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Land

Ensuring access to food, shelter and income

Competition for land has never been greater. The world faces rising population numbers, rapid urbanization, climate change, declining soil fertility and an increasing demand for food and fuel security. All of this puts pressure on land.

In many developing countries, competing land uses and increasing demand are sources of conflict and debate. Weak land governance and inefficient management of natural resources compound these issues.

Poor rural people – especially women, youth, indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups – typically have weak or unprotected tenure rights. 

This means that they risk losing access and control over land, often the only asset they have to secure their livelihoods.  

Land tenure security for broader stability

Access to land is key to eradicating poverty – and not only because it allows farmers to feed their families. 

When smallholder farmers have secure land rights, they are more willing to invest in the land and can use it to access credit. Land ownership also gives them more incentives to improve farming techniques and manage their land sustainably. They are able to diversify their incomes and protect their family’s well-being against the threat of more powerful neighbours or private companies claiming stake to their land. 

With secure land rights, rural women usually have a greater say in household investments and in community matters.

Land tenure security makes societies more stable, with less conflict and more opportunity. 

Inclusive decision-making and a more secure future 

IFAD-supported projects help people in rural areas gain legal rights to their land — a key factor in the fight against poverty. We promote the recording and registering of land rights, decentralized land administration and more secure rangeland rights. 
We also encourage good land governance through participatory land-use planning and conflict resolution, as well as inclusive and responsible investment and multi-stakeholder dialogue. 

Securing land rights can be complex, and is an issue that requires sustained international support. IFAD is therefore engaged in the global policy dialogue on land as part of the Global Donor Working Group and is a founding member of the International Land Coalition, which identifies access to both land and natural resources as a fundamental factor in IFAD’s efforts to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience in rural areas.

Collaborating with FAO, the Committee on World Food Security and others, IFAD contributed to the formulation and implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGTs). 

We also worked together with the African Union Commission and its partners to develop the pan-African land policy guidelines. More recently, IFAD has collaborated with a range of partners on the inclusion of a land tenure security indicator within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework.  

IFAD also leads the Global Environmental Fund (GEF) Integrated Approach for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa, which focuses on the natural resources that underpin food and nutrition security — land, water, soils, trees and genetic resources.

Spotlight

Spotlight

The thin green line that’s holding back the Sahara desert

The Great Green Wall was envisioned as a line of trees stretching across Africa to protect against desertification. Today, it is a mosaic of farms, forests, and wilderness, where sustainable agriculture is the norm and rural-dwellers thrive.

Projects

Projects

Bangladesh

Haor Infrastructure and Livelihood Improvement Project

Uganda

Agricultural Technology and Agribusiness Advisory Services Project (ATAAS)

Peru

Strengthening Local Development in the Highlands and High Rainforest Areas Project

Stories and news

Stories and news

The thin green line that’s holding back the Sahara desert

May 2022 - STORY
The Great Green Wall was envisioned as a line of trees stretching across Africa to protect against desertification. Today, it is a mosaic of farms, forests, and wilderness, where sustainable agriculture is the norm and rural-dwellers thrive.

Communities use GIS maps to conserve forests and adapt to climate change

March 2022 - STORY
Making the right decisions about managing natural resources isn’t always easy. That’s especially true for watersheds, where the local ecosystem depends on the health of multiple waterways. Now, GIS technology is helping communities in rural Nepal monitor and preserve the forests fed by local watersheds.

In Turkey, strawberry farms bring opportunities for rural youth

December 2021 - STORY
Youth who grew up in the Taurus Mountains of Turkey have traditionally moved to the big cities to pursue their careers. But recently, thanks to an IFAD-supported project, the region’s farmers have begun growing strawberries. Highland strawberries are proving quite popular, driving the growth of a new regional value chain – and bringing the region’s youth back to the countryside to take part.

How farmers around the world are protecting nature’s delicate balance – and reaping the rewards

May 2022 - STORY
Healthy ecosystems are diverse ecosystems. And at IFAD, we believe that small-scale farmers are amongst the greatest stewards and beneficiaries of biodiversity.

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Related publications

Related publications

Enhancing Engagement of Private Sector and Local Communities on Peatland Management: Innovative Policies and Monitoring System in Indonesia

March 2022
This brief describes how an IFAD-GEF project promotes sustainable peatland management, secure carbon stocks, and conservation of biodiversity, while improving the living standards of local communities.

Enhancing women’s resource rights for improving resilience to climate change

November 2021
This brief summarizes relevant findings from socio-legal analyses, combining the review of key legal and policy documents and literature on existing barriers to the recognition of women’s land rights.

How to do note: Seeking, free, prior and informed consent in IFAD investment projects

October 2021
This note offers practical guidance for IFAD staff, consultants and in-country partners for seeking FPIC in the design and implementation of IFAD-funded projects and programmes, in compliance with IFAD policies and procedures.

Related documents

Related documents