Overview of the UK Land Policy Forum
The UK Land Policy Forum (UKLPF) was set up in 2015 to provide a focus for debate, information and lesson sharing amongst UK stakeholders to inform DFID and wider UK policy and programming for strengthening of land governance and land rights protection.
The forum held events every six months between November 2015 and December 2019, covering themes of corruption, women’s economic empowerment, forests, legal empowerment and much more.
It has acted as an informal meeting space to build networks, exchange ideas and discuss what has and has not worked in interventions to strengthen land rights at scale and responsible land investment. It created a sense of community and enabled the land community to reach out to other thematic communities.
"[The UKLPF] is a great platform for policy discussions and action around land-based investments and I do hope you will manage to continue the great work.”
– participant in final UKLPF.
The first meeting of the forum brought together stakeholders – from investors to academics, to practitioners – to introduce the LEGEND programme and discuss its future direction. This event set the scene for future forum events, with participants identifying priorities for future UKLPF themes and their hopes for what the forum could achieve.
In the lead-up to the UK’s Anti-Corruption Summit in May 2016, the UKLPF convened an event to highlight the risks of land corruption and the relevance of land to broader governance. This event featured research on land-related corruption processes, impacts, and policy and practice solutions from LEGEND-CLST and Streamhouse Ltd, Transparency International and ICAR. The Land Registry of England and Wales presented proposals to extend the Registry of Beneficial Ownership to a broader set of UK-related land and property owners to reduce corruption.
Building on the launch of the High-level Panel (HLP) report on and women’s economic empowerment (WEE) in September 2016, this event discussed the link between land and WEE, and steps the land community could take to support the HLP recommendations. The meeting reviewed the HLP report and its references to land, LEGEND work to update the evidence on land and WEE, and examples across Africa, Asia and Latin America of how women’s land rights are being strengthened through DAI’s and RRI’s work.
Innovations in technology are revolutionising efforts to document land rights and to open up access to land data around the world; however, they are not without challenges. This event was convened to discuss the use of new technologies to map and document land rights, and their impact on land registration and administration, highlighting the opportunities and challenges. Countries featured included Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zambia, drawing on the experience of DAI, Namati and Cadasta.
With growing efforts being made to promote legal empowerment in the context of transnational agribusiness investments, this forum discussed approaches and tools, and practical experience in legal empowerment. Countries featured included Liberia, Kenya, DRC, Cameroon, Sierra Leone and Ghana, drawing on experience from Namati, CCSI, the Forest Peoples Programme and IIED’s longstanding Legal Tools for Citizen Empowerment work.
UKLPF VI: Land and Inclusive Agribusiness
In the run-up to the publication of the LEGEND Core Land Support Team’s State of the Debate Report on Inclusive Agribusiness in September 2018, this Forum provided an opportunity to discuss whether the tide is turning around investment strategies in agriculture. With a heightened interest in outgrower schemes, the audience debated whether large companies are in the process of abandoning “nucleus” or plantation-based, production models in favour of more inclusive production models, and what opportunities and challenge to rural land rights this development presents.
UKLPF VII: Land, Forests and Climate
Organised in collaboration with DFID’s Partnerships for Forests (P4F) programme, this meeting aimed to draw together lessons from the LEGEND and P4F programmes. Participants explored how forest protection, secure land rights and responsible investment in forest areas can be combined to promote responsible and sustainable and inclusive investments in forest land. Linkages between efforts to encourage better land governance and tackle climate change and prevent deforestation were also discussed.
UKLPF VIII: Benefits, achievements and consequences of DFID’s Land Tenure Regularisation (LTR Programmes)
Since its involvement in Land Tenure Regularisation (LTR) from 2002-04 in Guyana, DFID has expanded its portfolio of programmes to support LTR in other countries, including Rwanda, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Mozambique. LEGEND CLST partnered with DAI to produce a report to reflect on DFID’s experience of Land Tenure Regularisation programmes, and draw together lessons and findings for donors and in-country advisors thinking about future programming and implementation. The report was presented and published at the forum, giving attendees an opportunity to discuss and provide feedback on these findings.
UKLPF IX: Urban land
Organised in collaboration with UN-Habitat, this forum focussed on the increasingly important theme of urban land governance. Rapid expansion and development of cities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, creates significant development opportunities and challenges. In order to provide a primary location for the development of high-value added sectors, cities need to be planned and managed effectively. Land governance is critical to this and determines several crucial conditions for inclusive urban development. The forum explored the principal barriers to effective urban land governance and how they can be overcome, drawing on successful lessons from rural land governance.
UKLPF X: Responsible Land Investment – Reflecting on Learnings from LEGEND-CLST and looking ahead to DFID’s future programming on land
The 10th and final Forum provided an opportunity to reflect on achievements and learnings, and openly discuss DFID’s past, present and future programming around land. It presented and discussed the most important findings from the past five years of the LEGEND programme, with a particular focus on responsible land investment. It also updated the audience on DFID’s land portfolio and provided participants, including policymakers, researchers and CSOs a chance to debate on and feed into DFID’s future thinking.