Cambodia: A road to a private farm owned by an ELC manager leads through community forest land.
Photo: Michael Dwyer

01.12.2016

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Secure access to land is key to sustainable development. However, in many countries, the existing land governance systems are still far from addressing the interests of all sections of the population, and hence from being inclusive. Nevertheless, despite very different contexts and legal frameworks, shortcomings show astonishing similarities, as was discovered on a learning journey of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Cambodia, Mozambique and Brazil.

Land Governance is at the core of sustainable development. While landowners – sometimes the government itself – have an interest in intensive land use to maximise their profit, public interest is geared to maintaining ecosystem services, protecting agricultural production and having functional settlements as well as landscapes. Land governance is an important aspect in solving these conflicts. In practice, however, measures to address these aspects face a wide range of obstacles. To enhance knowledge on the topic among development practitioners and promote a dialogue in order to include the know-how gained in country and programme strategies for inclusive land governance, the SDC set out on a learning journey over the last year. Insights gathered on this journey are briefly summarised in the following.

One fundamental discrepancy in land governance is the disconnection of the local realities from legislation. Many countries have functioning land governance systems, but they only work for a part of society.

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