South Sudan

South Sudan


Since its independence from Sudan in 2011, the new state of South Sudan is experiencing political and economic instability. The country is made up of 10 states with a population of roughly 10 million people, while 3 million people migrated to neighboring countries. The economy of the country is largely based on oil exports that account for 71% of the total GDP. Three-quarters of the population relies on farming and pastoralism.

The Transitional Constitution of 2011 establishes that all land is owned by the people of South Sudan, giving the government responsibility for the regulation of land tenure and exercise of land rights. According to the Constitution, all levels of government incorporate customary rights and practices into their policies and strategies. Consequently, three Acts have been passed: the Land Act, which recognizes rights to customary, public and private land; the Local Government Act, which gives the power to local government and traditional authorities to regulate and manage land; and the Investment Promotion Act, which sets the procedures for private investments. However, the majority of the population is unaware the laws or the rights they infer. As a result, customary laws and practices continue to govern the access, use and allocation of land.

The civil war in South Sudan was mainly caused by the need for self-determination, unequal development and control’s of the country’s natural resources. After the signing of the peace agreement, land disputes continued to increase due to the uncertainty of borders and to the unequal access to land and natural resources. In this regard, the government has tried to empower local institutions to act as mediators in land disputes, but the lack of clear rules and regulations prevents the actual resolution of disputes related to land. 

Source of the narrative

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Indicators Year Value Unit Dataset Source Remove

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Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF)

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    • Very Good Practice
    • Good Practice
    • Weak Practice
    • Very Weak Practice
    • Missing Value

    Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure

    Legend: National laws adoption of the VGGT principle
    • Fully adopt
    • Partially adopt
    • Not adopted
    • Missing Value

    Note: The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (The VGGTs) were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in 2012.

    The "VGGT indicators" dataset has been created by Nicholas K. Tagliarino, PhD Candidate at the University of Groningen. The indicators of this dataset assess national laws against Section 16 of the VGGT standards on expropriation, compensation, and resettlement.

    Each indicator relates to a principle established in the VGGTs.

    Answering the questions posed by these indicators entails analyzing a broad range of national-level laws, including national constitutions, land acquisition acts, land acts, community land acts, agricultural land acts, land use regulations, and some court decisions.


    Latest News

    Land ownership and conflict of laws in South Sudan

    By Ajo Noel Julious K.

    Land in South Sudan is a prickly thing, complicated even further by the confusion associated with legal land ownership. The parallels and discrepancies between provisions in the laws and practice on the ground have driven the confusion. The absence of sound government policy on land ownership has made it even worse.


    Displaying 1 - 6 of 33

    A conflict-sensitive approach is needed

    Despite good potential for food production, South Sudan’s agriculture is not feeding its population. The impacts of decades of armed conflict are posing enormous challenges for the sector. Farmer Field Schools seem to be a promising instrument to improve food security and livelihoods of small-scale farmers in the country.

    Resource information

    June 2013