Tetra Tech’s land tenure and property rights experts examine how weak land and resource governance can fuel drivers of violent extremism. With a focus on the African Sahel, this new issue brief finds this dynamic is especially prevalent when land and resource governance challenges are coupled with environmental disruptions, resource scarcity, or migration.

Based on an examination of more than 100 sources—including direct field observations, press reports, government documents, and scholarly reviews—we find struggles for the control of land, pastures, water, and other natural resources create opportunities for violent extremists to gain footholds in vulnerable communities across the Sahel.

With a particular focus on the rise of Boko Haram in northern Nigeria, the issue brief provides a conceptual framework and situational analysis to illustrate how the complex relationships between land governance challenges, climate change dynamics, and resource scarcity have contributed to the emergence and spread of violent extremism.

By exploring the link between weak land and resource governance and violent extremism, the U.S. Agency for International Development and other donors can help promote local solutions to counter violent extremism and reduce deep-seated tensions over rights to land and resources.

Mark Freudenberger, Jolyne Sanjak, et al.
May 1, 2019
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