Camilla Toulmin’s project documents shifting claims to land and natural resources in the Ségou region of central Mali over the last 35 years, as a means of mapping claims, and helping farmers and herders secure their rights to land, water, and grazing in this drought-prone area. Despite its apparent remoteness, the Ségou Region is facing increasing pressures from domestic and foreign investors, especially where land can be irrigated from the River Niger. This in turn is undermining land rights and food security for small-holders and pastoralists, given the particular vulnerability of undocumented “customary” rights, and common property resources. Her project will involve a set of policy engagements at local, national and regional levels, and culminate in a series of articles and a book to inform public debate on competing claims to land and natural resources in the Sahel.
Toulmin served for 12 years as director of the International Institute for Environment & Development (IIED), where she is now a senior fellow. Her research work has focused on social, economic, and environmental development in dryland Africa. She established and ran the IIED Drylands Programme from 1987 to 2002. She received a DPhil in economics from Oxford University, an MSc in economics from the University of London (SOAS), and a BA in economics from Cambridge University.