The weakness of both policy and planning systems related to land management and their tremendous transformation has particularly visible effects in peri-urban areas. Increasing land conflicts are evident at the intersection between rural and urban land with consequences both socially and economically due to a lack of security of tenure and integrated spatial planning mechanisms. Migration, increased food insecurity, obstacles to land acquisition for public infrastructure and development and the optimum use of public lands are some of the key challenges encountered.
Unfortunately, little knowledge and expertise has been produced so far to guide decision makers and local authorities responsible for land management in this context.
Within an increasingly urbanizing world, there is renewed interest in ensuring that complementary and mutually reinforcing development across rural, peri-urban and urban areas is an integral part of emerging global regional frameworks, such as the Agenda 2030, the New Urban Agenda and the African Land Policy declaration.
It is time to raise awareness and to develop comprehensive land policies and frameworks to deal with land along the urban-rural continuum, if the world does not want to witness the sprawl of unplanned, inefficient and unsustainable urban agglomerations that negatively affect rural development rather than catalysing and accelerating it.