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Online Hub: Land Governance and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Online Hub:
Land Governance and the
COVID-19 Pandemic.

COVID-19 and the measures taken wordwide to curb the pandemic are of great concern for the global land governance community. In this hub you’ll find more information on the impact of the pandemic on land governance, a link to a Quick-scan Online Survey you may fill out to help us to create an inventory of the first observations and concerns present with the land governance community, and an overview of recently released articles, blogs and other resources on the impact of the current crisis on land governance. This page will be regularly updated.



Land Governance and the COVID-19 Crisis:
Agenda for knowledge and action

COVID-19 crisis puts land rights under pressure

As LANDac (the Netherlands Land Academy) and the LANDdialogue (the Land Governance Multi-stakeholder Dialogue), we are highly concerned about the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the land rights of poor people and insist on the importance of sustainable and inclusive land governance. While it is still early to assess the full extent of the impacts of the crisis, alarming observations about forced evictions and a shrinking civil space are coming in from different parts of the world. We urge for early action on the land right violations that are reported now, and argue for a close monitoring of developments in the longer term.

The COVID-19 crisis and the measures taken to curb the pandemic impact poor people heavily. From a land rights perspective, the most worrying immediate effects include the following:

  • Loss of livelihood options, especially in the informal sectors, and deepening levels of poverty and food insecurity.
  • Suspension of democratic controls and the use of violence against environmental and human rights defenders.
  • The closing of land administration services as part of lockdown measures.

We fear that these developments lead to increased risks of irregular land acquisition, resource grabbing and loss of assets and land access for the poor. This is already manifest in some regions in the Global South. We expect that the full extent and impact of shifts in pressures on land due to the pandemic, in combination with the potential erosion of protective and due diligence measures, will become clear over the next months. We summarise these concerns as follows:

  • Loss of assets and land access, and growing inequality: Poor people in both rural and urban areas are at risk of loosing their land and properties. In informal urban settings, the close density and risk for disease transmission may be used as justification for forced evictions. The loss of employment and informal life support systems in urban settings have caused a move out of the cities. If de-urbanisation persists, the question is what it will mean for pressures on land in rural settings. Will this lead to squeezing out the poorest segments of the population, through distress sales? What will be the implications for women’s access to land?
  • Lack of due diligence in land-based investments: It is as yet unclear how the expected global economic crisis will affect investment flows. A financial crisis might limit investment possibilities of major players. However, we may see an increase in predatory capitalism and governments may be tempted to attract investments to finance the recovery from the crisis without observing the necessary due diligence.
  • Reduced quality of land governance services: It remains to be seen whether public land administration services will be restored to their pre-COVID levels. Limitations in funding and capacity may limit the role of land governance actors in curtailing irregular land acquisition and enhancing tenure security. Formal land governance systems and programmes aimed at ensuring women’s land rights may be disrupted, which might negatively affect women’s right to land registration and ownership.
  • Suspended democratic controls on land governance: The worrying scenario here is that democratic controls, suspended under states of emergency and lockdowns, will not be restored to their pre-COVID-19 levels and civic space will remain restricted for a long time. The effect may be widespread and cause irreversible grabbing of land, water and forests.

We fear that COVID-19 develops into a severe land rights and land governance crisis. We face a serious risk that the gains of two decades of investing in land governance for sustainable and equitable development are undone. LANDac and the LANDdialogue, as part of the global land governance community, see it as their shared duty to map the problems and suggest adequate responses. The impacts of the COVID-19 crisis need to be placed squarely on the agenda of regional, national and international policymakers. Efforts to mitigate risks to land rights should be stepped up. For the somewhat longer term, the LANDac partnership, with our local and global partners, commits to monitoring developments on the ground, to protect initiatives that aim to improve sustainable and equitable land governance, and to develop a strong knowledge agenda on these issues.

How can you contribute?

  • Fill out our survey (in collaboration with the LANDdialogue)
  • Write a blog for our blog series on land governance and the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Share relevant resources with us (landac.geo@uu.nl)

Quick-scan Online Survey: Land Governance and the COVID-19 Crisis

Version française ci-dessous
Versión en español a continuación

LANDac (the Netherlands Land Academy) and the LANDdialogue (Land Governance Multi-stakeholder Dialogue) call on their networks to share their concerns and observations on the global COVID-19 pandemic. Fill out this short survey to help the land governance community prepare for the challenges ahead.

COVID-19 and the measures taken worldwide to curb the pandemic are of great concern to the global land governance community. Alarming observations are coming in not only about loss of livelihoods and deepening poverty, but also of government crackdowns on civil society, the suspension of land administration services and irregular land acquisition. While it is still early to assess the precise extent and the combined effects of these developments, our concern is that increased pressures on land in the global South in combination with a potential erosion of protective and due diligence measures, may result in a growing risk of loss of land access to the poor and resource grabbing. It is the shared duty of land governance actors worldwide to prepare for the multiple challenges ahead.

With this survey, LANDac and the LANDdialogue aim to make a first inventory of the observations and concerns in the land governance community. This will help to map the current challenges and opportunities for effective and fair land governance and those to be expected in the near future. The survey is part of a range of efforts developed jointly by LANDac and the LANDdialogue and their partners to understand the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on land rights and help prepare the land governance community to address these.

The results of the survey will remain confidential and anonymous, and only aggregate conclusions will be shared. Questions and concerns regarding the survey and future actions may be directed to Chantal Wieckardt (LANDac) and Alke Gijrath (LANDdialogue) at landac.geo@uu.nl.  

Bref sondage en ligne: Gouvernance foncière et la crise COVID-19

LANDac (L’Académie sur la gouvernance foncière des Pays-Bas) et LANDdialogue (Dialogue multipartite sur la gouvernance foncière) appellent leurs réseaux à partager leurs préoccupations et leurs observations sur la pandémie mondiale de COVID-19. Remplissez ce court sondage pour aider la communauté de la gouvernance foncière à se préparer aux défis à venir.

La crise COVID-19, ainsi que les mesures mondiales prises pour lutter contre cette pandémie, préoccupent vivement la communauté internationale qui s’intéresse aux questions de la gouvernance foncière. Des observations alarmantes font déjà le constat de son impact non seulement sur la perte de moyens de subsistance et l’aggravation de la pauvreté, mais aussi sur la mise en place de nouvelles mesures de répression gouvernementales à l’encontre de la société civile, sur la suspension des services d’administration foncière et sur plusieurs irrégularités dans les processus d’acquisition foncière. Bien qu’il soit encore tôt pour évaluer l’étendue précise et les effets combinés de ces développements, nous craignons que des pressions accrues sur les terres des pays en développement, combinées à une érosion potentielle des mesures de protection et de diligence raisonnable, puissent engendrer des risques importants sur l’accès au foncier des populations les plus défavorisées, ainsi qu’un accaparement des ressources. C’est un devoir pour la communauté de la gouvernance foncière de se préparer aux multiples défis à venir.

Avec ce bref sondage, LANDac et LANDdialogue visent à faire un premier inventaire des observations et des préoccupations de la communauté de la gouvernance foncière. Cela nous aidera à identifier les défis ainsi que les opportunités, actuels et futurs, pour la mise en place d’une gouvernance foncière plus efficace et équitable. Ce sondage résulte des efforts conjoints de LANDac, LANDdialogue et de leurs partenaires pour comprendre les impacts de la crise COVID-19 sur les droits fonciers et préparer la communauté de la gouvernance foncière à y faire face. Consultez le site internet LANDac pour plus de détails.

Les résultats du sondage resteront confidentiels et anonymes, et seules les conclusions agrégées seront partagées. Pour toute question ou préoccupation concernant cette initiative et la diffusion de ses résultats, vous pouvez contacter Chantal Wieckardt (LANDac) et Alke Gijrath (LANDdialogue) à landac.geo@uu.nl.

Vous pouvez compléter le sondage en cliquant ici.

LANDac et LANDdialogue vous remercient de prendre le temps de participer et de partager vos réflexions.

Encuesta: Gobernanza de la tierra y la crisis del COVID-19

LANDac (la academia de gobernanza de la tierra de los Países Bajos) y el LANDdialogue (Díalogo de multiples actores neerlandeses interesados sobre la gobernanza de la tierra) hacen un llamado a sus redes para compartir preocupaciones y observaciones sobre la pandemia global del COVID-19. Complete esta breve encuesta para ayudar a la comunidad de gobernanza de la tierra a prepararse para los desafíos por delante.

COVID-19 y las medidas adoptadas en todo el mundo para frenar la pandemia son motivo de gran preocupación para la comunidad global de gobernanza de la tierra. Llegan observaciones alarmantes no solo sobre la perdida de medios de vida y la profundización de la pobreza, sino también sobre las medidas represivas de gobiernos contra la sociedad civil, la suspensión de los servicios de administración de tierras y la adquisición irregular de la misma. Si bien aún es temprano para evaluar la extension precisa y los efectos combinados de estos procesos, nuestra preocupación es que el aumento de las presiones sobre la tierra en el Sur global en combinación con una posible erosión de las medidas de protección y diligencia debida, puede resultar en un riesgo creciente de pérdida de acceso a la tierra para los pobres y acaparamiento de recursos. Es un deber compartido de los actores interesados en la gobernanza de la tierra, prepararse para los múltiples desafíos que se avecinan a nivel mundial.

Con esta encuesta, LANDac y LANDdialogue apuntan a hacer un primer inventario de las observaciones y preocupaciones en la comunidad de gobernanza de la tierra. Esto ayudará a mapear los desafíos y oportunidades actuales y los que se avecinan, para una gobernanza efectiva y justa de la tierra. La encuesta es parte de una serie de esfuerzos desarrollados conjuntamente por LANDac, LANDdialogue y sus socios para comprender el impacto de la crisis del COVID-19 sobre los derechos de la tierra, y ayudar a preparer a la comunidad de gobernanza de la tierra a abordarlos. Consulte el sitio web de LANDac para más detalles.

Los resultados de la encuesta serán confidenciales, anónimos, y solo se compartirán los resultados concluidos. Preguntas y preocupaciónes con respecto a la encuestra y las acciones futuras, pueden dirigirse a Chantal Wieckardt (LANDac) y Alke Gijrath (LANDdialogue) en el siguiente mail: landac.geo@uu.nl.

Puede completar la encuesta aquí.

Gracias en nombre de LANDac y LANDdialogue


Blog Series

In this blog series, you can read more about early observations and concerns by our partners and broader community. New blogs will be regularly posted, so keep an eye on this page.


Is the security of tenure for women secured in the ‘Africa we want’?Grace Ananda, the Oxfam Pan Africa Programme

What is the position of women in Africa 57 years after the formation of the African Union? How would the world look like if women had secure access, and control of their land, and natural resources? Would the food crisis be managed differently during emergencies, like the big one we are now living in? These are the questions I keep asking myself anytime I meet with rural women farmers and engage with policymakers in the African continent.


The threat of Covid-19 in Kenya: thoughts and worries, and the urgent need for social protection and safety nets plan James Wangu, LANDac and Utrecht University

For those of us born a few decades after the Second World War, the current novel coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis is unlike anything we have ever experienced in our lifetime. Since the outbreak of the virus in China late last year, Covid-19 has left a trail of suffering in all corners of the world.


Upcoming events

Women’s Housing and Land Rights and Covid-19: Tuesday, May 26th, 9:00-10:30 AM EST (3:00-4:30 PM CEST) 

Eviction response during and after COVID-19: Wednesday, May 27th, 9:00-10:30 AM EST (3:00-4:30 PM CEST) 

Migration, Displacement, and De-urbanization in the Context of COVID-19: Thursday, May 28th, 9:00-10:30 AM EST (3:00-4:30 PM CEST) 

Stay Tuned for the Online Discussion on the Land Rights Implications of COVID-19 from June 3rd-24th!

Past events

The Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies | Public Lecture Post Covid-19 Land Development: an opportunity for more sustainable practices? Thurday 14 May 2020 14:00

For an overview of all events, click here.


Recently Released Resources

This overview will be continously updated. If you have any resources that are not included yet and which you’d like to share, please contact us at landac.geo@uu.nl.

Articles, blogs, news

Opinion| How COVID-19 puts women’s housing, land, and property rights at risk – Victoria Stanley and Paul Prettitore (World Bank) for Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Blog | Reviving the post Covid-19 Indian Economy and the Twin Challenges for Informal Workers and Slums – Pranab Choudhury and Shobha Rao for the Land Portal Foundation.

Blog | Karachi, informal settlements and COVID-19 – Arif Hasan for IIED.

Blog | Curbing the impacts of COVID-19 on Nepal’s small-scale farmers and seizing opportunities for food system reform – Jagat Deuja for IIED.

News | Coronavirus seen delaying justice for Iraqi women displaced by war – Ban Barkawi, Thomson Reuters Foundation.

News | Land Sector distress: Land offices closed since March 15th (Kenya) – KTN News Kenya

News | Latest news on Land and Covid-19 – The Land Portal Foundation.

Article | How COVID-19 is affecting land rights in Africa – Israel Bionyo, ILC.

Article | Exploring the links between COVID-19 and land-use change – Tropenbos International.

Article | COVID-19, the Land Administration Sector and Spatial Information – Rohan Bennett, Eva-Maria Unger, Christiaan Lemmen, Kees de Zeeuw at GIM International.

Blog | Gasvondst in Mozambique: zegen of vloek? (NL) – Anne de Jonghe and Daniëlle Hirsch, Both ENDS.

Blog | COVID-19 and global economic ordering: radical shift or more of the same? – Lorenzo Cotula and Brendan Schwartz, IIED Natural Resources research group.

Blog | Increasing Segregation? Impact of Covid19 in the Cities of Africa and South Asia – Philip Amis, International Development Department, University of Birmingham.

Blog | How the corona crisis is calling into question the “right to the city” – Eva Dick, German Development Institute.

Blog | Giving away our land as Americans shelter in place – Joshua Axelrod, NRDC.

Editorial | Land and environmental defenders are sitting ducks, while world goes into lockdown – Michel Forst, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and Michael Taylor, Director of the International Land Coalition Secretariat.

Opinion | Land seizures and COVID-19: The twin threats to Brazil’s indigenous peoples – Richard Pearshouse and Jurema Werneck, Amnesty International (posted at Thomson and Reuters Foundation).

News | Land conflicts escalate with spread of COVID-19 in Indonesia – Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay.

News | Illegal loggers uncowed by coronavirus as deforestation rises in Brazil – Jake Spring, Reuters.

News | New IFAD Fund launched to help prevent rural food crisis in the wake of COVID-19 – IFAD.

News | Nepal’s Belaka Municipality uses STDM to identify vulnerable families during COVID-19 pandemic – GLTN.

News | Colombian death squads exploiting coronavirus lockdown to kill activists  – Joe Parkin Daniels, The Guardian.

News | Land rights defenders charged with criminal trespass, released on police bond – Witnessradio.org.

News | CHR asks PNP to probe alleged dispersal of people’s barricade in Vizcaya mining site – Gabriel Pabico Lalu, Inquirer.net.

Statement | Statement in Solidarity with Amazonian Indigenous Peoples Facing the Novel Coronavirus – COICA (Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basis).

Tools

Submit Data | LANDex – ILC and Defending Land and Environmental Defenders Coalition.

ILC and Defending Land and Environmental Defenders Coalition are taking stock of the impacts that COVID-19 is having on defenders of the land and the environment. Cases of violence, repression and reprisals against land and environment defenders in the context of COVID-19 can be securely reported via LANDex.

Response Plan | Support UN-Habitat’s COVID-19 Response Plan – UN-Habitat.

Interactive Map | COVID-19 Conflict Risk Model – TMP Systems.

Webinars

Webinar | Responsiveness of the Land Sector to the COVID-19 Crisis: Does it Guarantee Food Security and Optimum Land Use? – Food Rights Alliance and Oxfam International.

Webinar | COVID-19: A Perspective from Rural South Africa – Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies.  

Webinar | COVID-19 Series: Webinar II – How companies and land-based operators are responding to COVID-19 – IDH (Sustainable Trade Initiative).