War affected land rights regimes; The peace process and recovery from armed conflict; The intersection between land rights and environmental change
Associate Professor in the Department of Geography
Department of Geography
805 Sherbrooke Street West,
Montreal, QC H3A 2K6
Tel.: (514) 398-8989
Fax.: (514) 398-7437
jon.unruh [at] mcgill.ca (E-mail)
PhD Geography, University of Arizona (1997)
Research, policy and practice interests,
Jon Unruh focuses on war-affected land and property rights. He has conducted research, policy and practice work in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Sudan, Liberia, Somalia, Mozambique, East Timor, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Ethiopia, Uganda, Cambodia, Angola, Cameroon, Turkey, Slovenia, Jordan, Colombia, Peru, Tanzania, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, and generally with the UN, World Bank, USAID, DFID, and other bilateral donors and NGOs.
- War-affected land and property rights in Syria,
- Land rights and UNCCD’s ‘land degradation neutrality’
- DDHLP: Digitally designed housing, land, & property rights solutions for conflict-affected environments
- DDHLP project description
- War-affected land and property rights legal reform in Iraq,
- Environment and History in the Indian Ocean World
- McGill - UN Environment Partnership
Jon D. Unruh, Ph.D.
Department of Geography
805 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A 2K6
Email: jon.unruh [at] mcgill.ca
1997 Ph.D. University of Arizona (Geography and Regional Development)
1986 M.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison (Environmental Studies – Land Resources)
1981 Foreign Study Program, Universidad de Costa Rica
1982 B.A. University of Kansas-Lawrence, Environmental Studies
Associate Professor, Department of Geography, McGill University (1/2005 – present)
Director, Canadian Field Studies in Africa Programme, McGill University (7/2017 - present)
Over 50 consultancies on international development, war-affected states
Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Indiana University (1/2000 – 12/2004)
Associate Director, Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change (CIPEC), Indiana University (1/2000 – 8/2002)
Country Representative – Ethiopia, Famine Early Warning System (FEWS), Associates in Rural Development, USAID Ethiopia. (12/1998 – 1/2000)
Mozambique Project Manager, Associate Researcher, University of Wisconsin-Madison Land Tenure Center and the US Agency for International Development, Mozambique Mission (6/95 - 5/97)
Research Assistant III, The Woods Hole Research Center, Woods Hole Massachusetts (11/89 – 8/92)
In-Country Somalia Project Manager, Research Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison Land Tenure Center, and the US Agency for International Development, Bureau of Science and Technology and the Somalia USAID Mission, (6/86 - 10/89)
PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL PUBLICATIONS
Bruch C, Jensen D, Nakayama M, Unruh J (2019) The changing nature of conflict, peacebuilding, and environmental cooperation. The Environmental Law Reporter 49:10134-10154.
Unruh JD (2019 [2018 issue]) The geography of water and oil resource governance inpost-conflict Iraq. The Arab World Geographer. 21: 261-278
Unruh JD (in press) The ‘evidentiary bind’ in postwar land restitution: The case of Sri Lanka. International Journal of Peace Studies.
Unruh JD (2018) Crafting land restitution in Colombia: Optimizing a legal, social and institutional framework. Land Use Policy. 80: 403-405
Ratner B, Meitzner-Dick R, Mapedza E, Unruh J, Veening W, May C, Bruch C (2017) Addressing conflict through collective action in natural resource management.International Journal of the Commons. 11(2) pp. 877–906.
Unruh J, Frank E. & Pritchard M. (2017) A digital advance for housing, land and property restitution in war-affected states: leveraging smart migration. Stability: International Journal of Security and Development. 6(1), p.15.
Unruh JD (2016) Structuring land restitution remedies for peace and stability in fragile states. CAB Reviews 11: 1-9
Unruh JD (2016) Mass claims in land and property following the Arab spring: lessons from Yemen. Stability: International Journal of Security & Development 5 (1) 1-19
Unruh JD (2016) Weaponization of the land and property rights system in the Syrian civil war: facilitating restitution? Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding. 10: 435-471
Unruh JD (2015) The structure and function of keywords in the development of civil wars:opportunities for peace building? Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology 21(4) 621-633.
Unruh JD (2015) Multi-sector capacity needs in challenging the resource curse inconflict-affected countries. International Journal of Peace Studies 19 (1) 1-19.
Unruh JD and Abdul-Jalil MA (2014) Constituencies of conflict and opportunity: land rights, narratives and collective action in Darfur. Political Geography 42:104-115
Unruh JD (2014) Pre-emptive and advanced techniques for war-torn land and property rights reacquisition. Land Use Policy 38: 111-122.
Corriveau-Bourque A, Nelson I, Pritchard M, Stanfield D, Unruh J (2013) Impacts of forest related large-scale land acquisitions in the Indian Ocean World. Journal of the Indian Ocean Region 9 (2) 208–226.
Abdul-Jalil MA and Unruh JD (2013) Land rights under stress in Darfur: A volatile dynamic of the conflict. War and Society 32(2) 156-181
Unruh JD and Abdul-Jalil MA (2012) Land rights in Darfur: institutional flexibility, policy and adaptation to environmental change. Natural Resources Forum, 36:274-284.
Unruh JD (2012) Land and legality in the Darfur conflict. African Security 5:105-128
Unruh JD and Shalaby M (2012) A volatile interaction between peacebuilding priorities: road infrastructure (re)construction and land rights in Afghanistan. Progress in Development Studies 12: 47-61.
Unruh JD (2012) Eviction policy in postwar Angola. Land Use Policy, 29:661-663.
Unruh JD (2012) The interaction between landmine clearance and land rights in Angola: a volatile outcome of non-integrated peacebuilding. Habitat International: A Journal for the Study of Human Settlements, 36:117-125
Unruh J, and Corriveau-Bourque A (2011) Volatile landscapes: the impact of explosive remnants of war on land rights in conflict affected countries. Journal of Peace, Conflict and Development, 18: 7-25
Unruh JD (2011) Land rights and peacebuilding: challenges and responses. International Journal of Peace Studies. 15: 89-125.
Green A, and Unruh J (2010) Clean development mechanism afforestation and reforestation projects: implications for local agriculture. CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources.5: 1-11. Invited
Unruh JD (2010) Tree-based carbon storage in developing countries: neglect of the social sciences. Society and Natural Resources. 24 (2): 185-192.
Unruh J, McConnell W, Rodman J (2010) Environmental change and adaptation in degraded agro-ecosystems: the case of highland Madagascar. Area. 42: 359-368.
Bruch C, Jensen D, Nakayama M, Unruh J, Gruby R, and Wolfarth R (2009) Post-conflict peacebuilding and natural resources. Yearbook of International Environmental Law. 19:58-96
Unruh JD (2008, submitted and published in 2009) Catalyzing the socio-legal space for armed conflict: land and legal pluralism in pre-war Liberia. Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law. 58: 1-32.
Brottem L, Unruh J (2009) Territorial tensions: rainforest conservation, post-conflict recovery and land tenure. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 99: 995-1002.
Unruh J, Bailey J (2009) Management of spatially extensive natural resources in postwar contexts: working with the peace process. GeoJournal 74: 159-173.
Unruh JD (2009) Land rights in postwar Liberia: the volatile part of the peace process. Land Use Policy 26: 425-433.
Unruh JD (2008) Land policy reform, customary rule of law and the peace process in Sierra Leone. African Journal of Legal Studies 2: 94-117.
Unruh JD (2008) Carbon sequestration in Africa: the land tenure problem. Global Environmental Change: Human and Policy Dimensions 18: 700-707.
Frank EJ, Unruh JD (2008) Demarcating forest, containing disease: land and HIV/AIDS in Southern Zambia. Population and Environment 29: 108-132.
Unruh JD (2008) Toward sustainable livelihoods after war: reconstituting rural land tenure systems. Natural Resources Forum 32: 103-115.
Unruh JD (2007) Urbanization in the developing world and the acutely tenure insecure. City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action. 11: 115-120.
Guyer J, Lambin E, Cliggett L, Walker P, Amanor K, Bassett T, Colson E, Hay R, Homewood K, Linares O, Pabi O, Peters P, Scudder T, Turner M, Unruh J (2007) Temporal heterogeneity in the study of African land use: interdisciplinary collaboration between anthropology, human geography and remote sensing. Human Ecology. 35: 3-17
Cligget L, Coleson E, Hay R, Scudder T, Unruh J (2007) Chronic uncertainty and momentary opportunity: a half century of adaptation among Zambia’s Gwembe Tonga. Human Ecology. 35: 19-31.
Unruh JD (2002, New Series, published in 2007) Postwar resource tenure issues in the settlement of Sudan's dislocated population. Journal of Northeast African Studies 9:1-10
Unruh JD (2006) Land tenure and the ‘evidence landscape’ in developing countries. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 96: 754-772.
Vogt N, Bahati J, Unruh J, Green G, Banana A, Gombya-Ssembajjwe W, Sweeny S. (2006) Integrating remote sensing data and rapid appraisals for land-cover change analyses in Uganda. Land Degradation and Development 17: 31-43
Unruh JD (2005) Changing conflict resolution institutions in the Ethiopian pastoral commons: the role of armed confrontation in rule-making. GeoJournal 64:225-237
Unruh JD (2005) Property restitution laws in a post-war context: the case of Mozambique. African Journal of Legal Studies 3:147-165
Unruh JD, Cligget L, Hay R. (2005) Migrant land rights reception and 'clearing to claim' in Sub-Saharan Africa: A deforestation example from southern Zambia. Natural Resources Forum 29: 190-198
Mulley BG, Unruh JD (2004) The role of off-farm employment in tropical forest conservation: labor, migration, and smallholder attitudes toward land in western Uganda. Journal of Environmental Management 71: 193-205.
Unruh JD, Heynen NC, Hossler P. (2003) The political ecology of recovery from armed conflict: the case of landmines in Mozambique. Political Geography 22: 841-861
Unruh JD (2003) Land tenure and legal pluralism in the peace process. Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research 28: 352-376.
Unruh JD (2002) Poverty and property rights in the developing world: not as simple as we would like. Land Use Policy 19: 275-276
Unruh JD (2002) Local land tenure in the peace process. Peace Review 14: 337-342
Unruh JD (2001) Postwar land dispute resolution: land tenure and the peace process in Mozambique. International Journal of World Peace. 18: 3-30
Hutchinson CF, Unruh JD, Bahre CJ (2000) Land use vs. climate change as causes of vegetation change: a study in SE Arizona. Global Environmental Change: Human and Policy
Dimensions 10: 47-55
Unruh JD (1998) Land tenure and identity change in postwar Mozambique. GeoJournal 46: 89-99 Invited
Unruh JD (1997) The role of land conflict and land conflict resolution in a peace process: Mozambique’s return to agriculture. Refuge 16: 28-33.
Unruh JD, Lefebvre PA (1995) A spatial database approach for estimating areas suitable for agroforestry in Africa. Agroforestry Systems 32: 81-96.
Unruh JD (1995) The relationship between indigenous pastoralist resource tenure and state tenure in Somalia. GeoJournal 36: 19-26
Unruh JD (1995) Post-conflict recovery of African agriculture: The role of 'critical resource' tenure. Ambio 24: 343-350
Unruh JD (1995) Agroforestry, reforestry and the carbon problem: the role of land and tree tenure. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 20: 215-228
Unruh JD (1994) The role of land use pattern and process in the diffusion of valuable tree species. Journal of Biogeography 21: 283-295
Unruh JD (1993) Restocking refugee pastoralists in the Horn of Africa. Disasters 17: 305-320
Unruh JD (1993) An acacia-based design for sustainable livestock carrying capacity on irrigated farmlands in semi-arid East Africa. Ecological Engineering 2: 131-148
Unruh JD (1993) Refugee resettlement on the Horn of Africa: the integration of host and refugee land use patterns. Land Use Policy 10: 49-66
Unruh JD, Houghton RA, Lefebvre PA (1993) Carbon storage in agroforestry: an estimate for sub-Saharan Africa. Climate Research (Special Issue: Management of the Terrestrial Biosphere to Sequester Atmospheric CO2) 3: 39-52
Houghton RA, Unruh JD, Lefebvre PA (1993) Current land use in the tropics and its potential for sequestering carbon. Global Biogeochemical Cycles 7: 305-320
Unruh JD (1991) Nomadic pastoralism and irrigated agriculture in Somalia: utilization of existing land use patterns in designs for multiple access of "high potential" areas of semi-arid Africa. GeoJournal 25: 91-108
Unruh JD (1991) Canopy structure in natural and agroforest successions in Amazonia. Tropical Ecology 32: 168-181
Unruh JD (1990) Integration of transhumant pastoralism and irrigated agriculture in semi-arid East Africa. Human Ecology 18: 223-246
Unruh JD (1990) Iterative increase of economic tree species in managed swidden-fallows of the Amazon. Agroforestry Systems 11: 175-197
Unruh JD (1988) Ecological aspects of site recovery under swidden-fallow management in the Peruvian Amazon. Agroforestry Systems 7: 161-184.
Padoch C, Chota J, De Jong W, Unruh J (1985) Amazonian agroforestry: a market-oriented system in Peru. Agroforestry Systems 3: 47-58
PEER REVIEWED BOOK CHAPTERS & ENTRIES
Unruh J (2018) Rural Africa: Land Tenure. In: Binns T, Lynch K, Neil E (eds.) Handbook of African Development. Routledge, New York. Invited
Unruh J (2017) Postconflict geographies. In: Richardson D et al (eds) The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology. Wiley- AAG. Invited
Unruh JD (2016) The role of land grievance and identity in Yemen's Arab Spring: Prospects for restitution. In: Naous, M. (ed) Identity and Conflict in the Middle East and its Diasporic Cultures. University of Balamand, Lebanon
Unruh JD (2016) Indigenous land rights and conflict in Darfur: The case of the Fur tribe. In: Tidwell, A., and Zellen, B. (eds.) Land, Indigenous Peoples and Conflict. Routledge, New York.
Unruh JD (2015) Micro-regionalism in Africa: Dynamics, Opportunities and Challenges. In: Hanson, K (ed) Contemporary Regional Development in Africa. Ashgate, Farnham.
Unruh J and Williams R (2013) Land: A foundation for peacebuilding. In: Unruh J and Williams R (eds.) (2013) Land and Post-conflict Peacebuilding. Earthscan, London.
Unruh J and Williams R (2013) Lessons learned in land tenure and natural resource management in post-conflict societies. In: Unruh J and Williams R (eds.) (2013) Land and Post-conflict Peacebuilding. Earthscan, London.
Unruh JD (2013) Conflict Resolution and Management of Africa’s Natural Resources. Prepared for the African Capacity Development Foundation, Harare, Zimbabwe.
Unruh JD (2013) Micro-regionalism in Africa: Dynamics, Opportunities and Challenges. Prepared for the African Capacity Development Foundation, Harare, Zimbabwe.
Unruh J and Shalaby M (2012) Road infrastructure reconstruction as a peacebuilding priority in Afghanistan: negative implications for land rights. In: Jensen D, and Lonergan S (eds.) Assessing and Restoring Natural Resources in Post-Conflict Peacebulding. Routledge-Earthscan, New York.
Cliggett L, Colson, E, Hay R, Scudder T, Unruh J. (2010) Adaptive Responses to Environmental and Sociopolitical Change in Southern Zambia. In: D.G. Bates and J. Tucker (eds.), Hu man Ecology: Contemporary Research and Practice, Springer Science
Unruh JD (2009) Humanitarian approaches to conflict and post-conflict legal pluralism in land tenure. In: Pantuliano S (ed). Uncharted territory Land, conflict and humanitarian action. Practical Action Publishers, Warwickshire, UK.
Unruh JD (2008) The property rights perscription: urban migrants versus rural customary land tenure in the developing world. In: Smith B, Mark D, Erlich I (eds) The Mystery of Capital and the Construction of Social Reality. Open Court Press, Chicago.
Unruh JD, Nagendra H, Green GM, McConnell WJ, and Vogt N (2005). Cross-Continental Comparisons: Africa and Asia. In: Moran EF, and Ostrom E (eds.) Seeing the Forest and the Trees: Human-Environment Interactions in Forest Ecosystems. MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.
Unruh JD (2004) Migration induced legal pluralism in land tenure: implications for environmental change. In: Unruh JD, Krol MS, Kliot N (eds.) Environmental Change and its Implications for Population Migration, Kluwer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands
Unruh JD (2004) Rural property rights in a peace process: lessons from Mozambique. In: Warf B, Janelle D, Hanson K (eds.) WorldMinds: 100 Geographical Perspectives On 100 Problems. Kluwer.
Unruh JD (2002) Land dispute resolution in Mozambique: evidence and institutions of agroforestry technology adoption. In Meinzen-Dick R, and Mcculloch A., Place F, Swallow B. (eds.) Innovation in Natural Resource Management: The Role of Property Rights and Collective Action in Developing Countries, Johns Hopkins University Press, London.
Unruh JD (1996) Resource Sharing: small holders and pastoralists in Shalambood, Lower Shabelle Region. In: Besteman C, Cassanelli L (eds.) The Struggle for Land in Southern Somalia: The War Behind the War. Westview Press, Boulder, CO
Unruh JD, and Alcorn JB (1987) Relative dominance of the useful component in young managed fallows at Brillo Nuevo. In: Denevan WM, and Padoch C (eds.) Swidden- Fallow Agroforestry in the Peruvian Amazon. Advances in Economic Botany. New York Botanical Garden, New York, pp. 47-52
Unruh JD, and Paitan SF (1987) Relative abundance of the useful component in old Managed Fallows at Brillo Nuevo. In: Denevan WM, and Padoch C (eds.) Swidden-Fallow Agroforestry in the Peruvian Amazon. Advances in Economic Botany. New York Botanical Garden, New York, pp. 67-73
Padoch C, Chota J, De Jong W, Unruh J (1987) Market-oriented agroforestry at Tamishiyacu. In: Denevan WM, and Padoch C (eds.) Swidden-Fallow Agroforestry in the Peruvian Amazon. Advances in Economic Botany. New York Botanical Garden, New York, pp. 90-96.
Unruh J and Williams R (eds.) (2013) Land and Post-conflict Peacebuilding. Forward by Jeffrey Sachs. Earthscan, London.
Unruh JD, Krol MS, Kliot N (eds.) (2004) Environmental Change and its Implications for Population Migration, Kluwer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands
RECENT POLICY AND PRACTICE WORK
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
4/2019 - 6/2016
Researched and produced document on the intersection of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT) and Land Degradation Neutrality for use by the UNCCD Secretariat at the 14th COP session.
United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, Office of Evaluation. Syria.
12/2018 - 7/2019
Land tenure team member for the Evaluation of FAO Country Programme in the Syrian Arab Republic for the period 2012-2018.
Land Restitution Unit, Government of Colombia
Provided advice and international perspective to the Colombian government’s land restitution program.
German Technical Cooperation, Beirut, Lebanon
Invited to provide advice and presentation on a technical upgrade for mass claims for housing, land and property for refugees and internally dislocated persons from the Syrian war.
Land Restitution Unit, Government of Colombia.
2/2018 - 4/2018
Invited to write the prologue to the Government of Colombia’s book documenting the history and lessons learned of Land Restitution Unit’s postwar land and and property restitution program
UN International Organization for Migration, UN Peacekeeping Fund, Government of Sri Lanka, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Provided advice on housing, land and property restitution remedies to government of Sri Lanka. Advised on restitution and remedy options, innovations, hybrid approaches to IDP returns for Sri Lanka
Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Geneva, Switzerland
Advise UN agencies on housing, land and property restitution remedies for war-affected states.
US Agency for International Development, Washington DC
8/2017 - 2/2018
Provided document, ‘Iraq Country Profile’ resulting from research, both in Iraq and from the existing literature and laws, on land conflicts, armed conflict, water, forests and mineral use, availability, rights. Derived recommendations for Iraq’s land and property donor interventions.
US Agency for International Development, Landlinks, Washington DC
Panelist and provided presentation on housing, land and property in ISIL retaken areas of Iraq at the Land and Conflict webinar.
Global Protection Cluster - Housing, Land and Property and Mine Action Areas of Responsibility, Geneva
Provided guidance on the intersection of land mine clearance and housing, land and property rights in the context of the ‘Land Rights and Mine Action’ webinar.
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Middle East & North Africa Regional Office, Beirut Lebanon.
Provided guidance on adapting the Pinheiro Principles for Housing and Property Restitution for Refugees and Displaced Persons to the Middle East and North Africa Region.
US Agency for International Development
Advised USAID's Land and Urban Office on the relationship between land tenure and violent extremism.
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
3/2017 - 5/2017
Produced publication on land rights and land degradation neutrality to be used in the Conference of the Parties sessions and meetings.
United Nations International Organization for Migration, Erbil, Iraq.
Part of a three person team providing assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish officials for the derivation of a housing, land and property restitution framework for ISIL liberated areas of Iraq.
World Bank, Thematic Group on Land Policy, Washington, DC.
Advised the World Bank's Thematic Group on Land Policy regarding return of refugees, land rights and other postwar issues in the Middle East and Syria in particular.
Danish Demining Group, Danish Refugee Council
Lead consultant on a team project to produce a macro level conflict risk assessment focused on large-scale ongoing infrastructure projects in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. Analysis