personal information, but please realize that you thereby may be unable to register or to participate in activities or services offered on the Site and/or Forum.
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Your Information is stored on Digital Ocean servers in New York, USA, and WPengine servers located in Texas, USA. When you provide personal information to us, we request your consent to transfer that personal information to the USA. The USA does not have an adequacy decision from the European Commission, which means that the Commission has not determined that the laws of the USA provide adequate protection for personal information. Although the laws of the USA do not provide legal protection that is equivalent to the EU GDPR, we safeguard your personal information by treating it in accordance with this Policy. We take appropriate steps to protect your privacy and implement reasonable security measures to protect your personal information in storage. We use secure transmission methods to collect personal data through our website. We also enter into contracts with our data processors that require them to treat personal information in a manner that is consistent with this Policy.
We have put in place appropriate security measures to prevent your personal data from being accidentally lost, used or accessed in an unauthorized way, altered or disclosed. In addition, we limit access to your personal data to those employees, agents, contractors and other third parties who have a business need to know. They will only process your personal data on our instructions and they are subject to a duty of confidentiality.
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Namati is concerned about the privacy protection of children who access the Internet and this website is not intended for children and we do not knowingly collect data relating to children. Accordingly, the Site and Forum are not intended for use by anyone under the age of 16, and we do not knowingly collect information from anyone under 16 years of age without the consent of a parent or guardian.
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You can also access, remove, update or correct your information, and raise any questions or concerns regarding the Site or the Policy, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailing:
Namati Data Protection Officer
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Washington, DC 20036, USA
It is important that the personal data we hold about you is accurate and current. Please keep us informed if your personal data changes during your relationship with us.
You have the right to:
Request access to your personal data (commonly known as a “data subject access request”). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal data we hold about you and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
Request correction of the personal data that we hold about you. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate data we hold about you corrected, though we may need to verify the accuracy of the new data you provide to us.
Request erasure of your personal data. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal data where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal data where you have successfully exercised your right to object to processing (see below), where we may have processed your information unlawfully or where we are required to erase your personal data to comply with local law. Note, however, that we may not always be able to comply with your request of erasure for specific legal reasons which will be notified to you, if applicable, at the time of your request.
Object to processing of your personal data where we are relying on a legitimate interest (or those of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on this ground as you feel it has an impact on your fundamental rights and freedoms. You also have the right to object where we are processing your personal data for direct marketing purposes. In some cases, we may demonstrate that we have compelling legitimate grounds to process your information which override your rights and freedoms.
Request restriction of processing of your personal data. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of your personal data in the following scenarios:
Request the transfer of your personal data to you or to a third party. We will provide to you, or a third party you have chosen, your personal data in a structured, commonly used, machine-readable format. Note that this right only applies to automated information which you initially provided consent for us to use or where we used the information to perform a contract with you.
Withdraw consent at any time where we are relying on consent to process your personal data. However, this will not affect the lawfulness of any processing carried out before you withdraw your consent. If you withdraw your consent, we may not be able to provide certain products or services to you. We will advise you if this is the case at the time you withdraw your consent.
You will not have to pay a fee to access your personal data (or to exercise any of the other rights). However, we may charge a reasonable fee if your request is clearly unfounded, repetitive or excessive. Alternatively, we could refuse to comply with your request in these circumstances.
We may need to request specific information from you to help us confirm your identity and ensure your right to access your personal data (or to exercise any of your other rights). This is a security measure to ensure that personal data is not disclosed to any person who has no right to receive it. We may also contact you to ask you for further information in relation to your request to speed up our response.
We try to respond to all legitimate requests within one month. Occasionally it could take us longer than a month if your request is particularly complex or you have made a number of requests. In this case, we will notify you and keep you updated.
If you live in an EEA Member State, all of which have adopted the EU GDPR and national , you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority about this policy and its application. The European Commission has a list of EU national data protection authorities here:
If you live in the United Kingdom, you have a right to lodge a complaint with your relevant supervisory authority, the ICO, about this policy and its application:
The Policy was updated in July 2022 to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations.