Land Matters was a month-long global conversation on Devex during September 2013. While this particular campaign to raise awareness about land rights for global development has since come to a conclusion, the importance of land remains a key issue for all development practitioners working toward a more sustainable future.

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for transparency

Every second, poor countries lose an area of land the size of a soccer field to banks and private investors. As land values increase, and as governments worry about food shortages and famines, more large-scale land speculation and acquisitions are taking place, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. To avoid corruption and land grabs that benefit a relative few while ignoring smallholder farmers and other rural land users, acquisitions must be based on transparent, participatory planning.

How to ensure transparency in land deals

How to ensure transparency in land deals

Without clear and verifiable land transactions, foreign and local investment is stymied and deals are vulnerable to corruption. Here's what the aid community can do to help promote transparency in such deals.

How a dam brought land rights for displaced people in Laos

How a dam brought land rights for displaced people in Laos

Eight years ago, thousands of poor villagers were displaced by the construction of a massive dam in Laos, but now they have doubled their income and own their land. We asked an ADB representative how this project can be a model for others.

Land title alone won’t end poverty – but it’s a start

Land title alone won’t end poverty – but it’s a start

Studies suggest a causal relationship between land ownership and economic well-being. But it is not a straight line, writes the Thomson Reuters Foundation's Stella Dawson.

How much land do women really own?

How much land do women really own?

Women own, operate and manage fewer, smaller and less valuable plots of land than men, Yale University's Cheryl Doss tells Devex in an exclusive interview.

Land information: To be or not to be transparent

Land information: To be or not to be transparent

The reasons why land information matters to transparency are clear and evident, writes Nick Collier, global head of government and regulatory affairs at Thomson Reuters. Here's why.

Why strong land rights promote transparency

Why strong land rights promote transparency

With increasing displacement on land due to industrial agriculture and biofuel schemes and the coming resource boom in many developing countries, now is a critical time to re-examine and strengthen policies and programs that emphasize transparency through local control, writes Tiernan Mennen of Chemonics in this exclusive guest opinion.

Open Development Cambodia: How ‘open data’ can promote land use transparency

Open Development Cambodia: How ‘open data’ can promote land use transparency

In Cambodia, smallholder farmers and rural populations have long lacked the information they need to lift themselves out of poverty. A new open data platform is designed to help, Nicolas Mansfield of the East-West Management Institute writes.

Mapping the Future of Land Rights for Global Development

Mapping the Future of Land Rights for Global Development

Land matters for sustainable economies, livelihoods, human rights, and the environment- the development community cannot afford for land to be a trend. Expert panelists from DAI, Chemonics International, USAID, and Omidyar Network sat down with Devex to discuss what land rights mean for the future of global development.

Must reads

The Cross River revival

The story of how the Nigerian state of Cross River pursued a plan to overhaul its antiquated, cumbersome land management system into one that promises to be faster and more transparent.

Vietnam Land Law revision should improve fairness, transparency

This article from Thomson-Reuters tells of a Vietnamese fish farmer who used homemade land mines and guns to stop local officials from taking his land and how thousands of police took a plot of land from villagers to build a satellite community. Land-related disputes reached 700,000 in just three years in Vietnam.

Shining a light on land deals: Sharing lessons for transparency

Will the G-8 make a clear commitment to ensure transparency on land ownership? In this op-ed published by Devex, three experts from the Overseas Development Institute explain why regulating large-scale land acquisition is so important for many developing countries.

Burkina Faso's ambitious experiment in participatory land reform

Using innovative community land charters, Burkina Faso is leading the way to a new kind of land law reform. This video explains how by engaging stakeholders at every level, the Burkina Faso government rewrote the national law to reflect local realities.

Global land rush: Contract transparency is crucial, but not enough

A blog from the International Institute for Environment and Development argues that greater transparency surrounding large land deals must also include accountability to ensure the rights of smallholder farmers.

Cameroon NGOs ask U.S. government to investigate palm oil venture

This story recounts efforts by environmental activists to open an investigation into Herakles Farms, a U.S.-owned palm oil firm that has acquired land in Cameroon. Two local NGOs have asked the U.S. government to look into the land deal following complaints from local people.

'Go local' on land governance in Africa

It's time for the international community to rethink its approach to improving land administration, a World Bank analyst tells Devex in an exclusive interview. Past efforts have largely failed and current ones aren't delivering results fast enough.

Access to land is critical for the poor

The World Bank outlines efforts to help safeguard land rights in the developing world.

HRW urges Cambodia’s donors to put pressure on land titling campaign

This article talks about Cambodia's recent suspension of a controversial land titling campaign ahead of national elections. Human Rights Watch said the campaign lacked transparency and could leave thousands dispossessed from their land.

Implementing the EITI in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

A look at the Democratic Republic of Congo's progress in complying with the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

Guide: How to protect your community from land grabs

A unique guide to help rural communities in Africa protect themselves against dispossession and eviction has been launched in Liberia. It’s the first in a series of manuals that will be published across Africa and the globe. Produced by the Sustainable Development Institute and Namati.

Principles for responsible agricultural investment that respects rights, livelihoods and resources

Good governance of land can reduce poverty, secure food supplies, ensure transparent business transcations and protect the environment. A look at land tenure in different areas of agriculture and development.

Land Matters for Transparency is presented by

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Cover photo by: USAID’s Nepal Transition Initiative project, implemented by Chemonics International