Good Land Governance: The Problems of Transition to Transparency, Participation, and Accountability | Land Portal

Good Land Governance is a governance system that aims to protect the property rights of individuals and enterprises based on following good governance principles like accountability, transparency, the rule of law, effectiveness, efficiency, equality and public participation (Espinoza et al, 2016; Zakout et al., 2006). The line of criticism applied to notions of Good Land Administration or Good Land Governance is their vague and rather declarative character. However, less has been studied about the correlation between these principles and the challenges associated with their implementation in different contextual settings. This panel session explored opportunities and challenges associated with the transition of countries of the world to “Good Land Governance” and "Good Land Administration".


Key Takeaways

  • The lack of transparency, accountability, the rule of law, participation, and inclusivity are critical and common elements undermining good land governance around the world;
  • These elements are disproportionally detrimental for vulnerable societal groups and states with weak land governance institutions;
  • The challenges faced in implementing accountability, transparency, and participation are not in the least due to the complexity and vagueness of applied definitions and their measurements.
  • Considering principles of transparency, accountability, and participation, much emphasis should be paid to analyzing the correlation of these principles to each other (e.g. how transparency is associated with participation);
  • Good governance in land administration occurs where land administration institutions have clear mandates and operate transparently.

Presentation 1

Desensitising land tenure security: the building of a multi-component project in Sindh province, Pakistan.

Presenter: Daniel Hayward (Land Governance Specialist at UN FAO Asia and Pacific Region)


This paper reports upon the 69 Improved Land Tenure Security (ILTS) in Sindh province Pakistan, funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO). A special focus is given to the empowerment of women farmers, who otherwise suffer from discrimination and impaired social mobility in Sindh. Project activities also promote climate smart agriculture, catering to the impact of natural disasters such as the 2022 floods in Pakistan.”


How does one counter generations of land tenure insecurity that are closely intertwined with socio-economic structures of power? One possible response is to place tenure within an integrated programme of activities showing it to be a critical component for improvements in agricultural and economic productivity, food security and climate resilience. Sindh province in Pakistan is characterised by a predominantly rural and agricultural populace. Most farmers are landless, dependent upon informal tenancy arrangements to access and use land. Existing legislation has not been implemented so that the risk of eviction and bonded labour are ever-present for tenants. This paper reports upon the 69 Improved Land Tenure Security in Sindh (ILTS), funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO).

With formal land governance blighted by political inertia, the ILTS project focused on delivering enhanced civic governance. To address a complex set of socio-economic challenges, the project links the signing of informal land tenancy agreements between landlords and tenants together with Farmer Field Schools, Village Grievance Redressal Committees, and Producer Marketing Groups. The sustainability of project components is promising if not assured. Nevertheless, their impacts offer a possible pathway to respond to socio-economic inequalities and high levels of poverty in Sindh province, Pakistan.


Presentation 2

Good Land Governance: The Problems of Transitions to Transparency, participation, and Accountability: The Case of Palestine  

Presenters: Sahar El Jallad (Birzeit University, Palestine), Asma Abdullah Darkhalil (Okan University, Turkey) 


Using literature review analysis, this research attempts to answer the following main question: What are the problems in the transition to transparency, accountability, and participation does good land governance face in general and in Palestine in particular.” 

Studies have been paying increasing attention to Good Land Governance due to its high impact on citizens’ rights, food security, gender equality, land use, and other concrete benefits that highlight the importance of good land governance. This paper explores the challenges and problems of good land governance in the transition to transparency, participation, and accountability. The presentation provided the interested audience, including researchers and decision-makers, with solutions for a fair transition to transparency, participation, and accountability. In addition, the presentation covered the definition of good land governance, its importance, and the problems associated with the transition to Good Land Governance that Palestine is currently facing. 


Presentation 3

Good Land Governance: The Problems of Transition to Transparency, Participation, and Accountability in the case of Ethiopia

Presenter: Habtamu Seyoum Arega (Assosa University,Ethiopia)


“Land administration institutions in Ethiopia should operate transparently, cost-effectively, and sustainably.”


Access to land is an important issue for the majority of Ethiopian people who, in one way or another, depend on agricultural production for their income and subsistence. The existence of good land governance over the allocation and development of land that is achieved on the basis of broad consensus in society is necessary as a basic principle. Land governance in Ethiopia is characterized by overlapping laws and regulations, limited accountability, and incomplete property registration systems that create a fertile environment for tenure insecurity, conflict, corruption, underdevelopment, and environmental degradation.


Presentation 4

Fair Compensation in Large-Scale Land Acquisitions: Fair or Fail?

Presenter: Dr. Marcello De Maria (Postdoctoral Researcher, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development (SAPD), University of Reading, Reading, UK)


“Fair compensation in the context of Large-Scale Land Acquisitions (LSLAs) can be fundamentally unfair for vulnerable and marginal groups of indigenous people and local communities affected by land-based investments.”

Despite the existence of a legal framework defining the right to fair compensation and notwithstanding the vast literature on transnational and domestic land deals, no theory has been developed so far to allow for a specific analysis of the economics of fair compensation in large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs). Building on the review of the existing literature on fair compensation and on the critical examination of several real-world case studies, this paper fills this gap by developing a three-player sequential game, which captures the peculiarities of fair compensation in large-scale land deals. We show that, under specific but not uncommon circumstances, the local community will be offered a zero-compensation as a rational consequence of the players’ optimisation, and this will lead to a land conflict, with all players incurring additional costs. Our findings suggest that local populations will be offered – and willing to accept – a compensation that is smaller than their original livelihood, unless they can oppose the land deal at no cost. Thus, the right to consent is inextricably related to the right to reject in LSLAs. If the former is frictionless while the latter comes at a cost, then there is space for strategic behaviours that exploit power imbalances and discretionary processes, and the fair compensation right is, in practice, weakened.


Presentation 5

Good Land Governance and Good Land Administration: The Problems of Conceptualization and Measurement

Presenter: Dr. Akbikesh Mukhtarova, Independent researcher, Astana, Kazakhstan.


"The ambiguity of "Good Land Governance" and "Good Land Administration" causes difficulties in operationalizing these concepts by both practitioners and academia. Considering principles of transparency, accountability, and participation, much emphasis should be paid to analyzing the correlation of these principles to each other." 


The international community alerts to the threatening tendency to silence land rights defenders and land activists worldwide. In addition to informal constraints (e.g. corrupt practices) and lack of transparency in the work of public and private institutions in land governance (including civil society organizations and private enterprises), much emphasis should be paid to introducing Good Land Governance and Good Land Administration principles. One of the suggestions could be introducing Anticipatory Governance mechanisms analyzed by (Fuerth, 2009; Bali et al., 2019), anticipating land policies' effectiveness and considering the political, analytical, and operational feasibility of land projects before their implementation.

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