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For rural livelihoods and for the pursuit of a wide range of development objectives, water and land are obviously closely related resources. Yet in many parts of the world, the policy, regulatory and administrative frameworks governing these resources have evolved in relative isolation from one another, reflecting sectoral concerns and traditions at the expense of a more integrated approach. The resulting lack of harmonization and coordination may have negative social, economic and environmental consequences, particularly in contexts where economic and agricultural transitions are putting natural resources under intense pressure.

Despite the existence of huge literatures on both land tenure and water rights, a comparative analysis of these two subjects is underdeveloped, and the linkages are poorly understood. The result is the absence of analytical tools for assessing the potential benefits of better alignment and for identifying practical approaches to obtain synergy when implementing land and water policies.

As a contribution to the development agenda of FAO and of other international and national institutions, a number of services and programmes within FAO, including, in particular, the Livelihoods Support Programme with funding provided by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland's Department for International Development, have pooled their resources in a bid to jointly explore various aspects of the interface between water rights and land tenure. The first step in this process has been this publication, which is intended to synthesize and assess current learning on the interface between land tenure and water rights, to define salient issues and to propose fruitful approaches for further investigation.

This study has been written by Mr S. Hodgson, working under contract and in collaboration with the concerned technical units in FAO.

Ali Mekouar
Development Law Service

Paul Munro-Faure
Land Tenure Service

Pasquale Steduto
Water Resources, Development and Management Service

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