Today we are pleased to mark the official launch of PlaceFund, an independent US nonprofit organization focused on addressing issues of insecure property rights, unsustainable land use, and climate change. Built off a decade as the Property Rights initiative at Omidyar Network, PlaceFund will operate under the leadership of Peter Rabley and Amy Regas, who will be leaving Omidyar Network to run this venture, and they will take our shared commitment to property rights and geospatial technology into the new decade.
Last week, our colleague Ghanimat Azhdari was one of the 176 people who lost their lives in a plane that crashed just outside of Tehran, Iran. While our interaction with Ghanimat was brief, our team had the pleasure and honour of working with Ghanimat at the First Arab Land Conference, which took place in Dubai in February of 2018.
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.
Rwanda is a small country and landlocked. It covers an area of 26,338 km². In Rwanda, land is an important issue due to two different characteristics: first is that Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in the world (416 people per km2 – (NISR, 2012). Being an agricultural country, where over 85% of its working class citizens depend on agriculture, adds more pressure on land as the sole economic capital to the rural peasants.
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 .