Land Tenure Security

Since the financial and food crises of 2007-2008, there has been a global scramble for agricultural land in the South. Yet the vast majority of local producers, for whom these resources are vital, do not have secure land rights.

The issues

Under the combined effects of population growth and climate change, among other factors, more and more regions in developing countries are subject to unprecedented levels of land pressure. Whereas groups of rural producers (farmers, herders, fishermen, foresters, etc.) used to jointly manage the land resources of their territories on the basis of oral agreements, land conflicts between groups, but also within each group, are now dangerously undermining social cohesion and are the cause of thousands of deaths every year. In addition to this “intrinsic” insecurity of land tenure, since the end of the 2000s there has been an “extrinsic” insecurity of land tenure brought about by a globalized race for agricultural land in the countries of the South led by large companies from the North and the South. States have not been willing or able to define and implement land policies that would secure the land rights of their rural populations. Enabling these populations to emerge from this situation of legal insecurity is both a condition and a means of building states governed by the rule of law.


Our services

In terms of land tenure security, our actions are geared towards the rural world. At the national level, we provide technical assistance to requesting countries to help them develop and implement innovative rural or agricultural land policies adapted to their own contexts through highly participatory processes. We also intervene at the level of land tenure security projects (feasibility study, implementation, evaluation), paying particular attention to the social relationships and processes that may be affected by such interventions and placing special emphasis on their impact on the poorest populations. But we are also aware that many development actions may have unanticipated land implications. For example, the simple act of building stone barriers on plots of land can disrupt land agreements previously established within the communities concerned. This is why we systematically develop a reflection on the land-related dimensions of all the field interventions we work on. Finally, we provide ad hoc training for various audiences (farmers’ organisations, public service or NGO agents, policy makers, etc.) on many aspects of this issue.

References in this area