In West Africa, land questions are rising in importance. As pressures on resources increase, farmers need sufficient tenure security to encourage production and investment in land. The procedures governing access to and control over land are of vital importance in promoting intensification and commercialisation of agriculture, combating poverty, and reducing risks of conflict. At the same time, the process of decentralisation and establishment of new local government structures raise the question of which institutions should be responsible for land management. The last ten years have seen a growing body of experience with new approaches to land policy and interventions. The land tenure issue in much of Africa is characterised by the co-existence of different systems of regulation – governmental and traditional/local – which often overlap and contradict each other. Rural people rarely have access to formal legal procedures, due to large discrepancies or contradictions between legal texts and local realities, the complexity and cost of the procedures involved, lack of awareness of legal provisions, and so forth. As a result, their rights exist in a state of legal limbo, which puts them in a position of considerable insecurity.
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD) is a Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.