Land Governance

responsible land policy
© GIZ/Henderikus Velzing

Reliable access to land is a basis for rural development. GIZ therefore supports the strengthening of property, ownership and land use rights as well as sustainable spatial and land use planning in the partner countries.

The existence of many people depends directly on the land on which they live and farm. But land is a limited resource and demand is rising. Land conflicts arise because it is usually not clearly regulated who owns the land and who may use it. The World Bank estimates that 70 percent of the world’s population cannot formally register land ownership. In Africa, only ten percent of the land area is registered. Informality often prevails in the cities as well. In many countries, the use of land is regulated according to local customary law. According to surveys by the PRINDEX initiative, one billion people worldwide fear that they will have to leave their homes or land within five years because they do not have secure land rights.

At the same time, national and international investors buy up large areas of land – and often drive away the people who live there. Women, marginalised groups and the indigenous population are particularly affected. Being without land deprives them of the opportunity to produce food for themselves and others. Moreover, investors do not take sufficient account of environmental and climate protection. Sustainable rural development is therefore not possible.

Investments are only possible and a sustainable and productive rural economy can only be established if there is legal certainty and land users can plan for the long term. Access to land must be socially balanced. The rights of individuals and groups must be taken into account.

On behalf of the Federal Government, GIZ supports its partner countries in strengthening their land governance and creating more legal certainty. GIZ advocates equal recognition of the various forms of land rights, in particular traditional land rights. All measures contribute to poverty reduction, gender equality and conflict resolution:


Fair access to land

GIZ is committed to fair access to land and secure land rights so that small farmers can secure their livelihoods and food. The human rights-based approach of the "Voluntary guidelines on the responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests in the context of national food security" of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is an important guideline.


Advice and participation

GIZ advises its partners on legislation and the establishment of land administrations, such as land registries or local land registers. At national and local level, it advocates fair legal conditions and encourages citizens to participate in political decisions.


Women's rights

GIZ supports gender equality by advising its national partners and traditional authorities and by promoting women’s rights.


Investment framework

Under the right conditions, investment in land can increase productivity and create jobs, income and better infrastructure. GIZ supports partner countries in setting the right framework.


Digitalisation and Open Data

IT systems constitute an important component in the documentation of land rights. They increase transparency, improve data management in public administration and simplify the use of land rights documents for landowners.