Skip to Content
X

Ensuring access to food, shelter and income

Competition for land has never been greater. The world faces rising population numbers, rapid urbanization, climate change, declining soil fertility and an increasing demand for food and fuel security. All of this puts pressure on land.

In many developing countries, competing land uses and increasing demand are sources of conflict and debate. Weak land governance and inefficient management of natural resources compound these issues.

Poor rural people – especially women, youth, indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups – typically have weak or unprotected tenure rights. 

This means that they risk losing access and control over land, often the only asset they have to secure their livelihoods.  

Land tenure security for broader stability

Access to land is key to eradicating poverty – and not only because it allows farmers to feed their families. 

When smallholder farmers have secure land rights, they are more willing to invest in the land and can use it to access credit. Land ownership also gives them more incentives to improve farming techniques and manage their land sustainably. They are able to diversify their incomes and protect their family’s well-being against the threat of more powerful neighbours or private companies claiming stake to their land. 

With secure land rights, rural women usually have a greater say in household investments and in community matters.

Land tenure security makes societies more stable, with less conflict and more opportunity. 

Inclusive decision-making and a more secure future 

IFAD-supported projects help people in rural areas gain legal rights to their land — a key factor in the fight against poverty. We promote the recording and registering of land rights, decentralized land administration and more secure rangeland rights. 
We also encourage good land governance through participatory land-use planning and conflict resolution, as well as inclusive and responsible investment and multi-stakeholder dialogue. 

Securing land rights can be complex, and is an issue that requires sustained international support. IFAD is therefore engaged in the global policy dialogue on land as part of the Global Donor Working Group and is a founding member of the International Land Coalition, which identifies access to both land and natural resources as a fundamental factor in IFAD’s efforts to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience in rural areas.

Collaborating with FAO, the Committee on World Food Security and others, IFAD contributed to the formulation and implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGTs). 

We also worked together with the African Union Commission and its partners to develop the pan-African land policy guidelines. More recently, IFAD has collaborated with a range of partners on the inclusion of a land tenure security indicator within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework.  

IFAD also leads the Global Environmental Fund (GEF) Integrated Approach for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa, which focuses on the natural resources that underpin food and nutrition security — land, water, soils, trees and genetic resources.

Spotlight

Harold Liversage talks about land tenure

Harold Liversage, land tenure specialist at IFAD, talks about land and secured land rights for rural communities.
Tags: LAND

Projects

Bangladesh

Haor Infrastructure and Livelihood Improvement Project
Read More

Uganda

Agricultural Technology and Agribusiness Advisory Services Project (ATAAS)
Read More

Peru

Strengthening Local Development in the Highlands and High Rainforest Areas Project
Read More

Related news

Innovative impact fund to create jobs for rural youth in developing countries

February 2019 - NEWS
An impact fund with an innovative approach for attracting much needed capital to the rural areas of developing countries will be launched today at the annual meeting of Member States of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Agrarian reform and protecting land and environmental defenders at heart of Global Land Forum declaration

October 2018 - NEWS
Agrarian reform and protecting land and environmental defenders are two urgent areas for action called for by members of the International Land Coalition (ILC) in the Bandung declaration.

IFAD supports G20 initiatives to promote land management and rural youth employment

July 2018 - NEWS
Ahead of his address to the Group of Twenty (G20) Ministers of Agriculture Meeting this week, Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), offered the institution's full support for efforts to increase the sustainable production of nutritious foods.

Related publications

Working towards sustainable land management - A collection of SLM technologies from Cambodia

August 2019
This collection of sustainable land management (SLM) technologies and approaches was compiled as part of the Scaling-up SLM practices by smallholder farmers project funded by IFAD.

Collection of sustainable land management technologies practices by smallholder farmers in Lao PDR

August 2019
This collection of sustainable land management (SLM) technologies and approaches was compiled as part of the Scaling-up SLM practices by smallholder farmers project funded by IFAD. 

The Guidelines for Impact Evaluation of Land Tenure and Governance Interventions

April 2019
The overall objective of the Guidelines for Impact Evaluation of Land Tenure and Governance Interventions is to inform and strengthen the design and implementation of future land tenure and governance interventions to best support lasting tenure security and achieve related impacts on poverty, food security, gender equality, environmental sustainability and security. 

Related documents