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保护非洲土地权利

华盛顿—本月早些时候,利比里亚总统、诺贝尔和平奖得主赛尔利夫(Ellen Johnson Sirleaf警告说,非洲将一直受到贫困、饥饿和饥荒困扰,除非政府让小农获得有保障的土地权利。她是从经验的角度——包括个人经验和政治经验——说这番话的。

赛尔利夫和她的西非小国是土地权利得不到保障可能对个人、社区和国家造成怎样的代价的最佳写照。土地所有权争议是利比里亚14年血腥内战的重要原因。犬牙交错的土地所有权一直在煽动冲突,阻碍外国投资。就连总统也无法摆脱土地所有制法律不够强力的影响;她在1979年购买的一片四英亩的土地被人占用,在很多年里拒绝离开。

这些故事在非洲大陆稀松平常。据世界银行数据,九成以上的非洲农村土地没有登记在案。重叠且冲突的土地管理制度随处可见,土地记录难以查阅,或早已过时,或记录不全,或不够准确,甚至根本不存在。然而,尽管土地所有权制度的瘫痪毫无疑问让非洲政府损失了数百万美元的外国投资,但最直接的受害者还是非洲农民。

非洲的小自耕农因为土地退化、气候变化和人口激增导致的资源竞争而不堪重负,还要面临更加难以克服的官僚主义障碍:没有文件可以证明他们称为家园的土地是他们的。这些农民不确定自己是否能够在下一季还能控制自己的农场,因此不会进行长期规划。他们不会投资于梯田、植树和购买高质量肥料,只会追求短期利润最大化。对于女性农民来说尤其如此,她们还需要面临更多的各种歧视性土地法律和风俗。

研究表明,如果不能强化土地权利,特别是女性的土地权利,就无法减少贫困,改善营养,或实现其他关键发展目标。确保土地权利是发展的前提。

在坦桑尼亚,拥有有保障权利的女性,要比无土地女同胞多赚三倍收入。在尼泊尔,拥有有保障土地权利的妇女的孩子获得良好营养的可能性要高出33%。在赞比亚,女性土地权利较弱而艾滋病传染率较高的地区,女性更加不可能通过投资改善收成——即使她们的丈夫艾滋病呈阴性时也是如此。这些女性认为,如果她们成为寡妇,就会被迫失去土地,这一预期抑制了农场投资,在很多年里影响到收成和家庭营养。

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女性农民数量高达4亿,因此,这些发现表明,从生产率损失和经济潜力无法实现的角度,女性土地权利得不到保障会带来高昂的全球代价。

在非洲,土地权利得不到保障的迹象确然存在。在一些地区,记录保存不力和行政结构虚弱迫使土地所有者立碑标记他们的土地或房子,警告潜在买家,他们可能陷入并非合法所有者的圈套,让钱打了水漂。在许多国家,根本没有办法知道谁用哪片土地。

对土地拥有明确的法律控制权的社区,相较于土地所有权模糊不清的社区,能够更加勤勉地管理这些资源。个人也是如此。在加纳,拥有强力土地权利的农民,植树的可能性要高出39%。在埃塞俄比亚,当农民对土地的的权利得到了保障时,投资于防止水土流失的可能性可以提高60%。

然而,尽管证据确凿,全世界有十亿人,仍然无法获得对他们赖以生存的土地的有保障的权利。卡达斯塔基金会和仁爱之家(Habitat for Humanity)的Solid Ground运动最近进行了一次在线调查,结果表明,这些不确定性造成了严重后果。虚弱的土地权利可能限制农民得不到农作物保险,导致他们的孩子难以在学校注册就读,甚至可能导致更高的自杀率。

目前,利比里亚参议院正在考虑能大大增强农民(包括女性农民)土地权利的立法。其他许多非洲国家(主要有卢旺达和赞比亚)和亚洲国家(包括缅甸和印度)也进行或计划进行类似的立法。这些措施应该得到支持、加速和复制。

但人们并没有坐等领导人采取行动。创新技术已经开始为政府不愿或无力作为的国家的社区提供方法。GPS、无人机和云计算等技术进步让社区能够登记土地——不管有没有官方承认或支持。从尼日利亚印度,社区在卡达斯塔基金会的帮助下,御用手持设备丈量土地,用硬证据支持土地权利主张,从而实现土地所有权的逐步强化。

利比里亚在非洲土地确权运动中充当先锋是值得欢迎的;向赛尔利夫这样的领导人,显然明白虚弱的土地法会带来怎样的挑战。但结构性变化需要时间。如果政府不进行更大手笔的干预,就必须依靠社区和个人越过传统方式,填补地图上的空白空间。

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