In the past decade, significant international attention focused on “land grabs” in developing countries by companies and others hungry for land to grow food and procure resources for the world’s growing population.
The ‘age of ignorance’
For a long time land governance, land tenure and land rights remained in the ‘age of ignorance’. We have known for some time that land governance is a key ingredient for social, economic and environmental development; what was missing, however, was the data. With the little information available to us at the time, we set priorities and crafted interventions for our course of work. Relying on a few rough figures meant that we were often repeating mantras and slogans based on loose, rather than on hard and reliable facts. Most notable among these was the often repeated and now widely disputed, “women own 2% of the world’s land”.
Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of a fast-growing team working hard, from various corners of the world, to build an information ecosystem for land governance that supports better informed decision and policy making at national and international levels.
Despite the achievement of Constitutional democracy in 1994, 'the land question' is at the heart of South Africa's struggles to overcome the cumulative legacies of nearly 350 years of white minority rule. The emotive quality of land policies evokes painful legacies fuelled by disappointments with the official land reform programme ushered in by the new Constitution of 1996. There is broad agreement that land reform programmes have not fulfilled their aims to significantly redistribute land and productive agrarian capacity, strengthen land tenure for the majority, and settle the restitution claims of victims of land dispossession.
Rwanda is a small country and landlocked. It covers an area of 26,338 km². In Rwanda, land is an important issue due to two different characteristics: first is that Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in the world (416 people per km2 – (NISR, 2012). Being an agricultural country, where over 85% of its working class citizens depend on agriculture, adds more pressure on land as the sole economic capital to the rural peasants.
UN member States endorsed the 2030 Agenda and committed to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 Global Goals, in a 15-year period. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development contains land-related targets and indicators under SDGs 1, 2, 5, 11 and 15.
Climate change can destabilize existing land and resource governance institutions and associated property rights across the spectrum of landscape types. Transformed climatic conditions, manifested in either rapid-onset or slow-onset ways, can change how land and natural resources are accessed and used as geographical shifts in resource productivity, resource scarcity, and therefore land use patterns occur.