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Bibliothèque Policies and practices for securing and improving access to land

Policies and practices for securing and improving access to land

Policies and practices for securing and improving access to land

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Date of publication
Décembre 2005
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This paper reviews recent policy and practice to secure access to land for poor people. Emphasis is on Africa, Latin America and Asia, while reference also is made to Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.Despite the widely different observations from the various places, the paper identifies some general trends and challenges. These include: pressure on land is set to increase over future decades, given the impact of continued population growth, urbanisation, globalisation of markets, and climate change;
as resources become scarcer and more valuable, those with weak rights to the resource tend to lose out.The paper argues that addressing land access and tenure security for these groups is crucial for social justice, sustainable livelihoods, political stability and peaceful co-existence. Secure land rights are also important for promoting rural development as it helps create conditions that encourage local and foreign investments. These issues should therefore be at the forefront in policy dialogue, PRSPs, macroeconomic policy at national level, and in the MDGs at the global level.While lessons can be shared between countries, the land reform agenda must be driven and owned by the individual country. Effective reform of land and property rights to support the livelihoods of the poor also requires sustained, long-term, commitment from governments and development agencies. Successful land reforms depend upon the exercise of strong political power allied to land reform movements, jointly prepared to challenge resistance by vested land interests. Capable and well-informed civil society organisations also play an important role in informing, and providing checks and balances on government decision-making and the development and implementation of land policy. Finally, a shortage of skilled personnel in government agencies, and lack of legal awareness amongst the general public combine to render land administration services largely inaccessible for ordinary people.The paper outlines a number of tools needed for securing land rights for the poor and vulnerable. These include:
support for democratic land institutions and land information systems that are decentralised, problem centred and open to public scrutiny;
effective links between new institutions and existing local mechanisms for managing land;
improved systems for resolving land disputes, including formal, alternative dispute resolution and customary procedures.

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