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March 2006

Announcement of a publication

Post-conflict land tenure

Using a sustainable livelihoods approach

FAO Livelihoods Support Programme Working Paper 18
Access to Natural Resources Sub-Programme


This paper addresses the application of sustainable livelihood approaches to access to land and land administration in post-conflict situations.

FAO’s Land Tenure Service has observed that providing secure access to land is frequently not easy, and it is particularly complex in situations following violent conflicts: getting the answer right can go directly to the matter of achieving sustainable peace. The effects of violent conflicts are usually widespread in a country but they can be particularly severe in rural areas. As most of the population in poor countries is rural, violent conflict in rural areas can result in vast numbers of people being displaced. Rural areas often lack access roads and other infrastructure and services, and their absence hampers the establishment of good governance during the transition to peace. Following conflicts, access to land in rural areas is required by those displaced, and often by former militia members. Of particular importance in such an environment is the recognition of the vulnerable which invariably include women and children, and may also include ethnic or political minorities.

FAO has provided technical assistance to improving access to land in a number of countries emerging from violent conflict within the context of food security, poverty alleviation and rural development. While every conflict situation is likely to be different, they nevertheless share a number of common characteristics. FAO, through its Land Tenure Service, is working on the preparation of a guide for land administrators responsible for the re-establishment of land tenure/administration systems in countries emerging from violent conflicts.

In support of these efforts, a sub-programme of the Livelihood Support Programme (LSP) is addressing the question as to how a sustainable livelihoods approach can be used when addressing land access and land administration in post-conflict countries. The LSP is a FAO project, funded by DFID, to improve the impact of interventions at country level through the application of sustainable livelihood approaches. Its sub-programme on access to natural resources aims at enhancing sustainable livelihood approaches by making them more effective in reducing poverty by improving access to natural assets by the poor.

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