Rights and Resilience in Kenya (RARE)

Iben Nathan
Associate Professor
Section for Global Development
CV, publications and more
Phone: +45 35 33 17 36
Mobile: +45 24 63 80 70

Project description

RARE investigates the relationships between resilience and land rights in the context of pastoral and agro-pastoral (hereafter: pastoral) climate change adaptation in Kenya.

RARE examines how adaptation strategies interact with land needs, land conflicts, and new land law reforms, and what the implications are for efforts to support community land rights for resilient rural development.

Research-based empirical knowledge on the role of land rights in climate change adaptation is limited. Thus this project addresses three key knowledge gaps:

  • The relationship between adaptation and land needs.
  • The relationship between adaptation and land conflicts.
  • The relationship between adaptation and land law reforms.


The development objective of the RARE project is to ensure secure and peaceful access to land for climate change adaptation and thereby the resilience of all Kenyan citizens.

The project aims to produce and disseminate insights and increase capacities that can help policy makers and practitioners in their attempts to (1) improve land use policies and land use planning, (2) prevent conflicting land claims from erupting into violence, (3) manage land rights in support of pastoralists and other land users’ adaptation and (4) identify and apply innovative approaches to land rights for adaptation.

The project will address four closely related research questions::

  • How do land use- and mobility patterns change as pastoralists adapt, and what are the implications for their land needs?
  • How do conflicting land claims affect pastoralist adaptation strategies, and what are the statutory and non-statutory mechanisms for dealing with them?
  • How do land law reforms and changing land rights affect pastoralist adaptation strategies?
  • How can international, national, and local institutions best support pastoralists’ land access and deal with conflicting land claims related to climate change adaptation?

RARE examines these questions by joining two bodies of knowledge and research experience, which have so far been studied separately: Studies on climate change adaptation and resilience; and studies on land access and property rights. The project thereby adds new analytical perspectives to resilience and adaptation studies; while also contributing to land and property studies with knowledge on how climate change adaptation affects land rights and land conflicts.

The project will furthermore enhance our knowledge on climate change and mobility, on environmental change and conflict, and on climate change and devolution.


Iben Nathan, Associate Professor, Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO), University of Copenhagen
Karuti Kanyinga, Professor, Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi  


RARE is a collaboration between:


  • Albert Leny Otieno, Science and technology for global development news and analysis (SciDev.Net) 
  • Iben Nathan, Department of Food and Resource Economics (IFRO), University of Copenhagen
  • Joanes Atela, The Institute for Climate Change Adaption (ICCA), University of Nairobi 
  • Karuti Kanyinga, Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi 
  • Lance Robinson, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) 
  • Martin Marani, The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies (IG), University of Nairobi
  • Mikkel Funder, Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) 
  • Paul Austin Stacey, Department of Social Sciences and Business, RUC
  • Todd Crane, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) 
  • Winnie Mitullah, Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Nairobi 


November 2018 - January 2022


Danida Fellowship Centre DKK 9,999,088
DIIS DKK 93,184
IFRO DKK 177,555