Responsible land policy

Project description

Title: Global project: Responsible land policy
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Global; Benin, Lao PDR, Madagascar, Paraguay, Peru, Uganda
Overall term: 2015 to 2021

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Context

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 access, the results are often hunger and underdevelopment. According to UN World Food Programme estimates, half of the 815 million people suffering from hunger in 2017 were members of smallholder families. Many landowners and land users possess only informal or traditional land rights, which are often not sufficiently recognised.

Besides its value as a factor of production, land is accorded high traditional, religious and social value in almost all cultures. Large-scale investment in land is placing growing pressure on land as a resource. In the absence of protective 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 it becomes increasingly scarce. Many countries have committed themselves to good governance in land policy 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. The rural population in particular, especially women and socially marginalised groups, often lack reliable access to land.

Objective

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

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Approach

Together with policy-makers in the partner countries, the project team is working to improve the basic conditions for land policy. In collaboration with its partners, the project sets out to introduce transparent procedures and mechanisms in land administration, thereby improving the population’s situation with respect to land rights.

The project focuses on three areas:

  1. Securing land use and land ownership rights for the rural population through improved procedures
    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. In Madagascar, the project focuses on linking secure land rights and the rehabilitation of forest areas with food security.
  2. Drafting and implementing responsible land policies with civil society involvement
    The project team supports civil society groups that participate 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.
  3. Raising the awareness of private agricultural investors for responsible land policies through national transparency initiatives
    The project team supports dialogue forums that bring together various actors to discuss the challenges, opportunities and solutions for responsible land-related investments, for example.

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

The project is guided in its work by two documents adopted by 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, while in Madagascar, the implementing partner is a working group on land resources comprising the ECO Consulting Group and GOPA Consultants. In Uganda, the European Union is supporting the project by providing cofinancing.

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