Responsible land policy

Project description

Title: Global project: Responsible land policy
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Global – Uganda, Benin, Peru
Overall term: 2015 to 2019


The livelihoods of large parts of the world’s population depend directly on access to land and the certainty that they can use that land in the long term. If they are denied that access, the results are often hunger and underdevelopment. According to World Food Programme estimates, in 2015 half of the 795 million people suffering from hunger were members of smallholder families. Many landowners and land users possess only informal or traditional land rights, which are often given insufficient recognition.

Besides its value as a factor of production, land is accorded high traditional, religious and social values in almost all cultures. Large-scale land purchases are placing growing pressure on land as a resource. In the absence of protection measures and planning transparency compounded by inadequate conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms, such investments often lead to conflict, forced expropriation and displacement. Thus the pressure on land continues to intensify as this resource becomes increasingly scarce. Many countries have committed themselves to good governance in land administration, and have signed up to the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, yet they still face considerable challenges in upholding these commitments. Above all the rural population, in particular women and socially marginalised groups, often lack reliable access to land.


In selected partner countries, the introduction of secure and equitable land use and land ownership rights, coupled with responsible land use practices, have established the prerequisites for sustainable development and food security.

Land surveying in Benin. © GIZ/Ines Adingni


Together with political decision-makers in the partner countries, the project team works to improve the basic conditions for land policy. With its partners, the project sets out to introduce transparent procedures and mechanisms in land administration, thereby improving the people’s situation with respect to land rights.

The project focuses on three areas. Firstly, improved procedures are to be established with a view to consolidating the land use and ownership rights of the rural population. In Peru the main emphasis is on land titles for the areas of indigenous communities, while in Benin and Uganda it is on individual households, whose legal security is strengthened through property titles and long-term leases.

Civil society involvement is central to the drafting and implementation of a responsible land policy. For this reason the project team also supports the participation of civil society groups in the implementation of new procedures for securing land rights. For instance, they perform an important role in monitoring conflicts and shaping dialogue processes, and act as service providers.

Moreover, through national transparency initiatives, the project is raising the awareness of private agricultural investors for responsible land policies. To this end the project team supports dialogue forums that bring together various actors to discuss the challenges, opportunities and solutions for responsible land-related investments.

In the partner countries, these activities are integrated in national policies and programmes. To achieve rapid results, the project is linked to and collaborates with existing projects of German development cooperation.

The project is guided in its work by two documents of the UN Committee on World Food Security: the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security and the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems.

In Benin, the project is being implemented through a joint initiative by AFC and 2D3D.GIS.

In Madagascar, a lack of land use planning and insecure land rights often result in overuse and degradation of the land. © GIZ/Klaus Ackermann