Responsible Land Policy in Uganda | Land Portal
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Geographical focus

Context

With an average of 213 inhabitants per km2, population density in Uganda is very high in comparison with other African countries. The population is growing by more than 3.3% per year. Land in Uganda is increasingly being fragmented due to inheritance rules. As a result, land ownership is being split up and competition between different user groups is on the rise. This situation is exacerbated both by the presence of more than 1.4 million refugees from neighbouring countries (as of March 2020) and by large-scale land investment by national and international investors. Against this backdrop of growing competition for dwindling land resources, fair and secure land rights are increasingly important. Uganda has created a favourable framework for reform of land law through a progressive constitution and land policy. The global project is working with local institutions to advance the granting of use and ownership certificates for smallholders as a basis for economic growth and food security.

Activities in Uganda

The project works in three fields of action:

  • Activities in field 1 aim at improving the institutional framework and processes for ensuring land rights. This involves a systematic inventory of land which is the basis for applications for land ownership or use certificates.
  • As part of field 2, civil society is strengthened in regard to responsible land policy and in its capacities to provide information to the population and conducting dialogues with the Government and the private sector. The aim is also that civil society cooperates with the project as an implementing partner.
  • The aim of field of action 3 is to raise agricultural investors’ awareness of responsible land policy. The project is providing advisory services to familiarise investors with relevant international standards, such as the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT).

An example from the field

Less than 10% of all land plots in Uganda are formally registered. Rural populations are particularly likely to lack the documentation to protect their land rights. For this reason, traditional land ownership rights can often be established only with testimony from neighbours, village elders or clan representatives. Attaining land titles or land certificates is a lengthy and costly process and, for most of the rural population, simply not possible. The project Responsible Land Policy in Uganda is working in this area to ensure systematic documentation of the land rights of those living in rural areas. The first stage of the project involves informing the target population about its rights and its scope for protecting its land rights in the long term. One aspect is strengthening women’s rights since land rights are often passed down exclusively to male descendants. The second stage is to establish systematic land inventories at village level, surveying individual land plots digitally and collecting the necessary information concerning owners and users.

The resulting land inventory protocols (LIPs) include all necessary information on neighbours, clans and parcels of land. The documented testimonies of neighbours and clans play a decisive role in avoiding future land conflicts. The LIPs are an adapted and pragmatic minimum standard for securing land rights: the systematic approach markedly reduces the work and costs involved. The LIPs also function as security when holders apply for small loans. LIPs therefore not only improve the land rights situation of those involved but also facilitate their access to credit to enable them to invest in their land. This gives entire families a better future.

Project outputs: 
Library Resource
Promoting Responsible Governance of Investments in Land (RGIL) in Ethiopia

English Version

Institutional & promotional materials
May, 2020
Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Africa, Uganda

The “Responsible Governance of Investments in Land” (RGIL) project in Uganda fosters investment quality promotion to ensure that agriculture and forestry investments in land are productive, contribute to sustainable land management and respect the rights and needs of local populations, including vulnerable groups and women.

Library Resource

Results from the Preliminary Impact Study of the RELAPU Project´s Work in Teso Sub-Region, Eastern Uganda

Reports & Research
October, 2020
Africa, Uganda

Responsible Land Policy in Uganda (RELAPU) is a project implemented by the German International Cooperation (GIZ) and financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). BMZ created the Special Initiative “One World, No Hunger”, aimed to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty. Within this special initiative, RELAPU is part of the Global Programme on Responsible Land Policy presently implemented in eight countries.

Library Resource

Results from the Preliminary Impact Study of the ILGU Project’s work in Central Uganda

Reports & Research
April, 2021
Africa, Eastern Africa, Uganda

Improvement of Land Governance in Uganda (ILGU) is a project implemented by the German International Cooperation (GIZ), seeking to increase productivity of small-scale farmers on private Mailo land in Central Uganda, co-financed by the European Union and German Government through the German Federal Ministry for
Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Library Resource
The customary tenure system in Uganda. A case of Soroti and Katakwi districs

A case of Soroti and Katakwi districts

Reports & Research
April, 2019
Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda

Land in Uganda is a delicate topic. About 80% of pending court cases in the country today are land related. One of Uganda’s tenure systems is the management of land according to customary tenure, especially in Northern Uganda, including the Teso sub-region. With its violent history, a rising population and increasing impact of climate  change on agriculture productivity, land rights in Teso are contested to this day. Due to its violent history and socio-cultural changes, less than 1% of customary land is officially registered.

Library Resource

The case of Mityana, Mubende and Kassanda district

Reports & Research
April, 2019
Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda

Mailo is a unique tenure system in central Uganda. It is divided into three parts: Kabaka’s Mailo, Official Mailo and Private Mailo. Private Mailo belongs to an individual, so-called landowner and it can be sold, subdivided or transmitted. Conflicts on private Mailo can occur between landowners & tenants, tenants & tenants, and landowners & landowners. A key challenge is that there is a lack of knowledge and transparency on land rights on both sides.

Library Resource
Sensitization of private agricultural investors on responsible land investment in Uganda
Reports & Research
July, 2019
Africa, Uganda

The German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) created the Special Initiative “One world, No hunger” aimed to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty. Special focus is on Action Area 6 “Promotion of responsible land use and improvement of access to land”. The German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) has presently implemented the Global Programme on Responsible Land Policy in 6 countries: Peru, Laos, Benin, Madagascar, Ethiopia and Uganda.

Library Resource
RELAPU land conflict resolution cover
Training Resources & Tools
January, 2020
Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Africa, Uganda

Land in Uganda is a delicate resource that has caused many conflicts over the past years. About 80% of pending court cases in the country relate to land today. Looking at the country’s violent history, a rising population and increasing impact of climate change on agriculture productivity, land rights in Uganda are contested to this day. Land conflicts are either within communities, family structures or between individuals and external players such as investors.

Library Resource
RELAPU cover
Training Resources & Tools
January, 2020
Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Africa, Uganda

With the current population of 40 million and 213 inhabitants per km², Uganda is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa. Yet land is a fixed asset. Of all the land in Uganda, approximately 80% of the land area is administered under customary tenure system and approximately 5% only is titled under Mailo, leasehold and freehold tenure. There is a high amount of tenure insecurity in major parts of the population, as the land legislation is not well−known among the rural smallholder farmers.

Library Resource
Fit for purpose RELAPU cover
Training Resources & Tools
January, 2020
Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Africa, Uganda

Uganda   has  been  struggling  to  maintain   a conventional (European-type) land administration system for a long time  but has faced many  challenges   including  lack of funding, inadequate skill force and long- winded procedures. Up to present, the country has only managed to record less than 20 per cent of the land rights. Similar circumstances can be found in many countries in the world. An often-cited estimate indicates that seventy percent of the world´s population is lacking security of tenure.

Library Resource
GIZ (2018) A guide to peaceful co existence on private Mailo land in Uganda
Training Resources & Tools
February, 2018
Africa, Uganda

Mailo tenure is the most legislated form of tenure in Uganda, having its origins in the 1900 Buganda Agreement. Reforms over the years have seen the evolution of this tenure that is essentially freehold in nature, albeit with its local characteristics arising out of an unresolved tenant question. This status quo was reinstated in the 1995 Constitution, the Land Act and its subsequent amendments. Whereas it is expected that reforms introduced by the Constitution and Land Act would suffice in stabilizing Mailo tenure, this has not happened in practice.

Library Resource
GIZ (2019) Training manual for land governance practitioners in Teso Uganda
Training Resources & Tools
August, 2019
Africa, Uganda

The need to strengthen the capacity of CSOs, DLOs, ICU and partners working on land governance in Teso has become obvious if harmonisation of the customary and formal land management systems is to be realised. This is expected to enable a coordinated and systematic approach with one voice.

Knowledge of policies on land governance not only improves the way issues pertaining to land rights are handled; but also minimises waste of time and money lost on land conflict.

Library Resource
Customary Land Governance Guide
Manuals & Guidelines
December, 2019
Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Africa, Uganda

Responsible Land Policy in Uganda (RELAPU) is a project implemented by the German International Cooperation (GIZ) and financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). BMZ created the Special Initiative “One World, No Hunger”, aimed at eradicating extreme hunger and poverty. Within this special initiative, RELAPU is part of the Global Programme on Responsible Land Policy currently implemented in eight countries.

Library Resource
Training Handbook for Land Governance Practitioners on Private Mailo land
Training Resources & Tools
April, 2020
Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Africa, Uganda

Knowledge of policies on land governance not only improves the way issues pertaining to land rights are handled; but also minimises waste of time and money lost on land conflict.

This Training Manual is a practical handbook to be used by trainers on land governance on private Mailo land. It contains several methods and approaches for content delivery carefully crafted to improve understanding and appreciation of the laws governing Mailo land.

Library Resource
Land Conflict Mediation Guide - Private Mailo Land
Training Resources & Tools
April, 2020
Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Africa, Uganda

Land in Uganda is a delicate resource that has caused many conflicts over the past years. About 80% of pending court cases in the country relate to land today. Looking at the country’s violent history, a rising population and increasing impact of climate change on agriculture productivity, land rights in Uganda are contested to this day. Land conflicts are either within communities, family structures or between individuals and external players such as investors.

Library Resource
Land Capacity Building Guide - Focusing on private Mailo land
Training Resources & Tools
April, 2020
Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Africa, Uganda

Responsible Land Policy in Uganda (RELAPU) is a project implemented by the German International Cooperation (GIZ) and financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). BMZ created the Special Initiative “One World, No Hunger”, aimed at eradicating extreme hunger and poverty. Within this special initiative, RELAPU is part of the Global Programme on Responsible Land Policy currently implemented in eight countries.

Library Resource

Comprehensive coherent land conflict management mechanisms in Teso sub-region

Reports & Research
July, 2017
Sub-Saharan Africa, Uganda

Teso Initiative for Peace (TIP) received funds from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) that has been delegated through Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) under a project titled “Responsible Land Policy in Uganda” (RELAPU). In its pursuit to reduce extreme poverty and hunger in the world under its Field of Action 6 i.e.

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