Land reform: Land settlement and cooperatives | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
December 2009
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID: 

Almost all societies acknowledge the concept of state or public landownership in which property rights are vested in a public body on a national, regional or community level. State and public land tenure arrangements define rules for the distribution, use and protection of publicly vested lands. State lands may be used to deliver public services. Authorities or customary rulers may act as custodians of common property resources or of environmentally or culturally sensitive sites on behalf of society. Many forms of public tenure arrangements have been introduced. They commonly differ from private arrangements by limiting access, use and alienation of public lands. Despite the growing recognition of the importance of state lands and their proper management, public land and property assets are generally weakly managed. Considered as “free” and available, state lands are commonly encroached upon, overutilized and acquired for personal gain. Undefined tenure arrangements and poor recording of land rights contribute to the poor and ineffective management of public lands, providing fertile ground for corrupt practices. The situation is made more serious by weak governance, which is common in land administration institutions. There are no simple solutions for improvement. However, progress has been made by improving transparency, consistency, impartiality and equity in land administration institutions and by enhancing their technical competences and clarifying their management objectives, i.e. by improving the governance of state and public lands

This bulletin is issued by FAO as a medium for the dissemination of information and views on land reform and related subjects to the United Nations, FAO Member Governments and national and international experts and institutions. Articles are published in the original language (English, French or Spanish).
Readers requiring more detailed information concerning this bulletin or articles therein should write to the Editor, Land Reform, Land Settlement and Cooperatives, Rural Development Division, FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. The opinions expressed in this document are the personal views of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of FAO.

Authors and Publishers

Corporate Author(s): 

Data provider

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD) is a Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.


Share this page