Despite the achievement of Constitutional democracy in 1994, 'the land question' is at the heart of South Africa's struggles to overcome the cumulative legacies of nearly 350 years of white minority rule. The emotive quality of land policies evokes painful legacies fuelled by disappointments with the official land reform programme ushered in by the new Constitution of 1996. There is broad agreement that land reform programmes have not fulfilled their aims to significantly redistribute land and productive agrarian capacity, strengthen land tenure for the majority, and settle the restitution claims of victims of land dispossession.
Land is an important source of identity, symbol of social status and foundation for rural power in India, often carrying significant emotional attachment. With a long history, diverse geography and pluralistic culture, land governance has evolved in India through communal, imperial, feudal, colonial and modern systems, gradually moving towards individualization and conclusive titling.
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 the expansion of cities and urban infrastructure comes a growing need to better understand the relationship between people and land in urban and peri-urban areas.