ILC launches Framing the Debate series on land governance
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With the global population exceeding seven billion inhabitants and land becoming an increasingly scarce resource, land acquisitions in developing countries by foreign governments and companies has thrust land issues to the forefront of public debate. Amidst the climate change negotiations, the Rio+20 Earth Summit preparations and the food and energy crises since 2008, the land governance debate is becoming increasingly complex and polarised as a result of these radically changing global circumstances. In response, the International Land Coalition is launching the Framing the Debate series to facilitate a deeper understanding of the key topics at the centre of current land governance debates.
The controversies and disputes surrounding the current land rush result in part from differing perspectives among stakeholder groups. The Framing the Debate series aims to minimise these misunderstandings and quid pro quos, and to create the conditions for a constructive discourse of ideas and perspectives. “The International Land Coalition is a partnership that serves as an international platform for multi-stakeholder dialogue aimed at advancing the pro-poor land agenda”, said Dr. Madiodio Niasse, ILC Director. “A diversity of perspectives and opposing viewpoints are not only expected with regard to inherently contentious issues such as land, but they are also healthy”.
Authored by Kojo Sebastian Amanor, Deputy Director at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Land Governance in Africa, "How historical context has shaped key contemporary issues relating to policy on land" is the first publication in the Framing the Debate series. The study presents an overview of the historical roots of the current land governance challenges facing Africa, from customary land tenure issues to present-day land administration dilemmas and the phenomenon of large-scale land acquisitions by foreign actors, which is a striking déjà vu, when seen in the context of Africa’s trajectory over the last five centuries, ILC reports.The study charts the evolution of land tenure and governance during the economic liberalism and structural adjustment policies of the late twentieth century.
It examines the barriers to land access faced by groups such as women, pastoralists, tenants, and migrants, and questions the role of land titling in improving access to land. It also examines contemporary phenomena such as the upsurge in foreign investment and “land grabbing” for the production of food crops and biofuels. The author suggests a framework for land governance minimises social conflicts over land, ensuring greater transparency in land management that benefits smallholders and other customary land users. The full publication is available on the ILC website: http://www.landcoalition.org/publications/land-governance-africa
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