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May 2003

Announcement of a new publication

Land tenure and rural development

FAO Land Tenure Studies 3

The purpose of this guide is to provide support to those who are assessing and designing appropriate responses to food insecurity and rural development situations. It recognises that this audience is drawn from a diversity of academic and professional backgrounds, but that few have had training in land tenure issues, either formally or informally. Although the guide is directed primarily at designers of rural development projects, its contents should also be relevant to those working in broader development programmes.

This guide aims to show where and why land tenure is an important issue in food security and sustainable rural livelihoods. It defines land tenure and how it is administered in different situations. Analysis of how land tenure works in practice - as evidenced by the practical issue of who has what type of access to land, and when - is essential and defines the key issues both of access and of the security of that access. Additionally it reveals the various stakeholders who have an interest in land: those who control it and how they exercise that control; those who use it; and those, often women, indigenous peoples and other disadvantaged groups, who may be landless or may have insecure claims to land.

The guide analyzes important contexts where land tenure is currently of critical concern. These include situations where unsustainable increases in pressure on, or insecure tenure over, land resources give rise to environmental degradation, and where gender-discrimination in access to land disadvantages individuals, households and communities. In other situations, conflicts may have been provoked by disputed access, or may make problems of access difficult to address. These conflicts, with their associated disruptions, migration and displacement, provide great challenges from a land tenure perspective.

(Also available in French and Spanish)

Click here to see the full publication.

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