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LANDac Conference 2020

Land Governance Challenges
and Climate Change:

Handling Pressures, Upholding Rights

2-3 July 2020
Muntgebouw Utrecht, The Netherlands

Call for Sessions for the 2020 Conference is out now!
Deadline for submission extended: 22 January 2020.

The LANDac Annual International Conference offers a podium for researchers, practitioners and private sector representatives interested in land governance for equitable and sustainable development. The 2020 Conference looks at the challenges that climate change poses for land governance systems, processes and actors and at relevant lessons that can be drawn from experiences with land governance to date.

In debates about appropriate climate change mitigation and adaptation policies, plans and actions, the implications for land governance are rarely a central focus. This conference will do just that. We welcome contributions which examine how land governance ambitions and arrangements shape and conflict with climate change ambitions; how land related livelihoods and bio-diversity are considered in climate change debates; and how the land governance landscape is responding to climate change challenges. Similarly, we welcome contributions on impacts of land transfers and transformations under the guise of climate related disaster risk reduction; and on how climate change might become a rationale for lowering the ambitions of good land governance. A concern is that lessons learnt around due diligence and the need to protect rights become ‘unlearnt’ under the pressure of climate change and associated challenges of food security and disaster risk reduction.


Over the past ten years, LANDac conferences have proven to offer a productive space for knowledge exchange, reflection and debate about issues of concern to the global land governance community. With the annual conferences, LANDac puts critical developments and emerging issues on the agenda, takes stock of trends in land governance transformation, and connects land governance to adjacent academic and policy fields. The 2020 Conference identifies the land governance challenges that derive from the climate change agenda and aims to enrich the climate change debate by drawing on lessons learnt from over a decade of analysing and addressing land acquisition and investment.

A first and major concern relates to the land foot print that is to be expected from climate change adaptation and mitigation measures. Both alternative sources of energy, such as wind and solar energy, and infrastructural interventions for e.g. flood protection, translate into claims on land and will compete with existing rights or other potential uses of the land. We expect to see more instances of disaster-capitalism after floods, and land grabbing as part of climate change adaptation measures. Crucial questions here are the way these claims are dealt with and whether principles of ‘good governance’ are upheld in the face of the climate imperative.

A second concern relates to the shifts in land use patterns and people’s mobility (from and between rural and urban areas) in response to differential effects of climate change, as this translates, among others, into extreme weather events and unpredictability of rainfall. We may expect this to increase land scarcity in some places while potentially reducing it in others. How will this shape landscapes? What land governance institutions and instruments are in place to deal with the pressures this generates and support sustainable land use and food security? How to avoid that smallholders loose out?

Finally, we are concerned with how the land governance landscape will respond to these challenges. How is the governance of climate change adaptation foreseen and who will jump in the governance gaps that undoubtedly will occur? What will be the relevance of due diligence instruments as the VGGTs and FPIC? What lessons can the land governance community offer after a decade of addressing land grabs and regulating investment and who is willing to listen to these?


Registration for the conference will open in February and close mid-June, 2020. Early bird registration fee (until the 1st of June) is €200 (€100 for BSc and MSc students upon proof of a valid student ID). After the 1st of June, the registration fee is €250 (€125 for BSc and MSc students upon proof of a valid student ID). Please note that the registration fee includes catering for two days. We regret that LANDac is unable to cover any participant expenses.

The LANDac Annual International Conference 2020 will be held at the historic Muntgebouw on the Leidseweg 90 in Utrecht, The Netherlands. This building is situated west of Utrecht Central Station within 10 minutes walking distance. For more information on the venue, including contact information and route, visit

From Utrecht Central Station, follow the signs for the exit “Jaarbeursplein”. Cross the square “Jaarbeursplein”, and cross the street “Croeselaan”. Then you take a right and pass the building of SNS Reaal on that corner. Cross the street “Graadt van Roggenweg” at the streetlights and continue straight until the water. Then take a left turn and this is the street “Leidseweg”. You will find the Muntgebouw after approximately 6 minutes walking on your left hand, on the corner.

How to get from the airport to Utrecht
To get from the airport to the city of Utrecht, the most convenient way is to take the train to Utrecht Centraal. Trains leave from Schiphol Airport every 15 minutes during the day and take 30 minutes. In the evening and at night trains leave less frequently, but it is possible to travel to Utrecht Centraal Station 24 hours a day. Please consult the timetable before travelling. A one-way ticket to Utrecht Centraal Station costs € 9,20 and can be purchased from the yellow self-service ticket machines at the airport.

We advise you to book your accommodation as soon as possible. July is in the summer season and so will be busy.

Details of some hotels that are conveniently located close to the centre of Utrecht and to the conference venue are provided below. In addition to these, you can book accommodation directly through the Visit Utrecht website, and find more affordable options through booking.comBed and Breakfasts Utrecht or Airbnb for rooms and apartments in Utrecht.

NH Hotel
This NH hotel has a good reputation and is situated conveniently near Utrecht Central Station and close to the Muntgebouw.

Address: Jaarbeursplein 24 | 3521 AR Utrecht | The Netherlands


Park Plaza Hotel
This hotel is conveniently located close to the conference venue and next to the railway station.

Address: Westplein 50 | 3531 BL Utrecht | The Netherlands

Apollo Hotel Utrecht City Centre
This pleasant hotel near the vibrant centre of Utrecht is situated on a 10-minute walking distance from the station.
Address: Vredenburg 14 | 3511 BA Utrecht | The Netherlands

Hotel Ibis Utrecht
This hotel is a short walk from the conference venue and is also convenient for the centre.
Address: Bizetlaan 1 | 3533 KC Utrecht | The Netherlands

The city of Utrecht
General information about the city of Utrecht for visitors is available on the Visit Utrecht website.

Promotion material
In case you are interested in promoting new publications (books, journals, working papers or other material) at the conference, please contact us. There will be space available to display publications.

No funding possibilities are available through the conference organization. If possible, we advise you to get in touch with your Dutch contacts and/or the organizers of the session you’re appointed to, to see whether conference attendance can be combined with possible projects you might be working on. We also advise you to get in touch with your organization or university about possible funding options – please contact us if you require a letter of confirmation of your invitation.


Joanny Bélair (University of Ottawa), Gemma van der Haar (Wageningen University and LANDac), Richard Sliuzas (ITC – University of Twente), Marja Spierenburg (Leiden University), Guus van Westen (Utrecht University and LANDac), Chantal Wieckardt (LANDac).

You can contact the Organising Committee at:


The conference takes place back-to-back with the LANDac/Utrecht University Summer School Land Governance for Development, which will take place 6-17 July 2020 in Utrecht. For more information, and to register, please visit the Utrecht Summer School website. Summer School participants may join the conference free of cost.