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May 27

Coexistance of formal and customary land governance in Hadiya community. Ethiopia?

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May 27
In the Hadiya community in Ethiopia, there is a coexistence of formal and customary land governance systems. The formal land governance system is based on government laws and regulations, while the customary land governance system is based on traditional practices and norms.

Under the formal land governance system, land rights are defined and enforced by the government through land registration, land use planning, and land administration. This system is intended to provide security of land tenure, promote investment in land, and ensure sustainable land management.

On the other hand, the customary land governance system is based on traditional practices and norms that have been passed down through generations. In this system, land rights are often held collectively by communities or clans, and decisions about land use and management are made through customary institutions such as elders or traditional leaders.

The coexistence of these two systems can sometimes lead to conflicts and challenges, as the formal system may not always recognize or accommodate the rights and practices of the customary system. However, efforts are being made to harmonize the two systems and ensure that both formal and customary land governance systems can coexist and complement each other in the Hadiya community. This includes recognizing and incorporating customary land rights into formal land governance processes, as well as promoting dialogue and collaboration between government authorities and customary institutions.
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May 27
Coexistence of Formal and Customary Land Governance in the Hadiya Community, Ethiopia

Formal Land Governance:

- Introduced by the Ethiopian government to regulate land use, ownership, and administration.
- Based on national laws, policies, and regulations.
- Involves formal processes for land acquisition, registration, and dispute resolution.

Customary Land Governance:

- Traditional practices and norms inherited from the Hadiya people.
- Recognition of communal land ownership and inheritance patterns.
- Decision-making by community leaders and elders.

Coexistence of Formal and Customary Systems:

- Overlapping Jurisdiction: Both formal and customary systems have jurisdiction over land matters in the Hadiya community.
- Competition and Conflict: Disputes arise when formal laws and customary practices clash.
- Accommodation and Negotiation: In some cases, formal and customary systems coexist harmoniously through negotiation and adaptation.

Key Features of Coexistence:

- Local Recognition: Customary land governance remains highly respected and influential within the Hadiya community.
- Hybrid Practices: Formal and customary systems often blend, creating hybrid approaches to land management.
- Community Involvement: Customary systems emphasize community participation and consensus-based decision-making.
- Recognition by Formal Authorities: In some instances, formal authorities recognize and incorporate customary practices into their land governance frameworks.


- Legal Ambiguity: The coexistence of two land governance systems can lead to uncertainty and confusion.
- Displacement and Rights Violations: Formal land acquisition processes may override customary land rights, leading to displacement and conflicts.
- Lack of Integration: Formal and customary systems often operate in isolation, resulting in missed opportunities for collaboration and efficiency.


- Cultural Preservation: Coexistence allows the preservation of traditional land tenure systems and cultural heritage.
- Conflict Mitigation: Harmonizing formal and customary systems can reduce disputes and foster land security.
- Improved Land Management: Integrating the strengths of both systems can enhance sustainable land use and resource allocation.
- Community Empowerment: Recognizing customary practices empowers local communities and promotes participatory decision-making.


The coexistence of formal and customary land governance in the Hadiya community presents both challenges and opportunities. Navigating this complex relationship requires a balanced approach that respects customary practices while ensuring equity, transparency, and the protection of land rights. Effective collaboration and dialogue between formal authorities and community representatives are crucial for achieving sustainable and harmonious land governance.

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