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November 2006

Announcement of a publication

Land access in the 21st century

Issues, trends, linkages and policy options

Livelihood Support Programme Working Paper Number 24

In recent years, FAO’s Land Tenure Service has prepared a number of documents addressing various aspects of access to land in rural areas, and complementary analyses have been undertaken by development partners such as the World Bank, DFID, GTZ and French Cooperation. The Land Tenure Service has identified a need for a document that draws together key issues and emerging challenges. The present paper seeks to cover the key issues, trends, constraints, challenges, knowledge gaps and policy options on a range of dimensions of land access. These dimensions include food security and poverty alleviation, gender, broader natural resource access, indigenous peoples, the role of NGOs and civil society, comparative approaches to state intervention in promoting distributional land reform, the roles of land sales and lease markets, the role of small household plots and the implications of livelihood diversification, migration and remittances.

The present discussion is based on examples from specific regional contexts, focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America, and drawing upon pertinent literature and experiences. Some overall cross-regional commonalities in land access issues, but to a large extent the land policy trends, issues and opportunities are context-specific. Although there may be general lessons to be learned, there are no standard “one size fits all” solutions.

Particular emphasis is placed on the linkages and interdependency of topics, in an effort to identify why issues are important and provide insights as to how policymakers might navigate through this complexity.

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