In the past decade, significant international attention focused on “land grabs” in developing countries by companies and others hungry for land to grow food and procure resources for the world’s growing population.
The ‘age of ignorance’
For a long time land governance, land tenure and land rights remained in the ‘age of ignorance’. We have known for some time that land governance is a key ingredient for social, economic and environmental development; what was missing, however, was the data. With the little information available to us at the time, we set priorities and crafted interventions for our course of work. Relying on a few rough figures meant that we were often repeating mantras and slogans based on loose, rather than on hard and reliable facts. Most notable among these was the often repeated and now widely disputed, “women own 2% of the world’s land”.
Across the globe, indigenous and rural women make invaluable contributions to their communities and toward global sustainable development and climate goals. They use, manage, and conserve the community territories that comprise over 50 percent of the world’s land and support up to 2.5 billion people.
This year's Goldman Environmental Prize winner says the battle for land rights in Liberia is just getting underway. Alfred Brownell is the recipient of the 2019 Goldman Environmental Prize and founder of Green Advocates an NGO and academic at Northeastern University School of Law
This week, more than 1,500 development professionals from around the world are gathering at the World Bank’s annual Land and Poverty Conference, discussing the latest research and innovations in policies and good practice on land governance.
Conservation, said Aldo Leopold, is harmony between (wo)men and land. Land should justifiably figure not only into the conservation, but also in development debates, policy and discourses. Missing land rights and land tenure security can be costly for states, communities as well as local and global development.
There is a strong and compelling environment and development case to be made for securing indigenous and community lands. Securing collective land rights offers a low-cost, high-reward investment for developing country governments and their partners to meet national development objectives and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Securing community lands is also a cost-effective climate mitigation measure for countries when compared to other carbon capture and storage approaches.
Of late, land has increasingly been figuring into the development sector, for both positive and negative reasons.
The Sengwer are an indigenous hunter-gatherer people living along the slopes of the Cherangany Hills in the western highlands of Kenya. Their estimated population is 33,187.
We cannot restore tropical forests without restoring the rights of their traditional owners.
Implementing a coordinated global response to curb demand for energy and eliminate further deforestation would reduce the need to deploy artificial carbon dioxide removal technologies, according to a decisive report from the U.N. scientific panel on climate change.