Governing land for the future: What (r)evolutions do we need? | Land Portal

The 13th Annual LANDac Annual Conference is taking place in person next week in Utrecht, Netherlands, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began. All the conference sessions will also be accessible online to registered participants. LANDac brings together land governance stakeholders from around the world who might not otherwise meet, including academic researchers, the private, civil society, and policy makers.

The theme of this year’s conference is Governing land for the future – What (r)evolutions do we need?.  The conference will be addressing the unprecedented large-scale land acquisitions over the past decade and efforts to promote more responsible land investments. Indications are that land governance interventions have not altered patterns of dispossession, inequality and resource depletion. 

The conference includes an excellent lineup of keynote speakers, who will share their messages governing land for the future: 

  • Dr. Laura German, Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Integrative Conservation Research at the University of Georgia 

  • Dr. Richard Sliuzas, Professor of Urban Planning for Disaster Risk Reduction at ITC University of Twente

  • Pranab Ranjan Choudhury, Associate Director of the NRMC Center for Land Governance in India

Guus van Westen, Co-Chair of LANDac, and each of the keynote speakers gave the Land Portal a preview of the conference and their keynote speeches. 



“Looking back at the last decade or so, we can only conclude that little progress has been made in securing good land governance. The recent crises, from the pandemic to war and the ensuing shortages of all sorts of resources, may lead to new pressures and new transfers of land rights, dispossessing and displacing ordinary people. Therefore, we need to renew our efforts and cooperation between different stakeholders from academia, civil society, public sector and business. The LANDac Annual Conference aims to offer just such a platform for open discussion, and we welcome you to join us.”

  • Guus van Westen, a development geographer with the International Development Studies Group at the Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, and Co-Chair of LANDac.



Governing (land) for the future: A case for decolonizing land and its governance?

“In my talk, I'll provide a preview of my forthcoming book, in which I draw on the tools of ontological anthropology to explore the land governance concepts and instruments at play, and to contrast them with other ways of knowing and enacting land tenure and security from across the African continent. As you might imagine, radically different land worlds emerge. The dominant constructs being deployed in the land governance community emerged not as having universal validity, but as being deeply situated culturally. I will profile these findings and explore their consequences by engaging with political economy and writings on coloniality, what worlds are being brought into being with a dominant construct surrounding land governance, and why and what worlds are foreclosed in the process. This allows us to locate the operation of power within the constructs and practices being advanced as socially progressive antidotes to land grabbing.”

  • Laura German, Professor Anthropology and Director at the Center for Integrative Conservation Research at the University of Georgia




You say you want a (r)evolution? Imagining the impact of geospatial knowledge infrastructure on urban land governance.

“There's a lot happening in the geospatial community these days globally. One of the major things that they're talking about is the creation of a geospatial knowledge infrastructure, which is very much connected to the technologies that are embodied in the fourth industrial revolution. These are technologies like artificial intelligence, big data, earth observation and cloud computing, and even high density terrestrial sensor networks. One of the things that we talk a lot about is smart cities, which will be used to govern the way geospatial data and knowledge is used to manage cities. In the talk, I'll be discussing some of these technologies and what they actually mean for land governance. One of the things I'll be trying to do in this lecture is to discuss the implications for the urban datascapes that are being created and what implications these may have from an ethical perspective for land governance.” 

  • Prof. Dr. Richard Sliuzas, ITC Twente University, the Netherlands



Can land administration be both efficient and equitable? Learning from India's experiences

"The land ecosystem globally is witnessing an unprecedented moment towards land administration reform. This particular reform is triggered by three systemic shifts - a technological shift, which is bringing in new technology from information technology as well as geospatial technologies; an institutional shift that is providing land administration service delivery systems with private sector mediation, as well as participation of other non-land departments; and third, legal reforms, which aim to support these structural changes through legal enactments and new laws. The objective behind this land administrative reform is to bring in inclusive tenure security for the poor and marginalized, those who have remained at the bottom of the land tenure pyramid. I'll be delivering a keynote that takes the demand side perspective of this land administrative innovations and tries to analyze if this reform is really making a difference for those at the bottom of the pyramid, including women, indigenous communities, Dalits, slum dwellers, and tenant farmers.”

  • Dr. Pranab Ranjan Choudhury, NRMC Center for Land Governance, India


Learn more about the conference.


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