18.04.2019

It has been increasingly (re)discovered that land is key to political stability and security. For example, the 2012 UN report Toolkit and guidance for preventing and managing land and natural resources conflict states that “land issues have played a significant role in all but three of the more than 30 intra-state conflicts that have taken place in Africa since 1990”. Also at individual level, land issues are dominating conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa. Even land redistribution has been back on the agenda in at least some countries (e.g. South Africa, Colombia), following a global hype in the 1960s and 70s with very mixed experiences. Booming urbanisation often creates chaos in the peripheries and a lot of losers, such as informal squatters who are displaced (but also winners, e.g. investors and formal industries, and their workforce, in need of land or farmers who can sell agricultural land at very high prices) and uncertainty particularly in countries with weak land rights.