Growing populations and economic change resulting from globalisation and
climate change are increasing pressure on land, particularly in
urbanising countries. This exposes many of those occupying and using
land to risks resulting from tenure insecurity. Customary practices in
land management are giving way to market-based statutory systems of land
tenure. This has been accompanied by a significant increase in demand
for land for investment; in some countries this has caused land users to
lose rights and access to their land and other natural resources.
Altogether, these trends have presented governments with significant
challenges to effectively govern land tenure and property rights in a
way that is socially acceptable and legitimate, and at the same time
delivers inclusive economic development.
This rapid evidence assessment (REA) addresses the question of which
policies and interventions or approaches have been successful in
fostering compliance with legitimate land tenure rights and what impact
these strategies have had on development outcomes.
The research reviewed for this assessment shows evidence that a range of
strategies employed by government, civil society and local communities
have improved tenure security and property rights. There is also some
evidence that these strategies have resulted in some immediate or
short-term outcomes, i.e. improved living conditions for vulnerable
groups such as women. However, there is limited and mixed evidence that
strategies have had an impact on development outcomes. Many of the
examples that were found to have fostered compliance have not been in
place long enough for evidence of positive outcomes on poverty
reduction, gender equity, and access to formal credit, or public
services to emerge.
The REA clearly shows that the diversity of needs, and the rate at which
these needs are changing for land users at different levels of social
and economic development, requires an equally diverse range of tenure
and rights options. No single policy, approach or intervention can meet
the diversity of current and projected needs for tenure and property
rights within any given country.
Payne, G.; Mitchell, J.; Kozumbo, L.; English, C.; Baldwin, R. Legitimate land tenure and property rights: fostering compliance and development outcomes. DFID, London, UK (2015) 61 pp.