Women in the village of Garak, Mauritania - photo: World Bank

Women in the village of Garak, Mauritania - photo: World Bank

Integrating Land Governance into the Post-2015 Development Agenda

This year’s conference theme has special relevance for Africa, where some 90% of rural land is undocumented and vulnerable to land acquisitions, and up to 70% of farmers are women who are mostly locked out of land ownership.  From March 24-27, hundreds of representatives from governments, civil society, academia, the development community, and the private sector will discuss and debate critical land and natural resource rights issues, including:

  • Women’s rights to land and other productive resources
  • Implementation of national land policies and laws
  • Community rights to land and natural resources
  • Transparency in land deals and good governance of land

You can view live webcasts and download papers for specific sessions from the World Bank Confernce website. And, see below for daily conference highlights, and related commentaries on Talking Land. We will also share updates with more inside the sessions here.

Highlights from Land and Poverty 2014

Darrel Webber, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil: Indonesia: Many companies need to realize that the cost of doing business must include the cost of due diligence [in relationship to local land rights]. Rather than thinking about how to lower these transactions costs, they need to figure these costs in early and plan for them.

Barbara Bramble, National Wildlife Federation: Programs that certify good practices in large-scale investments cannot impact systematic problems until they encompass a huge chunk of the market, and we're nowhere near that. But systemic solutions ultimately need to start with the particular, make sure a project is benefitting the local people involved. Appropriate benefits and compensation for communities are exhibit #1.

Dr. Muhammed Swazuri

Dr. Muhammed Swazuri, Chairman, The National Land Commission, Kenya: Effective implementation of our first Strategic Plan will be important to answer the land question in Kenya and in meeting the expectations of our citizenry. Land is the engine of socio-economic and political development.

Charity Ngilu, Minster of Land, Housing and Urban Development, Kenya: The Community Land Bill is about to go to Parliament, so that community rights are actually in law. The law provides that women can own land. In the last batch of titles, almost half were to women. As the person heading the Land Ministry, women are looking upon me as a person to ensure that their rights are not trampled.

Daudi Migereko, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Uganda: The young men and women in villages have mobile phones and internet. Every day they are demanding: “What are you doing that you cannot provide us with the kind of lives other governments are offering.” Nobody should ever be confined to using the hoe, confined to using manual power to produce food for himself or herself. It’s our duty to deal with these issues. We talk about wanting to transform, indeed we will transform.

Iris Krebber

Iris Krebber, DFID, UK:  We need to translate knowledge into land policies and practice that promote sustainable development and leave no one behind.

See DFID’s new Land Topic Guide.


Judy Adoko

Insights from Judy Adoko, LEMU: For the first time, Uganda has a National Land Policy, and it supports customary land rights. To secure community lands, we need family land titles, rather than individual titles.

L. Hannay

Leslie Hannay, Fellow, Landesa Center for Women's Land Rights:
Empowered with the knowledge of their own rights women can understand and resolve their land issues through supported engagement with their families, communities and formal and customary institutions. Women's land rights on customary land can be made more secure if the approach starts with women.

Steven Raoul Filip Jonckheere, IFAD, Italy: There is always room for improvement.

It's the details of the partnership between small holder farmers and private sector that are important. We need to look at local land rights so that land rights, livelihoods of small holder farmers, pastoralists and other vulnerable groups are strengthened.

Eddie Nsamba Gayliya, Consultant Surveyors and Planners, Uganda:
“When you see a region where only 25% of land can be used by the communities, there is historical injustice.” In Karamoja, Uganda, 41% of the land is conservation area; 12% is forest reserve and 25% is mining. The pastoralists have lost their land rights. The national land policy says that free prior and informed consent should be written in the law. Investors should be required to do human rights impact assessments.

Joyce Nangobi, Slum Women’s Initiative for Development, Uganda: "Women’s land ownership is central to improving our daily lives.” SWID overcame barriers blocking women from purchasing housing and accessing land titles. Acting collectively, they refused demands for bribes, and followed the titling process step-by-step. “Activism has allowed us to play a bigger role in many areas of decision-making in the household and community.”

Rachael Knight

Rachael Knight, Namati: If land mapping is not accompanied by community empowerment efforts that promote good governance, they may create more harm than good.

Babette Wehrmann

Babette Wehrmann, Freelance Consultant, Germany: (How land governance can become a part of CSR)

There is a need to keep land governance high on the development agenda. But there must be a business case for companies, governments to respect responsible land governance. This is not just visionary, its something some companies already do.

Mahashe |Armstrong Chaka

Mahashe Armstrong Chaka, Land Administration Authority, Lesotho: In order to achieve effective land governance post 2015 we must develop mandatory impact and evaluation tools that can be applied universally, just like the ELGAF

Godber Tumushabe, Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, Uganda: In Uganda, we need a comprehensive land civic education and awareness program. We need to invest in educating our citizens in understanding their rights and obligations as far as land policy is concerned. This is a precondition for whatever work you are going to do. Then our citizens will also be able to ask us to fulfill our commitments.

Peter Veit, World Resources Institute: Rural communities rely on land and natural resources for their livelihoods, but these resources are often not included under the law. We need to expand the bundle of land rights to include natural resource rights.

Jimmiel Mandinga

Jimmiel Mandinga, AWF: as the Zambian government reforms its Land Act, an innovative approach protects community land rights, brings economic benefits, and protects wildlife.

See slide show and conference poster.