Addressing fuzzy boundaries in community delimitations for systematic cadaster in Mozambique

João Carrilho, Marisa Balas, Mario Ruy Marques, Zileque Macate, C.H.J. Lemmen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This article is part of a series of studies that have been conducted regarding the process of systematic registration of land rights in Mozambique, both for communities and individual occupants. The methodology adopted to support the systematic registration, combines the delimitation of community lands and the registration of individual parcels. According to the proposed methodology, the outline of community boundaries must be established before individual rights are captured, and that must be the result of a consultative and participatory process. It is known that various conflicts between neighboring communities and individual users result from boundary disputes. Furthermore, when considering the concepts of “continuum of rights” and “bundle of rights” (UN-HABITAT, 2008), provision should be made for overlapping and sharing of rights in the same parcel (Agustinus & Lemmen, 2011). If not taken care of, systematic land rights recordation can lead to an increase of conflict situations. Therefore, one of the main challenges requiring solutions through the methodology is that of boundaries: administrative, inter-communities and inter-parcels. These potentially conflicting situations occur more frequently in border areas, where there is no correspondence between the administrative division and community circumscription. While some discrepancies arise from the technical cartographic process or in relation to both reliability and precision of representation, with different sources, there are real uncertainties and overlaps, generally not covered by field staff and their data collection instruments. Field staff, also generally, does not allow for the possibility of the same area being adjudicated to two communities or individuals simultaneously. The solution proposed by the authors is to explicitly incorporate the knowledge of these discrepancies, particularly those rooted in history since the commencing of the colonial regime and, with that, the consultative process, into the programs of systematic registration of community and individual lands, by introducing a category of areas of potential overlap and or uncertainty as to rights and users.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2019
Event20th Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty 2019: Catalyzing Innovation - Washington DC, United States
Duration: 25 Mar 201929 Mar 2019


Conference20th Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty 2019: Catalyzing Innovation
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityWashington DC
Internet address


  • Community Delimitations, Administrative Limits, Land Cadastre


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