From 8-11 April the World Bank held its 14th annual Conference on Land and Poverty in Washington under the overall theme of "Moving towards transparent land governance: Evidence-based next steps". The conference attracted around 800 experts, policymakers, civil society representatives as well as participants from private sector and academia.
// Increasing recognition of central role of land governance to development objectives
The broad attendance from a diverse set of participants reinforces the impression of an increasing recognition that good land and resource governance is central to a variety of development objectives. In total, the conference featured more than 200 sessions over three days, in which presenters shared results of research and implementation
- Securing land rights and improving land use at the grassroots
- Adjusting laws and institutions to address urban expansion and governance
- Innovative approaches towards spatially enabling land administration and management
- Supporting a continuum of rights in a decentralized environment
- Mobilising the private sector to improve land governance
- Sharing benefits from exploitation of land-based resources.
// Voluntary Guidelines (VGs) essential tool for improving land and resource governance
Throughout the conference numerous endorsements and statements of support were made for the Voluntary Guidelines (VGs) for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security as an essential tool for improving land and resource governance. This was highlighted by a statement from the World Bank calling them “a major international instrument to inform specific policy reforms, including our own procedures and guidance to clients.”
Also, the opening session of the conference, which discussed the rising demand for and support to implementation of the VGs and the closing statement by the Director General for Policy and Global Issues at the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Michael Anderson, highlighted the VGs’ importance.
// World Bank reiterates commitment to improve land governance
In their statement, The World Bank Group recognised the importance of secure land rights and reiterated their commitment to improving land governance and promoting environmentally and socially sustainable agriculture investments. According Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group securing access to land was critical for millions of poor people. Modern, efficient and transparent policies on land rights were vital to reducing poverty and promoting growth, agriculture production, better nutrition and sustainable development.
// Donor roundtable establishes global working group on land
During a donor roundtable meeting after the conference, participants established a global working group on land, aiming at better coordination of donor positions on global land issues, which will be facilitated by the Platform secretariat.
The global working group on land will also look at a better coordination of current efforts between already established donor networks working on land related issues, and other bi- and multilateral donors. The group enables donors to integrate their expertise for the improvement and the development of global land governance as well as to observe, monitor and analyse regional and global initiatives on land issues.
Group members use the forum provided by the Platform secretariat to exchange about their know-how, build consensus around critical or emerging issues and formulate joint approaches – aiming at better coordination and aid effectiveness.
The papers and presentations can be downloaded here.
Voluntary Guidelines (VGs) for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security__ PDF
Secretariat BTOR__ PDF
14th annual World bank Conference on Land and Poverty
World Bank Group: Access to Land is Critical for the Poor
World Bank Blog by Klaus Deininger
USAID Land Tenure Rights Portal