Welcome to 2019. In San Francisco, commuters shuttle to work in self-driving Ubers. In Rwanda, drones deliver blood to patients. In China, Xiaomi released a $500 phone that allows users to map the world with 30 centimeter accuracy.
And yet, a quarter of the world’s population lacks a fundamental human right: the right to property.
I had the privilege of representing the Land Portal Foundation at the FAO Expert consultation on “Knowledge sharing for agricultural innovations applicable for smallholders and family farmers in Europe and Central Asia”, which took place in Gödöllő (Hungary) from the 10-13 September 2018.
In the last five years, significant steps have been taken to put land tenure security as a priority in global policy frameworks, but also in implementation plans. A side event at CFS45, organised by the Global Donor Working Group on Land with other key players, took stock of progress.
After decades of being the elephant in the room of global development, only now are we seeing increased recognition of land rights
Fred Nelson is executive director of Maliasili and Michael Taylor is director of International Land Coalition
Land rights have finally been invited to the party - sitting at the intersection of some of the world’s most urgent development, environmental, and human rights priorities.
Commercial agriculture has driven land use changes and not only affected millions of hectares of forested land, but also farmers’ and local people’s land rights. Efforts to combat deforestation are at the forefront of the international aid agenda, and clarifying and securing land rights is important for its success.
With the inclusion of several land-related indicators in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), land data collection and monitoring has reached an unprecedented momentum. There is a palpable positive drive within both global and local civil society to contribute to the official process through advocacy, data collection and international monitoring efforts. The broad consensus is that data and information are building blocks that support better informed decision and policy making at all levels.
On September 19, Liberian President George Manneh Weah signed into law the Land Rights Bill (LRB), a landmark piece of legislation that recognizes the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities to their customary lands and gives customary land the same standing as private land in Liberia.
Following last week’s meeting of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS), this piece reflects on a key CFS soft-law instrument. It is an edited extract from the article “International Soft-Law Instruments and Global Resource Governance: Reflections on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure”, Law, Environment and Development Journal (2017) 13(2):115-133. The full article can be freely downloaded at http://www.lead-journal.org/content/17115.pdf.
A revolution is underway. In Latin America, it has likely crested. In Southeast Asia and West Africa, it is moving apace. In East Africa, it is at its most intense.
It is brewing most remarkably not in storied national capitals and megacities, but in the medium sized, second-tier cities, less watched by governments and journalists. Cities that might double in size in 12-15 years, yet already under-resourced.
It is a demographic revolution: significant population growth which drives the epochal growth of city dwelling, as the world becomes ever more urban.