Most of the world’s poor work in the “informal
economy” – outside of recognized and enforceable
rules. Thus, even though most have assets of some kind,
they have no way to document their possessions because
they lack formal access to legally recognized tools
such as deeds, contracts and permits.
on Legal Empowerment of the Poor (CLEP) is the first
global anti-poverty initiative focusing on the link
between exclusion, poverty and law, looking for practical
solutions to the challenges of poverty. CLEP aims to
make legal protection and economic opportunity the
right of all, not the privilege of the few. (see http://legalempowerment.undp.org/)
FAO, with donor funding from Norway, has undertaken
a set of activities for “Improving tenure security
of the rural poor” in order to meet the needs
of FAO member countries and, in turn, support the CLEP.
This work falls within the FAO corporate strategy on “Sustainable
rural livelihoods and more equitable access to resources”.
Recognizing that secure access to land and other natural
resources (forests, water, fisheries, pastures, etc.)
is a crucial factor for eradication of food insecurity
and rural poverty, FAO’s cross-departmental and
cross-disciplinary work focused 2005-2006 activities
on sub-Saharan Africa which has the world’s highest
percentage of poor and hungry people.
This paper is part of FAO’s effort to inform
the CLEP through its working group on property rights.
It was prepared for the regional technical workshop
on “Improving tenure security of the rural poor” held
in Nakuru, Kenya, October 2006, at which issues relating
to property rights were reviewed and actions were initiated
to develop common strategies for improving the protection
of rights to land and other natural resources of the