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Between Promising Advances and Deepening Concerns: A Bottom-Up Review of Trends in Land Governance 2015–2018

An evolving land governance context compounds the case for practitioners to closely track developments as they unfold. While much research sheds light on key trends, questions remain about approaches for collective bottom-up analysis led by land governance practitioners themselves.
This study presents findings from an initiative to test such an approach. Drawing on written submissions made in response to an open call for contributions, the study discusses global trends in land governance over the period 2015–2018. While not a comprehensive review nor a replacement for empirically grounded research, the study highlights some of the developments practitioners grapple with in their work.
The findings point to the contrasting local-to-global trends that affect land governance in diverse agro-ecological and socio-economic settings: Growing commercial pressures on land, and shrinking spaces for dissent in many contexts, coexist with new avenues for public participation in land governance processes; while diverse approaches to securing land rights, whether individual or collective, possibly underpinned by new deployments of digital technology, can coexist or compete for policy traction within the same polity.
This bottom-up trends analysis broadly correlates with available accounts based on empirical research, while also providing distinctive emphases that reflect the ways practitioners perceive the changing realities they are engaged with.

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Publication information

  • External: X00210
  • Published: Jul 2019 - MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland
  • Area: Africa, South America, Asia, Central America
  • Themes: Land acquisitions and rights, Governance
  • Source pub: Land
  • Journal ref: 2019, 8(7), 106
  • Language: English

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Cotula L, Anseeuw W, Baldinelli GM, Between Promising Advances and Deepening Concerns: A Bottom-Up Review of Trends in Land Governance 2015–2018. Land 2019, 8, 106.

Project information

Can a half-acre of dry earth be more precious than gold? To farmers, herders and foragers in some of the world's poorest countries, the answer is very literally yes. Gold mining, agribusiness and other natural resource investments typically promise new jobs and public revenues. But they can also push poorer groups off their land and pollute their waterways.

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