In Latin American and the Caribbean region (LAC), millions of families lack access to land for shelter or live in insecure tenure under a constant threat of being evicted from their homes. Land conflicts and forced evictions are increasingly reported and a key issue in the advocacy agenda of civil society and grassroots organizations.
From 13-27 February 2017, the Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) project and the Land Portal co-facilitated an online dialogue on the Recognition of Customary Tenure in the Mekong Region.
Land tenure changes are on the rise throughout the world as a result of increased migration from rural to urban areas, expansion of infrastructure, commercial pressures on agricultural land, extractive activities, and climate change. Shifts in land tenure arrangements are proceeding through compulsory acquisitions (i.e. expropriations) and voluntary market transactions, such large-scale land leases and concessions.
Generally, most rural land in the world has been in the hands of local peasant communities and indigenous peoples under customary land tenure systems; historically although, land ownership in rural areas, and natural resources contained in it, have been a source of tension between different actors with different ways to understand and take ownership. In this conflict of interest, usually rural and indigenous communities with collective forms of property, have lost out.
In land governance, a sector ripe for abuse and corruption, transparency is critical in ensuring land use and allocation is fair and accountable and that tenure rights can be defended and protected. The consequences of a lack of transparency include increased difficulty in unlocking the value of the land as an asset and a lack of awareness of land policies and legal frameworks that can undermine land tenure security, potentially leading to a misallocation of land rights.