LANDac Conference 2020 - Land Governance Challenges and Climate Change: Handling Pressures, Upholding Rights | Land Portal
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LANDac, the Netherlands Academie on Land Governance for Equitable and Sustainable Development, is a partnership between Dutch organizations working on land governance. The partners are the International Development Studies (IDS) group at Utrecht University (leading partner), African Studies Centre, Agriterra, the Sociology of Development and Change (SDC) group at Wageningen University, the Land Portal Foundation, HIVOS, the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Enclude Solutions.

The LANDac Annual International Conference offers a podium for researchers, practitioners and private sector representatives interested in land governance for equitable and sustainable development. The 2020 Conference looks at the challenges that climate change poses for land governance systems, processes and actors and at relevant lessons that can be drawn from experiences with land governance to date.

In debates about appropriate climate change mitigation and adaptation policies, plans and actions, the implications for land governance are rarely a central focus. This conference will do just that. We welcome contributions which examine how land governance ambitions and arrangements shape and conflict with climate change ambitions; how land related livelihoods and bio-diversity are considered in climate change debates; and how the land governance landscape is responding to climate change challenges. Similarly, we welcome contributions on impacts of land transfers and transformations under the guise of climate related disaster risk reduction; and on how climate change might become a rationale for lowering the ambitions of good land governance. A concern is that lessons learnt around due diligence and the need to protect rights become ‘unlearnt’ under the pressure of climate change and associated challenges of food security and disaster risk reduction.


Over the past ten years, LANDac conferences have proven to offer a productive space for knowledge exchange, reflection and debate about issues of concern to the global land governance community. With the annual conferences, LANDac puts critical developments and emerging issues on the agenda, takes stock of trends in land governance transformation, and connects land governance to adjacent academic and policy fields. The 2020 Conference identifies the land governance challenges that derive from the climate change agenda and aims to enrich the climate change debate by drawing on lessons learnt from over a decade of analysing and addressing land acquisition and investment.

A first and major concern relates to the land foot print that is to be expected from climate change adaptation and mitigation measures. Both alternative sources of energy, such as wind and solar energy, and infrastructural interventions for e.g. flood protection, translate into claims on land and will compete with existing rights or other potential uses of the land. We expect to see more instances of disaster-capitalism after floods, and land grabbing as part of climate change adaptation measures. Crucial questions here are the way these claims are dealt with and whether principles of ‘good governance’ are upheld in the face of the climate imperative.

A second concern relates to the shifts in land use patterns and people’s mobility (from and between rural and urban areas) in response to differential effects of climate change, as this translates, among others, into extreme weather events and unpredictability of rainfall. We may expect this to increase land scarcity in some places while potentially reducing it in others. How will this shape landscapes? What land governance institutions and instruments are in place to deal with the pressures this generates and support sustainable land use and food security? How to avoid that smallholders loose out?

Finally, we are concerned with how the land governance landscape will respond to these challenges. How is the governance of climate change adaptation foreseen and who will jump in the governance gaps that undoubtedly will occur? What will be the relevance of due diligence instruments as the VGGTs and FPIC? What lessons can the land governance community offer after a decade of addressing land grabs and regulating investment and who is willing to listen to these?


Registration for the conference will open in February and close mid-June, 2020. Early bird registration fee (until the 1st of June) is €200 (€100 for BSc and MSc students upon proof of a valid student ID). After the 1st of June, the registration fee is €250 (€125 for BSc and MSc students upon proof of a valid student ID). Please note that the registration fee includes catering for two days. We regret that LANDac is unable to cover any participant expenses.

Organizing Committee

Joanny Bélair (University of Ottawa), Gemma van der Haar (Wageningen University and LANDac), Richard Sliuzas (ITC – University of Twente), Marja Spierenburg (Leiden University), Guus van Westen (Utrecht University and LANDac), Chantal Wieckardt (LANDac).

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