Access to Land & Tenure Security

Land tenure is the relationship, whether legally or customarily defined, among people, as individuals or groups, with respect to land. (For convenience, "land" is used here to include other natural resources such as water and trees.) Land tenure is an institution, i.e., rules invented by societies to regulate behaviour. Rules of tenure define how property rights to land are to be allocated within societies. They define how access is granted to rights to use, control, and transfer land, as well as associated responsibilities and restraints. In simple terms, land tenure systems determine who can use what resources for how long, and under what conditions.

Land tenure is an important part of social, political and economic structures. It is multi-dimensional, bringing into play social, technical, economic, institutional, legal and political aspects that are often ignored but must be taken into account. Land tenure relationships may be well-defined and enforceable in a formal court of law or through customary structures in a community. Alternatively, they may be relatively poorly defined with ambiguities open to exploitation.

Source: GLTN

 

ActionAid and IFSN publish brief introduction to the FAOs Voluntary Guidelines

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The majority of the world live in rural areas and are dependent on land and land based resources. The increasing pressure on land, particularly that used for food production, by countries and private investors poses a huge risks to millions of these rural communities. One of the major causes is weak and poor governance in land tenure systems, as most Governments have so far failed to provide adequate safeguards to protect poor people from eviction or dispossession leaving them without compensation and remedy. 

From Under Their Feet

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This paper was commissioned by ActionAid and serves as a think-piece to build our understanding of the gendered implications of the recent wave of large-scale land acquisitions and investments, particularly in Africa. It aims to provide a basis for further development of policy proposals and recommendations that address the issue from a developmental and gender equality perspective.

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January 2012

Women’s land rights and nutrition - By Amanda Richardson

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I invite you to read this blog post by Amanda Richardson, Landesa. The post also mentions the issue brief, recently published by Landesa, collating some evidence on the relation between secure land rights, women, and improved household food security and nutrition. Women's land rights are the point of intersection between empowerment and nutrition.

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January 2012

El Salvador: Technical assistance on women’s land agreements

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Poor rural women are among the most vulnerable people in El Salvador, where the Reconstruction and Rural Modernization Programme was launched in 2003 to aid areas stricken by earthquakes two years earlier. Women’s land tenure was not initially a central theme of the programme. The issue had to be addressed, however, when women – a large segment of the target population – were unable to benefit from an investment fund for rural economic development because they had no access to land.

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January 2009

References to land in the Beijing Platform for Action

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The  Beijing Platform for Action, an agenda for women's empowerment, spelled out a set of objectives and actions to be taken by governments, the international community, non-governmental organisations and the private sector to overcome obstacles to women's equality. Amongt the critical areas of concern relevant to women's land rights mentioned in the document are the following:

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January 1995

Women’s Inheritance Rights to Land and Property in South Asia

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This is a 2009 study undertaken by the Rural Development Institute, now Landesa, and authored by Elisa Scalise. It focuses on six South Asian countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) and addresses both formal and customary laws and pratices governing women's inheritance rights.

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January 2009

Large-scale Land Appropriations. Analysis of the phenomenon and proposed guidelines for future action.

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This document, available in French, English, Spanish and Portuguese http://www.agter.asso.fr/article480_en.html, considers the meaning of ‘investment’ and the types of investment the world needs to achieve food security and protect the environment, distinguishes the privatisation of common resources from the concentration of lands that are already recognised as private property, and identifies new elements of land appropriation and concentration.

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January 2010

Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlements and Habitat Agenda

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These two important documents include obligations related to women's housing and inheritance rights. Under the Habitat Agenda, States commit themselves also to:

"Provid[e] legal security of tenure and equal access to land to all people, including women and those living in poverty; and undertaking legislative and administrative reforms to give women full and equal access to economic resources, including the right to inheritance and to ownership of land and other property, credit, natural resources and appropriate technologies" (Sec. 40b)

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January 1996

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Land in Cambodia

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This BMZ comissioned report by GTZ highlights the dramatic increase of land concessions and rising inequality in land distribution in Cambodia. Parts of the study refer to an earlier report by Uch Sophas “Foreign Direct Investment in Land for Biomass Production in Cambodia”. The South-East Asian country Cambodia has an area of 181,035 km2. The Government of Cambodia is adapting its activities to attract FDI, which has lead to a steady increase especially since 2007.

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December 2009

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Land in the Lao PDR

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TAKEN FROM WEBSITE INTRODUCTION: This study by GTZ on behalf of BMZ about FDI in land highlights dramatic increase in land concessions, based on data collected in two provinces for an inventory, which GTZ conducted as no official data on land concessions is available. The Lao PDR is a small land-locked country in South-East Asia with a total area of 236,800 m2 with over 80% mountainous surface. It is estimated that all together concessoins for 2-3 million hectar land were granted, representing 13% of Lao PDR's total land area.

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December 2009