Much of the world’s rural landscapes are technically managed by national governments with limited recognition of, or support for, the rights and management responsibilities of the rural poor who live in these areas. In an era of large-scale land acquisitions for global commodity production, this has led, in some cases, to governments allocating vast tracts of land and resources to companies with limited or no consultation of the people affected.
Matt Sommerville is the Chief of Party of the USAID Tenure and Global Climate Change Program, which is implementing activities to improve climate change mitigation and adaptation interventions through strengthening land and resource rights. The program is active in Zambia, Burma, Vietnam, Ghana and Paraguay. Since 2014, Matt has been backstopping a customary land certfication process that has resulted in the documentation of over 15,000 parcels of land across five chiefdoms in Zambia's Eastern Province.