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LANDac & Partners | Brief Series Land, Housing, and COVID-19

By Karol Boudreaux (Landesa), Alexandre Corriveau-Bourque (Norwegian Refugee Council), Yuliya Panfil (New America), and Chantal Wieckardt (LANDac)

Following the Webinar Series and Online Discussion on Land Rights Implications of COVID-19, LANDac, together with Landesa, the Land Portal Foundation, New America and the Norwegian Refugee Council published a Brief Series on the impact of COVID-19 on Land and Housing.

In the six months since the coronavirus began its global spread, more than 15 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and more than 600,000 have perished. Governments around the world have instituted lockdowns and shut down businesses. Entire industries have been devastated, notably travel, hospitality, and entertainment in the formal sector, and day labor and street and market vendors in the informal sector. Overall, hundreds of millions of people worldwide have lost their livelihoods.

These facts are well known. But less documented are the various implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the land and property rights of billions of people around the world. This series of briefs, inspired by and sourced heavily from the Land Portal’s Land and COVID-19 webinar and discussion series, spotlights a selection of these challenges, and provides suggestions for how they may be addressed.

You can read the briefs here, or download them below.

VLIR-UOS | 2021 Master Scholarships Now Open at a Flemish University

Are you interested in studying a master program on a topic relevant to sustainable development at a Flemish university (Belgium)?

VLIR-UOS provides scholarships to follow one of the 15 selected international master programs (ICP). The programs are all taught in English and are organised at one of the Flemish universities, ranking among the best in Europe.

The new call for candidates is now open!

Interested candidates from 31 eligible countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America can apply for a full scholarship. All information on the scholarships, eligibility criteria, available programs, deadlines etc. can be found here.

We hope to welcome you in our ever-growing VLIR-UOS network of ‘agents of change’ and connect you with other students, alumni, experts involved in projects etc.

Deadline: Between 16 January and 1 March 2021 (depending on the programme)

Available Master programmes include: Master of Human Settlements (KU Leuven), Master of Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies (KU Leuven), Master of Development Evaluation and Management (University of Antwerp), Master of Governance and Development (University of Antwerp), Master of Globalization and Development (University of Antwerp), Master in Sustainable Development (KU Leuven), Master of Rural Development(Ghent University).

Read more here!

Special Issue Politics and Power in Land Administration Reform (PPLA)

The research initiative PPLA is seeking interested scholars to join a “research cluster”, whose objective will be to publish a special issue on politics and power in land administration reform in a reputable academic journal.

Despite a number of welcome developments in recent years, including the emergence of “continuum of land rights” approaches, significant gaps remain between the findings of an increasingly critical scientific literature on land administration reform, and land administration as a public policy domain.

In order to address some of these gaps, we are keen to hear from anyone whose research relates to the broad themes outlined below. The research cluster will be strongly interdisciplinary, and seek to cover a diverse array of geographical settings.

  • The diversity of ways in which “legalisation” and “formalisation” processes are mediated by political and social relationships that exist within often extreme asymmetries of power.

  • The opportunities such processes provide for facilitating rather than preventing disenfranchisement and dispossession through processes like land grabbing.

  • Modalities by which such processes intersect with and impact upon disparities based on gender, ethnicity and religious minority status.

  • Tensions between local, customary notions of land rights and State-led formalisation processes, including conflicting conceptions of legitimacy and justice.

  • How the political-administrative compartmentalisation of “land administration” relates to the oft-stated aspirations of such processes to achieve equitable and pro-poor outcomes, for example national inheritance legislation and the relationship of natural resources like forests and water bodies to “land administration”.

  • The impact of state foreign and security policy on land acquisitions, for example as part of the establishment and expansion of military and naval infrastructure.

  • How the European Union’s Global Strategy and development policy relate to these issues.

Anyone can register their interest for further updates by sending an email to

Potential participants are asked to submit abstracts of no more than 500 words to the same email address by the 31st January 2021.

On the basis of submitted abstracts, participants will be invited to join a “working group”, that will convene remotely by the last week of February 2021.

Working / background papers will be circulated among the group by early May 2021.

These papers will form the basis of a two-day working session, in principle to be held as a physical conference in Dhaka in late September / early October, and there will be a modest budget available to support travel and accommodation expenses. If continuing Covid prevalence makes this option unworkable, remote arrangements will be organised, potentially involving more flexible timings to take time differences into account.

The aim will be to have an agreed framework for the special issue by the end of the working session, as well as an agreed target journal.

While all are welcome to engage with this initiative, it may be of particular interest to early career researchers.

For further information, please contact Dr Oliver Scanlan at the Center for Sustainable Development, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, at

Read more about the initiative here.

Shelter City Netherlands – New Call

Justice and Peace Netherlands is launching a new call for applications for at risk Human Rights Defenders to participate in Shelter City. The deadline for applications is 10 December 2020. Please be aware that special conditions apply because of the COVID-19 situation (see conditions below).

Shelter City provides temporary safe and inspiring spaces for human rights defenders (HRDs) at risk where they re-energise, receive tailormade support and engage with allies. The term HRD is intended to refer to the broad range of activists, journalists, scholars, writers, artists, political figures, lawyers, civil rights defenders, independent media professionals, civil society members, and others working to advance human rights and democracy around the world in a peaceful manner. Shelter City offers the HRD a shelter for three months, during which they will rest, re-energize, gain new skills, extend their network and raise awareness about the situation in their country. At the end of the programme, participants are expected to return with new tools and energy to carry out their work at home.

From March 2021 onwards, several cities in the Netherlands will receive HRDs for a period of three months.

Shelter City and COVID-19

Please note that the current situation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) may pose certain challenges to the stay of HRDs in the Netherlands in 2021. These challenges can include:

  • Limitations and/or changes in the programme that we can offer HRDs during their stay in the Netherlands;
  • New measures and restrictions (including a lockdown) taken by the Dutch government;
  • Cancellation of flights to the Netherlands;
  • Postponement of return to the home country after 3 months because of travel restrictions;
  • Participants might be requested to self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in the Netherlands (Shelter City programme will be adapted accordingly) and to take other preventive measures due to COVID-19 (including a COVID-19 test before travelling to the Netherlands.

Please consider these potential challenges carefully before applying to the programme.

Applicants must fulfil the following conditions in order to be elegible for Shelter City:

  1. They implement a non-violent approach in their work;
  2. They are threatened or otherwise under pressure due to their work;
  3. They should be able to be relocated for a period of maximum 3 months. Limited spots are available for people who are not able to stay for the full 3 months;
  4. They are willing and able to return to their country of origin after 3 months;
  5. They are willing to speak publicly about their experience or about human rights in their country to the extent that their security situation allows;
  6. They have a conversational level* of English (limited spots are available for French or Spanish speaking HRDs);
  7. They are willing and able to come to The Netherlands without accompaniment of family members;
  8. They have a valid passport (with no less than six months of validity) or be willing to carry out the procedures for its issuance. Justice and Peace covers the costs of issuing a passport and / or visa (if applicable);
  9. They are not subjected to any measure or judicial prohibition of leaving the country;
  10. They are willing to begin their stay in The Netherlands around March 2021.

*By conversational English we mean that participants’ level of English allows them to actively participate in a training, speak about their work, communicate with the host city, etc.

Note that additional factors will be taken into consideration in the final round of selection, such as the added value of a stay in The Netherlands as well as gender, geographic, and thematic balance. Please note that we can only accept HRDs currently residing in a third country under exceptional circumstances.

To apply or submit the application of a human rights defender, kindly find the online application form here. Application forms must be submitted by 10 December 2020, at 23:59 CET (Central European Time). An independent commission will select the participants.

Note that the selected HRDs will not automatically participate in the Shelter City programme  as Justice and Peace is not in control of issuing the required visas to enter the Netherlands.

For more information, please contact us at

ITC | Vacancy Assistant Professor Spatial and Land Economics

ITC University of Twente: Vacancy Assistant Professor Spatial and Land Economics

Deadline: 8th January 2021

ITC University of Twente is looking for an assistant professor in Spatial and Land Economics. Within the ITC’s mission, the claims for sufficient and secure food, water, energy, health, land and housing are important elements. As these resources are desired by all but not always sufficient for all demands, there is scarcity (globally and certainly at national or local scales). In most societies today, (scarce) resources are traded through markets which assign them a monetary value. Economics deals with the value, trade and distribution of such scarce resources. Because the world is increasingly realizing that there are important non-monetary values to (esp. natural) resources, the economic dimension is critical to understanding resource management issues, the related plans and decisions and their costs and benefits.

To ensure a full pallet of relevant disciplines linked to PGM’s focus areas of urban and regional planning and land administration, we are seeking to appoint a new colleague who will bring an economic perspective to the understanding of urban and land development processes, considering their social and ecological values and impacts. This perspective will also contribute to other fields at ITC, for instance, payments for ecological services (mainly with the department of Natural Resources) and disaster risk assessment (mainly with the department of Earth Systems Analysis).

You will conduct high quality interdisciplinary research in (a part of) spatial and land economics and contribute to research networks addressing economic issues with a geo-spatial perspective, particularly in the global South. You will teach Master’s level courses, supervise MSc research and contribute to the development of courses and new educational products (e.g. through blended learning or distance learning packages). You will supervise PhD students in combination with a departmental professor. You will initiate, acquire and implement new research, education and consulting projects for the department, adding an economic perspective that will contribute to a broader and more successful project portfolio.  You will undertake management and administration tasks within the ITC faculty.

Your profile

You should:

  • possess a PhD in spatial economics, land economy/valuation, urban economics, development economics or have a combination of degrees covering (parts of) these.
  • have experience in collaborative interdisciplinary research including with geo-spatial methodologies
  • have authored scientific publications covering (some of) the above.
  • have broad basic knowledge of the thematic fields of the department and the faculty.
  • have an aptitude for teaching, including lecturing and tutoring at an academic level.
  • have a track record in attracting funds to support your research.
  • have an affinity with a multi-cultural, post-graduate education environment.
  • be willing to undertake international travel for work in less developed countries.
  • have an excellent command of English – knowledge of or willingness to learn Dutch is an advantage

Our offer

We offer an inspiring and challenging international environment. You will be initially employed for two years. Prolongation of the contract after this period is a possibility.

  • Gross monthly salary between € 3,746.- and € 5,127.- (depending on experience and qualifications, job profile Assistant Professor, level 2)
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3%
  • Excellent support for research and facilities for professional and personal development.
  • A solid pension scheme
  • Possibilities to save up holidays for sabbatical leave
  • Minimum of 41 holiday days in case of full-time employment

Information and application

Additional information about this position can be obtained from Prof. Dr. Richard Sliuzas (e-mail: You are also invited to visit our homepage.

Please submit your application before 8 January 2021 (choose “apply here” below). Your application must include (i) a motivation letter outlining your research and teaching interests and (ii) a CV with references.

For more information, please find the vacancy here.


Include | The (business) case for social protection

INCLUDE – a Dutch-African platform that promotes evidence-based policymaking on inclusive development in Africa through research, knowledge sharing and policy dialogue, recently published a document that summarises the work INCLUDE has done on the link between social protection and inclusive development. Read the two-pager here.




Vice Versa | Communities need land rights to gain from investments

In the autumn of 2020, Vice Versa publishes a series of articles on transforming African food systems to provide sufficient and healthy food to the growing population, while at the same time generating income and employment for the increasing number of young people.

In this article, Siri Lijfering shows that communities being able to participate on an equal basis in land governance is key to achieve food security and inclusive development. How can securing land rights pave the way for responsible investments and what can we learn from experiences with the palm oil industry? To answer these questions the article turn to West Africa where two activists are fighting for their communities’ right to land. ‘If we want to move forward, we need to share the wealth that the land brings.’

Read the full article here!

Global Land Alliance | Community Participation and Inclusion during a Pandemic: Recent Experiences from Around the World

In this recently published blog, Laura Bermudez, Jordan Oestreicher, Christen Corcoran, Elyse Magen address the questions: How can we reconcile the hazards of social interaction in a COVID-19 world with the importance of community participation to the successful, and sustainable, implementation of on-going land projects?

With strict health standards in place, COVID-19 has significantly impeded the way land tenure projects are operating in the field. Many of the participatory aspects of land tenure projects have had to be either postponed or adjusted in order to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus. This has the potential to obstruct successful and sustainable implementation for projects seeking to formalize and secure land tenure, where community participation is of the upmost importance.

This blog provides examples of community engagement during COVID-19 in Mozambique, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic and Colombia.

Read the blog here!

Landesa | Secure Land Rights: A Sustainable Solution at the Intersection of Climate Change and COVID-19

In this blog on Skoll Foundation, Rachel McMongagle addresses the dual crisis of climate change and COVID-19.

“COVID-19 and climate change are impacting all of us, but the dual disasters have a disproportionate impact on communities in emerging economies. These impacts are felt most acutely in rural areas, especially among indigenous communities and minority groups, and by women and others who are marginalized within those groups.

One fundamental factor unites them in their plight: rights to the land they depend on for food, identity, and survival, are too often insecure. Land rights in rural areas were already crucial for securing dignity and escaping poverty; but COVID-19 and climate change make land rights an increasingly vital solution in rural areas.”

Read the full blog here!

IIED | Farmer-herder conflict: open your eyes, change the narrative, find solutions

New research by IIED’s Camilla Toulmin and Saverio Krätli uproots deep-set trend to help understand increasing violence in dryland Africa through the lens of ‘farmer-herder conflict’. They have been digging into the data and found no evidence to support impressions that farmer-herder conflict is increasing at a faster pace than overall violence in the respective countries.

Read the full blog here.

Image top page: Despite assumed narratives of farmer-herder conflict, both populations maintain peaceful relationships in most areas (Photo: Bob Denaro via FlickrCC BY 2.0)