Global Donor Platform for Rural Development
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“The e-consultation… was useful. However, more efforts are needed for its follow up, including lessons learned from its successes and weaknesses.”
The annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty – held 18-20 April and seen now by many as ‘the’ annual event in the land sector — brought together participants from bi- and multilateral organisations, foundations, private sector and civil society.
Three themes were discussed:
This year’s aim to increase awareness of the successful implementation of innovative approaches brought a wealth of examples from many different countries. Opening the conference, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of the World Bank, stressed that attention to land tenure is critical to put a valuable resource to its best use and make it contribute to the local economy rather than to rent-seeking and conflict. Her remarks on the importance of women’s rights to land and girls’ ability to inherit were timely and relevant. For good governance and business start-up, “opaque systems of land administration and irregularities in allocating or managing public land” pose major challenges. The private sector will play an important role in fostering agricultural development in the future and will be instrumental in overcoming decades of underinvestment in the sector.
The various international efforts which were prominently discussed at this conference point to a growing momentum towards a new era in international law on land rights, among them the Voluntary Guidelines on Land Tenure (VG), the African Union’s new Land Policy Initiative (ALPI), and the Principles on Responsible Agricultural Investment (RAI).
In her closing remarks, Anne-Marie Leroy, World Bank’s Legal Vice President called for the Bank’s engagement on land to strengthen, mature and diversify since land and property rights are core to the Bank’s agenda: “We cannot afford to be paralyzed by risk aversion”. She stressed that engagement in land carries special sensitivities. The absence of a clear, formal commitment and consensus at the international level around some basic principles concerning land greatly weakens the efforts of all to improve land governance and to strengthen land rights (especially for the poor and vulnerable). “Land (like it or not) is an issue that simply can’t be avoided”.
To advance the debate on land governance, the World Bank study "Rising Global Interest in Farmland" has collated and processed empirical evidence
13 Sep - 8 Oct 2010. To gather recommendations from key stakeholders for next steps on a planned land governance initiative, the Platform – joined by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) – hosted an eDiscussion on the World Bank report “Rising Global Interest in Farmland: can it yield sustainable and equitable benefits?”
The facility was open for one month, starting with the launch of the World Bank report in September 2010. It included a week each of moderated debate for civil society, the public sector (governments, donors and international organisations) and the private sector. Two moderators per stakeholder group supervised the inputs, facilitated by IISD.