Our comprehensive collection of issue guides cover everything from land conflicts to corruption, food security to gender, climate change, the SDGs, urban and forest tenure, indigenous land rights and much more.
From large land acquisitions that displace communities without due compensation, to the encroachment of mining on indigenous lands, to the brunt of climate change and natural disasters, to everyday land and property deprivation by kin or state, women are typically more harshly impacted by land tenure insecurity due to discriminatory laws and lingering social bias.
Corruption in land governance is commonly defined as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain while carrying out the functions of land administration and land management. When land investors target countries with weak governance, the risk of corruption is high. Likewise, corruption is more likely to occur when local elites are able to manipulate their country’s land governance systems for their own benefit.
Restoration is an urgent correction to the past and current global land degradation trends, to return forest cover, improve food security, and tackle climate change – among other goals. It has been estimated over 2 billion hectares of degraded land provide opportunities for forest and landscape restoration . In September 2011, world leaders launched global Bonn Challenge – a voluntary global initiative that aimed to restore 150 million hectares of degraded land by 2020 .
The global Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) movement is gaining momentum. Thus, it is important to clarify what FLR is, the concepts, opportunities, challenges and its future implications.
Post-conflict situations remain strained for years and can easily relapse into violence during the first two decades. During this social, political, and economic transition phase, post-conflict countries are especially fragile and vulnerable. Increasingly acknowledged as a key driver or root cause for conflict, land is as much a critical relapse factor as it is a bottleneck to recovery . In the aftermath of war, access to and control of land and natural resources often remains a sensitive issue for years which may precipitate tensions and challenge stability. At the same time, resolving land-related issues is significant to achieve sustainable and durable peace. Yet, it is just one item on a long list of issues that need to be addressed in post-conflict periods next to reconciliation and transitional justice processes, establishing security and a functioning state, economic recovery, and the rebuilding of social cohesion .
Conflict is a major cause and, in some cases, result of humanitarian crises. Conflict frequently overlaps with underlying social inequalities, poverty and high levels of vulnerability. Conflicts are direct threats to food security as they cause massive loss of life and therefore loss of workforce (which is particularly important, as agriculture tends to rely heavily on human labour), loss of vital livestock, and loss of land. Conflicts displace millions of people each year, often forcing them to flee with nothing and making them extremely reliant on the communities that offer them shelter and humanitarian aid. This can place unsustainable pressure on hosting communities that often face high levels of food insecurity and struggle to make ends meet.
Producing food for the world’s growing rural and urban populations starts with agricultural land. Reducing current high levels of hunger and malnutrition, as called for by the Sustainable Development Goals, will depend on land use decisions and governance from the global to the local level. Although about 40 percent of the world’s land is used for crop production and pasture, today some 800 million people remain food insecure and as many as 2 billion are malnourished. Achieving food security requires physical, social, and economic access to safe and nutritious food.
With secure land tenure, Indigenous Peoples and local communities can realize human rights, achieve economic growth, protect the environment, and maintain cultural integrity. For centuries, Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) have used, managed and depended on collectively-held land for food supplies, cultural and spiritual traditions, and other livelihood needs. Historically governed through customary tenure systems rooted in community norms and practices that often go back centuries, governments often consider such community land as vacant, idle, or state-owned property. Statutory recognition and protection of indigenous and community land rights continues to be a major challenge.
Climate change can destabilize existing land and resource governance institutions and associated property rights across the spectrum of landscape types. Transformed climatic conditions, manifested in either rapid-onset or slow-onset ways, can change how land and natural resources are accessed and used as geographical shifts in resource productivity, resource scarcity, and therefore land use patterns occur.