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Here you can find an overview of output produced by LANDac researchers and our network, including policy briefs, research reports, and a list of our academic publications in the field of land governance. Search the sub-menu to read more.

  • LANDac Policy Brief #7

Migration, youth and land in West Africa: Challenges for inclusive development
Gerard Baltissen (KIT), Mayke Kaag (ASC Leiden), Anouk Lodder (VNGi) and Griet Steel (Utrecht University)

  • LANDac Policy Brief #6

Negotiating and implementing large scale land deals in Sierra Leone: Improving transparency and consent
Caitlin Ryan (University of Groningen)

  • LANDac Policy Brief #5

Urban expansion and compulsory land aquisition in Hue, Vietnam: Challenges and ways towards fair urbanization
Nguyen Quang Phuc (Hue University)

  • LANDac Policy Brief #4

Mozambique: Land-based Investments, Inclusive Business and Food Security
Kei Otsuki (Utrecht University)

  • LANDac Policy Brief #3

The Global Jatropha Hype: Lessons from the boom and bust of a miracle crop
Gemma Betsema (LANDac)

  • LANDac Policy Brief #2

Governing large-scale farmland investments in sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges and ways forward
George C. Schoneveld (Utrecht University)

  • LANDac Policy Brief #1

Tourism turning real estate: How to deal with residential tourism investment in the global South?
Femke van Noorloos (Utrecht University)

  • LANDac Research Brief #1

Village land use planning and commercialization of land in Tanzania
Dr. Chris Huggins

  • Working Paper #1

Governing commercial pressures on land in Africa: What is the role of local government?

The WLRA (Women’s Land Rights Africa) working papers present the empirical findings and concrete outcomes of the programme in Kenya, Senegal, Malawi and Mozambique. The synthesis report Scaling up impacts from the grassroots in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Senegal describes the programme approach and methodology and gives a summary of the main conclusions of the programme.

The WLRA policy briefs present some concrete policy recommendations for scaling up women land rights and identifies Kenya, Senegal, Malawi, Mozambique and in Africa in general.


LANDac, together with the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), conducted studies on land governance for 15 partner countries of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. To inform the debate on effective land policies in these countries, we produced a reference note and fact sheets that continue to be a source of information for Netherland’s embassies as well as national governments, researchers, and development organisations.

The fact sheets, covering 15 Dutch partner countries, were initially composed in 2012, and describe legal and policy frameworks on land governance, including aspects of gender, foreign investments, brief ‘realities on the ground’ sections, as well as provide an overview of the main databases and related country information.

Factsheets updated 2015/2016:

Factsheets updated in 2012:

Report 2020

Reports 2019

Reports 2018

Reports 2017

Reports 2016

Reports 2015

Reports 2014

Reports 2013

Reports 2012

Reports 2011

Reports 2010

Published Books

  • Archambault, C.A. and Zoomers, A. (Eds) (2015). Global Trends in Land Tenure Reform – Gender Impacts. Routledge Studies in Gender and Development.
  • Huu, T. P. (2015). Dilemmas of hydropower development in Vietnam: between dam-induced displacement and sustainable development. Eburon Uitgeverij BV.
  • Kaag, M. and Zoomers, A. (eds) (2013). The Global Land Grab. Beyond the Hype. Zed Books, London.
  • Kirigia, E., Betsema, G.  Van Westen, G. and Zoomers, A. (2016) Flowers for food? Scoping study on Dutch flower farms, land governance and local food security in Eastern Africa LANDac: Utrecht
  • Nguyen, Q.P. (2015) Urban land grab or fair urbanization? Compulsory land acquisition and sustainable livelihoods in Hue, Vietnam. Ph.D. thesis, Eburon Publishers.
  • Schoneveld, G. (2013). The governance of large-scale farmland investments in Sub-Saharan Africa. A comparative analysis of challenges for sustainability. Ph.D. Thesis, Utrecht, 2013.
  • Shete, M. (2016). The impact of large-scale land acquisition on equitable and sustainable development in Ethiopia. D. Thesis, Utrecht/Leiden, 2016.
  • Van Noorloos, F. (2012). Whose place in the sun? Residential tourism and its implications for equitable and sustainable development in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Ph.D. Thesis, Utrecht, 2012.

Special Issues

  • Otsuki, K., Read, M., and Zoomers, A. (2016). Large scale investments in infrastructure: Competing policy regimes to control connections. ISS International Colloquium Paper No. 32. The Hague: Institute for Social Studies.

 Peer-reviewed articles

  • Amsalu, A. and Zoomers, A. (eds.) (2014). ‘Special Issue: The global jatropha hype – drivers and consequences of the boom and bust of a wonder crop’, in: Sustainability, 2014.
  • Budidarsono, S., Susanti, A., and Zoomers, A. (2013). ‘Oil palm plantations in Indonesia: The implications for migration, settlement/resettlement and local economic development’, in: Intech.
  • German, L., Schoneveld G., and Mwangi, E. (2013). ‘Contemporary processes of large-scale land acquisition in Sub-Saharan Africa: Legal deficiency or elite capture of the rule of law’, in: World Development, Vol. 48, August 2013, pp. 1-18.
  • Goldfarb, L. and Van der Haar, G. (2015). ‘The moving frontiers of genetically modified soy production: Shifts in land control in the Argentinean Chaco’, in: Journal of Peasant Studies.
  • Goldfarb, L. and Zoomers, A. (2013). ‘The drivers behind the rapid expansion of genetically modified soya production into the Chaco region of Argentina’ in Biofuels – Economy, Environment and Sustainability (Fang, ed).
  • Goldfarb, L. and Zoomers, A. (2013). ‘The drivers behind the rapid expansion of genetically modified soya production into the Chaco Region of Argentina’, in: Intech Open Access Publisher.
  • Harcourt, W. (ed.) in collaboration with Zoomers, A. (2011). Special issue ‘Global land grabs’: challenges to sustainability, in: Development, Vol. 54 (1 and 2), pp. 1-134.
  • Huggins, C.D. and Frosina, N. (2016). ‘ICT-driven projects for land governance in Kenya: Disruption and e-government frameworks’, in GeoJournal.
  • Jehling, M. and Hartmann, T. (2016). ‘Land governance: the LANDac conference in Utrecht, the Netherlands, 8-10 July 2015’, in: Town Planning Review, 87 (1), S., pp. 99-104.
  • Nguyen, Q, P., Van Westen, G., and Zoomers, A. (accepted 2016). ‘Compulsory land acquisition for urban expansion: Livelihood reconstruction after land loss in Hue’s peri-urban areas, Central Vietnam’ in International Development Planning Review.
  • Nguyen, Q. P., Van Westen, G. and Zoomers, A. (2015). ‘Agricultural land for urban development: The process of land conversion in Central Vietnam’ in Habitat International, Vol. 41, pp.1-7.
  • Otsuki, K., Schoneveld, G. and Zoomers, A. (eds) (submitted 2016) Special issue ‘From land grabs to inclusive development?’ in Geoforum.
  • Pham, H. T., Van Westen, G. and Zoomers, A. (2013). ‘Compensation and resettlement policies after compulsory land acquisition for hydropower development in Vietnam: Policy and practice’ in Land, Vo. 2, pp.678-704.
  • Schoneveld, G.C. and Zoomers, A. (2015). ‘Natural resource privatisation in Sub-Saharan Africa and the challenges for inclusive green growth’, in: International Development Planning Review, Vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 95-118.
  • Shete, M. and Rutten, M. (2015). ‘The impact of large-scale farming on local communities’ food security and income levels: Empirical evidence from Oromia Region, Ethiopia’, Journal of Land Use Policy, Vol. 47.
  • Shete, M., Rutten, M., Schoneveld, G. and Zewude, E. (2015). ‘Land use changes by large-scale plantations and their effects on soil organic carbon, micronutrients and bulk density: empirical evidence from Ethiopia’, in: Agriculture and Human Values: 1-16, 2015.
  • Van Leeuwen, M. and Van der Haar, G. (2015). ‘Theorizing the Land-Violent Conflict Nexus’, in World Development, Vol.78, pp.94-104.
  • Zoomers A., Leung, M. and Van Westen, G. (2016): ‘Local development in the context of global migration and the global land rush: the need for a conceptual update’ in Geography Compass, Vol. 10(2), pp.56-66.
  • Zoomers, A. (2010) ‘Globalization and the foreignization of space: The seven processes driving the current global land grab’ in Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 37(2), pp.429-447.
  • Zoomers, A. (2011) (ed.). Guest editorship for the pull-out supplement of ‘The Focus’: Food Security and Land grabbing. In: ‘The Newsletter of the International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS)’, no. 58/autumn/winter 2011, pp.19-30.
  • Zoomers, A. (2011) ‘Rushing for land: Equitable and sustainable development in Africa, Asia and Latin America’ in Development Vol. 54(1), pp.12-20. Palgrave MacMillan on behalf of Society for International Development (SID).
  • Zoomers, A. and Van Westen, G. (2013). ‘Reforming the land grab debate: The need to broaden and deepen the agenda’ in Global Environment Vol. 12, pp.230-250.
  • Zoomers, A., Gekker, A. and Schäfer,. M.T. (2015). ‘Between two hypes: Will “big data” help unravel blind spots in understanding the “global land rush”?’, in: Geoforum, Vol.69, February 2016, 147-159.
  • Zoomers, A., Otsuki, K., Van Noorloos, F., Steel, G. and Van Westen, G. (2017). ‘The rush for land in an urbanizing world: From land gabbing toward developing safe, resilient and sustainable cities and landscapes’ in World Development, Vol. 92, pp.242-252.

 Book chapters

  • Budidarso, S., Susanti, A. and Zoomers, A. (2013). ‘Oil palm plantations in Indonesia: the implications for migration, settlement/resettlement and local economic development’. In: Zhen Fang (ed.). Biofuels. Goldfarb, L. and A. Zoomers (2013): ‘The drivers behind the rapid expansion of genetically modified soya production into the Chaco Region of Argentina’. In: Zhen Fang (ed.). Biofuels. Economy, environment and sustainability (Intech publications), pp. 73-96 (open access).
  • Shete, M. and Rutten, M. (2014). ‘Biofuel production in Ethiopia: status, challenges and contributions’, in: Digging deeper: inside Africa’s agricultural, food and nutrition dynamics (Akinyoade, Klaver, Soeters & Foeken, eds, 2014).
  • Shete, M. and Rutten, M. (2015) ‘Large-scale land acquisition in Ethiopia: Implications for agricultural transformation and livelihood security’ in Africa’s Land Rush: implications for rural livelihoods and agrarian change (Hall, Scoones & Tskikata, eds, 2015), Suffolk: James Currey.
  • Van Laar, S., Cottyn, I., Donaldson, R., Zoomers, A. and Ferreira, S. (2013). “Living apart together’ in Franschhoek, South Africa: The implications of second home development for equitable and sustainable development’, in: Contested Spatialities: Lifestyle migration and residential tourism, M. Janoschka and H. Haas (eds.), London: Routledge.
  • Van Noorloos, A. and Van Noorloos F.  (2016): ‘Het veranderende platteland – de nieuwe rush voor land. In: P. van Lindert & Chr. Klaufus (eds.) Latijns Amerika. Een region in beweging. UM-Publishers, pp. 115-135.
  • Van Westen, G. and Zoomers, A. (2016). ‘Beyond friend or foe: Foreign investment, responsible business and local development in Africa’ in Gomez & Knorringa (eds.) ‘Local governance, economic development and institutions’ Palgrave Macmillan, pp.248-275.
  • Zoomers, A. (2012). ‘Globalización y “extranjerización” del espacio: las consequencias de la fiebre global de tierra para el desarrollo local’, in: Geografía Economica y social. Actores, instituciones y procesos globales, R.R. Ortega, L. Brenner and C. Mendoza (coord.), Mexico: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana.
  • Zoomers, A. (2013). ‘A Critical Review of the Policy Debate on Large-Scale Land Acquisitions: Fighting the Symptoms or Killing the Heart?’, in: Africa for Sale? Positioning the State, Land and Society in Foreign Large-Scale Land Acquisitions in Africa (S. Evers, C. Seagle and F. Krijtenburg, eds), Leiden: Brill.

 Policy input
Four background papers for the EU report Development Confronting scarcity: Managing water, energy and land for inclusive and sustainable growth:

  • Burgers, P. (University of Utrecht) and Susanti, A. (Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta): Questioning the sustainability of oil palm development: seeing the complexity of its implications at Riau Province – Indonesia. background paper to the European Report on Development Confronting scarcity: Managing water, energy and land for inclusive and sustainable growth (ODI/DIE/ECDPM).
  • Hilhorst, T. and Zoomers, A. (2011) ‘How can large-scale transnational land acquisitions contribute to inclusive and sustainable growth’, background paper to the European Report on Development Confronting scarcity: Managing water, energy and land for inclusive and sustainable growth (ODI/DIE/ECDPM).
  • Susanti, A. and Burgers, P. (2011) ‘Oil palm expansion in Riau province, Indonesia: serving people, planet, profit?’, background paper to the European Report on Development Confronting scarcity: Managing water, energy and land for inclusive and sustainable growth (ODI/DIE/ECDPM).
  • Van Westen, G., Van Vlerken, T. and Van der Wal, F. (2011) ‘Investors in land: Perspectives on investors engaged in transnational land acquisitions in developing countries’, background paper to the European Report on Development Confronting scarcity: Managing water, energy and land for inclusive and sustainable growth (ODI/DIE/ECDPM).

Other policy input

  • Asperen, M. van, Goldfarb, L.,  Hilhorst, T., Minderhoud, K., and Van der Wal, F. (2011) ‘Strengthening land governance for poverty reduction, sustainable growth and food security. Inventory and analysis of programs supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 2007 and 2010’, December 2011.
  • Blok, S. and Betsema, G. (2014). ‘Dutch Land Governance Interventions – Inventory and analysis of projects and programs supported by Dutch Ministries and Dutch Embassies to strengthen land governance for equitable and sustainable development in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America’
  • Hilhorst, T. and Van der Wal, F. (2011) ‘Reference note: Analysing land governance in the multi-annual strategic plans’, April 2011.
  • Zoomers, A. (2012) Contributor to: ‘Unequal worlds. Poverty, growth, inequality and the role of international cooperation’, No. 80, September 2012, Advisory council on international affairs. See:
  • Zoomers, A. and Kaag, M. (2014).’ The global land grab is modern day corporate colonialism’. The Conversation.

 Professional publications

  • Kirigia, E., G. Betsema, G. van Westen and A. Zoomers (2015). ‘A scoping study on the Dutch floriculture sector in Eastern Africa and its impacts on local food security in the context of land governance’, Den Haag: Food & Business Knowledge Platform/Utrecht: LANDac/IDS-UU.
  • Monteiro, J., Salomão, A., and Quan, J. (2014). ‘Improving land administration in Mozambique through participatory community land delimitation’, paper presented at the WB Land & Poverty Conference.
  • Muskens, R. and Betsema, G. (2015). LANDac International Land Conference, 8-10 July 2015, Conference proceedings.
  • Salomão, A and Zoomers, A. (2013). ‘Large-scale land acquisitions, land grabbing and ways forward in participatory and equitable land governance in Mozambique’, paper prepared for presentation at the World Bank Land & Poverty Conference 2013.
  • Shete, M. and Rutten, M. (2013). ‘Impact of large-scale agricultural investment on income and food security in Oromiya Region, Ethiopia’, paper presented at the Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, 2013.
  • Van Westen, G., Betsema, G., Cottyn, I., Van Noorloos, F., McLinden Nuijen, M., Schapendonk, J., and Zoomers, A. (2013). Corporate Social Responsibility in the agro-food sector. The contribution of Dutch and European agro-entrepreneurs to sustainable local development and food security in Africa. Research report MVO Nederland, May 2013.

 Selected output of short-term research projects (2010 – 2015)
22 short-term projects were carried out through LANDac, most of them in or on developments in Africa. The results were diverse; a selection is listed below.

  • Dekker, M. and Kinsey, B. (2011). ‘Contextualizing Zimbabwe’s land reform: long term observations from the first generation’, in: Journal of peasant studies, vol.38, issue 5, pp.995-1019.
  • Dekker, M. and Kinsey, B. (2012). ‘It’s time to start my own farm’: the unforeseen effects of two waves of resettlement on household formation in Zimbabwe’, in: Transforming Innovations in Africa. Explorative Studies on Appropriation in African Societies, J. Gewald, A. Leliveld, I. Peša (eds.), Leiden: Brill.
  • Hilhorst, T. and Nelen, J. (2013). ‘Domestic Land Acquisitions in West Africa. The local rush for farmland by urban ‘businessmen”, in: Handbook of Land and Water Grabs in Africa. Foreign Direct Investment and food and water security, T. Allan, M. Keulertz, S. Sojamo and J. Warner (eds), New York: Routledge.
  • Mamonova, N. and Visser, O. (2014). ‘State marionettes, phantom organizations or genuine movements? The paradoxical emergence of rural social movements in post-socialist Russia’, Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 41, Iss. 4, pp.491-516.
  • Nelen, J., Idrissou, A., Sanou, B.W. and Traoré, N. (2013). ‘Responses to rising farmland acquisitions in West Africa: Fostering accountability in land governance at the local level’, paper prepared for presentation at the Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, The World Bank – Washington DC, April 8-11, 2013 (West Africa II).
  • Prachvuthy, M. and Van Westen, G. (2011). ‘Land acquisitions by non-local actors’, in: The Newsletter, No.58, Autumn/Winter 2011 (Cambodia).
  • Rahmato, D. (2011). ‘Land to investors: large-scale land transfers in Ethiopia’, in: FSS Policy Debates Series, 2011, Addis Ababa: Forum for Social Studies.
  • Visser, O., Mamonova, N. and Spoor, M. (2012). ‘Investory, megafermy “pustuyushchie” zemli. Krupnye zemel’nye sdelki v Rossii’, in: Theodor Shanin and Alexander Nikulin (eds.) Zemelnaya akkumulatsiya v nachale XXI veka. Moscow: Delo, pp. 66-125.

 Consultancy assignments

  • Consultancy for the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in the UK and ECDPM (Maastricht) (2011).
  • Hilhorst, T., and Zoomers, A. (2011). Background paper for the European Development Report (ERD) for EU. ‘Under What conditions can translocal large-scale land acquisitions contribute to inclusive and sustainable growth?’

Below some links to other research based in the Netherlands with relevance to the theme “Land Governance for Equitable and Sustainable Development”.



Sliding from greasy land? Migration flows and forest transformation caused by oil palm expansion in Riau (Sumatra) & Berau (East Kalimantan)
Utrecht University and Gadjah Mada University Yogyakarta, in collaboration with Bogor Agricultural University and Mulawarman University Samarinda
Coordinator: Dr. Paul Burgers (International Development Studies, Utrecht University)

This project aims to unravel the complexity and dynamics that exist between three interdependent themes: (illegal) logging, migration processes and forest transformation processes. It will contribute to a better understanding of how current developments (the combined effect of expanding oil palm plantations and deforestation) will influence migration flows and livelihood systems of the local population. Special attention will be paid to how local governments can play a positive role in balancing the situation. It will result in concrete recommendations for how to integrate oil palm expansion in broader livelihood systems, while also playing a positive role in reducing deforestation and contributing to economic growth. These insights will feed into the set up of a decision support model for scenario development in a bio based economy environment, in which forest protection or rehabilitation becomes a profitable option under for instance the future REDD mechanism.

Breakthroughs in biofuels; Mobile Technology for Biodiesel Production from Indonesian Resources
University of Groningen and Bandung Institute of Technology, in collaboration with Wageningen University and Research Center, Gadjah Mada University Yogyakarta, Universiteit Twente, University of Palangkaraya

JARAK: The commoditization of an alternative biofuel crop in Indonesia
Leiden University and Gadjah Mada University Yogyakarta, in collaboration with University of Indonesia, Wageningen University and Research Center, Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies, Parahyangan University Bandung, Mulawarman University Samarinda, International Institute of Asian Studies Leiden, Bogor Agricultural University

In close collaboration with the KNAW/NWO programme Agriculture beyond Food (AbF), LANDac organized an international conference on Jatropha: the boom and bust of a miracle crop. A report of this 2-day conference can be found under the ‘Report’ section on this website.

Land grab and dwindling water resources: Reconciling competing claims and conflicts over natural resources in Africa’s dry lands, specifically Kenya.
Coordinator: Dr. M.M.E.M. Rutten
Consortium partners: Rutten (UL-ASC, NL); Odipo (Moi University, Kenya); Davies (IUCN/World Initiative for Sustainable Pastoralism (WISP), Kenya); Barmentlo (Cordaid, NL)

Small-scale gold mining and social conflict in the Amazon: Comparing states, environments, local populations and miners in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, and Suriname (GOMIAM)
Coordinator: Dr. M.E.M. de Theije
Consortium partners: Theije (VU, NL); Emanuels (WWF-Guiana/Surinam, Guiana/Surinam); Mathis (Universidade Federal de Pará, Núcleo de Altos Estudos Amazonicos, Brasil); Schouten (Solidaridad, NL)

Nationalization of extractive industries, conflict and co-operation in Bolivia and Ecuador
Coordinator: Prof. dr. S.M. Murshed
Consortium partners: Murshed (ISS, NL); Gruenberger (Lidema, Ecuador); Mena (Universidad San Francisco de Quito /University of North Carolina, Ecuador/USA); van der Schoot (HIVOS, NL)

Assessing the socio-economic implications of industrial biofuel plantations: Repercussions of Jatropha curcas on rural land use alienation and conflict escalation in Ghana and Ethiopia
Coordinator: Mr. R.A.B. Antwi-Bediako
Consortium partners: Antwi-Bediako (Rural Environmental Care Association, Ghana); Teferi (HOAREC, Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), Ethiopia); Timko (Univ. Of British Columbia, Canada); Acheampong (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana); Hoogland (Both Ends, NL)

Lands and Rights in Troubled Waters – Land-use change, environmental harm and human rights violations in Colombia and Brazil: the case of the Cauca and Tapajós basins
Coordinator: Dr. T. Boekhout van Solinge
Consortium partners: Boekhout van Solinge (UU, NL); Salcedo Fidalgo (Centro de Estudios Sociales (CES-UNC), Colombia); Vélez Galeano (CENSAT Agua Viva – Friends of the Earth Colombia); Monsalve Suárez (FIAN International (Foodfirst Information & Action Network, Germany); de Jesus Rego (Comissão Pastoral da Terra – CPT/Santarem, Brazil); Pacheco Peleja (Universidade Federal do Pará – UFPA, Brazil)

Re-incorporating the excluded: providing space for small-scale fishers in the sustainable development of fisheries of South Africa and South Asia
Coordinator: Dr. J.M. Bavinck
Consortium partners: Bavinck (UvA, NL); Sowman (University of Cape Town, South Africa); Jaffer (Masifundise Development Trust, South Africa); Amarasinghe (University of Ruhuna,, Sri Lanka); Kumara (University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka); Menon (Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS), India); Sosai (University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka); Van Drumpt (Cordaid, NL); Vivekanandan (South Indian Federation of Fishermen Societies (SIFFS), India); Coulthard (University of Ulster, UK); Van Sittert (University of Cape Town, South Africa); Kumara (National Fisheries Solidarity, Sri Lanka)

Groundwater in the Political Domain
Coordinator: Dr. F. van Steenbergen
Consortium partners: van Steenbergen (MetaMeta, NL); Mostert (TUD, NL); Woldearegay (Mekelle University, Ethiopia); Babaqi (Water and Environment Centre, Sana’a University, Yemen); Alemayehu (Oromia Water Works Design and Supervision Enterprise, Ethiopia); Bateh (Palestinian Water Authority, Palestine Territories)

  • NWO Integrated Programmes (WOTRO)

GROUNDING LAND GOVERNANCE – Land conflicts, local governance and decentralization in post-conflict Uganda, Burundi and Southern Sudan
Consortium partners:
• Faculty of Development Studies, University of Science & Technology, Mbarara, Uganda
• African Studies Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands
• Centre for International Conflict Analysis and Management, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands
• Law and Governance Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands
• Disaster Studies, Wageningen University, the Netherlands
• Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
• VNG International, the Netherlands
• Resource Based Conflicts Management Network, Nairobi, Kenya
• LOGO South – Millennium Development Goal Program, Kampala, Uganda
• Bureau de la Coopération suisse, Burundi

The following link will take you to a short video from the ‘Grounding Land Governance’ researchers about the programme:

Farm Dwellers, the Forgotten People? Consequences of conversions to private Wildlife Producton in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape
Coordinator: Dr M.J. Spierenburg (VU University Amsterdam)
Co-applicant: Dr. S.J. Brooks (University of KwaZulu-Natal)

Development as a Trojan Horse? Foreign Large-scale Land Acquisitions in Ethiopia, Madagascar and Uganda
Coordinator: Dr. S.J.T.M. Evers (VU University, Amsterdam)
Co-applicant: Dr. K Berhanu (Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia)

Gulf-state concessions in Indonesia and the Philippines: Contested control of agricultural land and foodcrops
Coordinator: Dr. R.A. Rutten (University of Amsterdam)
Co-applicant: Dr. E.A. Purwanto MA (Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia)

SANPAD Research project:

A critical analysis of ‘land grabbing’ in selected areas in South Africa
In South Africa, as in many other countries of the Global South, a significant transformation of (rural) land is taking place, involving conversion to other uses and transfer of rights (ownership) to other users, including external investors. The study aims is to gain a deeper understanding of how the alternative use of land as opposed to agricultural use/production (contextualised as ‘land grabbing’ in the broadest sense) impact, positively and/or negatively on three separate but integrated aspects/sections: (1) land-use transformation (from rural to urban, and, a change in agricultural land use) (2) within a context of the current land reform and restitution policy framework, and (3) residential tourism, second home ownership, and identity and lifestyle transformation.

Partners in this project:
South Africa: University of Stellenbosch (Professor R. Donaldson, Prof. Ferreira, Dr. Van Niekerk, Mr. Poona, Ms. Z. Munch), University of Limpopo(Mr Kwaw), University of Pretoria (Dr Darkey), University of Free State( Prof. G. Visser)
Netherlands: Utrecht University (Prof. A. Zoomers, Dr. T. de Jong, Dr. Guus van Westen)

  • General Research Activities at Academic Institutions

CEDLA (Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation), Amsterdam
Research line 1: Partnerships and conflicts in natural resource use

ITC University of Twente (Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation)
Land administration for informed governance (LA)

Social and Cultural Anthropology, VU University

Globalisation Studies Groningen, University of Groningen

Van Vollenhove Institute, Leiden University

Plant Production Systems Group, Wageningen UR
Competing claims on natural resources

Law and Governance Group, Wageningen UR

International Institute of Social Studies (ISS): Initiatives in Critical Agrarian Studies (ICAS)

LANDac Media

Staff of institutions that participate in, or are collaborating with LANDac, elaborate short lectures or give interviews on the topics they focus on in their research or other professional activities. This collection of items has been started in the first months of 2017 and is continually expanding.

Scrolling down you will find the following thematic categories:

  1. Collective action and land
  2. Land governance and value chains
  3. Gender and land
  4. Urban land governance
  5. Tourism and land governance

Where appropriate, references will be made to the database of good practices of the International Land Coalition (ILC).

  • Collective action and land

Land governance and social movements

Dr. Oane Visser is an associate professor at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague (the Netherlands). His interests focus on the role of social movements and civil society, particularly farmers’ organisations, in the debate on land governance. How can they succeed in being heard and involved in policy dialogue? Dr. Visser’s experience with the subject is based mainly, but not exclusively, on research in the countries of Eastern Europe that used to belong to the Soviet bloc. He is interviewed by Jur Schuurman of LANDac on the situation in those countries but also elsewhere.

In the database on good practices, the role of farmers’ organisations and other social movements is highlighted by examples from Nicaragua, Kenya and Guatemala.

The commons: introduction to the IAD framework

One of the great debates in land governance is about the pros and cons of individual or communal land ownership. The theoretical background for the debate is found, to a large extent, in the body of knowledge developed on ‘the commons’, with Hardin’s ‘tragedy of the commons’ and Ostrom’s critique of Hardin as pivotal elements. To analyse the potential of forms of (communal) management, Elinor Ostrom developed the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework, and dr. Marco Janssen of the University of Arizona introduces us to it in his contribution.

Check out good practices in South Africa, Ecuador and India.

  • Land governance and value chains

French beans in Kenya: inclusive business?

Current development policy is prioritising trade above aid. The government of the Netherlands, for instance, is encouraging private sector actors to engage in ‘inclusive business’, involving smallholder farmers. In this presentation, Ellen Mangnus and James Wangu analyse one such undertaking: the ‘French beans’ chain, targeting export markets in France and Germany. Reviewing factors such as the access to land, water and inputs, they conclude that it can be argued that the initiative is beneficial for participating smallholder farmers, but that there is a catch, which is precisely the ability to participate. Take a look and find out why this is so!

For more information: check out the Follow the Food program, coordinated by Utrecht University.

From the ILC database: the campaign for food and beverage companies to respect land rights.

Sustainability of product AND of place: the landscape approach

When a value chain is made ‘fair’ or ‘sustainable’ by the efforts of all parties concerned (consumers, farmers, importers and exporters etc.), is that sufficient for development to get a strong impulse? Or is a sustainable value chain not the end of the story? It appears that sustainability of product, however well-managed, does not automatically ensure ‘sustainability of place’, and that is where the landscape approach comes in, looking at the broader regional context of such initiatives and discerning potential or actual contradictions between them. With an example from Guatemala, Bram van Helvoirt (researcher at Utrecht University) and Katie Minderhoud (learning advisor with Dutch NGO Solidaridad) show us the potential of the landscape approach.

More on coffee, land and Guatemala in this example of a good practice.

  • Gender and land

How to improve women’s land rights?

In November 2016, a Women’s Land Rights expert meeting, was held in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands. It was organised by The Gender Resource Facility, Kadaster, LANDac, The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oxfam Novib and the Centre for Development Innovation at Wageningen University. Experts like Ruth Meinzen-Dick (IFPRI) and Esther Obaikol (Uganda Land Alliance) report on the meeting attended by practitioners, scholars, policymakers and representatives of grassroots movements, and that addressed one crucial question: how to successfully improve and scale women’s land tenure security and land rights?

From the ILC database, we selected good practices, both in Togo: one on paralegals that help widows enforce their land claims, the other on the Gender Evaluation Criteria used by the Global Land Tool Networdk (GLTN) to raise awareness.

The pastoral commons in Kenya: gender and institutional innovation

Supported by findings among the Maasai in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) of Southern Kenya, dr. Caroline Archambault of Leiden University College The Hague engages in the debate about the ‘tragedy of the commons’ (see Marco Janssen’s contribution, above), discussing the consequences of privatisation of tenure for pastoralism in this region, where the easy mobility of livestock (essential in arid regions) has always depended on some form of communal tenure. Special attention is paid to the position of women and their views on privatisation. It turns out that things are less simple than they look: not only are communities much less homogeneous that we might believe, with important differentiations along the gender and generation axis; also, not all the women have the same interests nor, hence, the same opinion on the pros and cons of land privatisation. In other words, “let’s de-homogenize community; let’s de-homogenize women”, to quote Caroline.

Read more about the Maasai pastoralists in this ILC link, and in this brief by Caroline.

  • Urban land governance

The social function of urban property: São Paulo, Brazil

In 1988, a new Constitution came into force in Brazil. Its principles are, among others, decentralization and participation. The new constitution describes the social function of property and, with specific reference to urban land policy, states that “urban property fulfills its social function when it complies with the fundamental demands of urban development expressed in a master urban plan”. In other words, property is not just a question of private ownership. How does this play out in São Paulo?

Dr. Roberto Rocco is an associate professor at the Technological University in Delft (the Netherlands).

  • Tourism and land governance

Residential tourism and land in Costa Rica

One important driver of, frequently irregular or non-supervised, land acquisition deals is tourism, especially in its residential form: semi-permanent migration of retired people to sunny destinations. This happens in Europe (Spain, notably), but also in Costa Rica, where many American ‘pensionados’ take up residence for the better part of a year. Based on her Ph. D. thesis, dr. Femke van Noorloos of Utrecht University (the Netherlands) explains what this means for local communities and people living on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and issues recommendations for the government.

Other Media

In this section of our gateway we have selected, with the generous permission by the copyright, a number of appealing items that can provide the visitors of our website with more background on the issues that are nowadays in the frontline of theoretical and/or and policy debate. The items are classified in subtopics such as present trends in land governance, gender and land rights, community lands, the voluntary guidelines for land tenure (VGGT) and more.

Scrolling down you will find the following thematic categories:

  • Trends in land governance
  • Customary and statutory land governance
  • The voluntary guidelines
  • Gender and land rights
  • Governance of community lands
  • Investments
  • Land and conflict
  • Participatory land governance\
  • Land rights for indigenous people


  • Trends in land governance

Global land governance: from territory to flow?

Dr. Thomas Sikor, University of East Anglia (2014)
Prof. Sikor puts forward the thesis that a transition is going  on from ‘classic’ territorial land governance to flow-centered land governance, determined by demand for and supply of resources. Examples of this are industry-led sourcing, demand for organic and certified products; forestry products certification etc.,  all with a bearing on land governance.

Land – the Kenyan story

Land Development and Governance Institute, Kenya (2013)
The journey towards Land Reforms in Kenya (2013)​. This documentary highlights conflicts and challenges as well as gains made thus far and the way forward in the land management sector, exploring the concept of Sustainable Land Management (SLM) sector and the evolution of land policies since Kenya’s independence. You can find out more about the LDGI here.

  • Customary and statutory land governance

Customary Land disputes in Zambia

Zambia Land Alliance (2015)
An excerpt of a brief docu-video made by the Zambia Land Alliance that profiles the people of Macha village in Southern Province, who (without formal land titles) were dispossessed (and displaced) by commercial biofuel farmers.

Customary tenure in Myanmar

Mekong Region Land Governance Programme (2016)
Report on how the customary tenure system works in Myanmar, and how it is taken into account by researchers and the authorities. A plea is made for multi-stakeholder dialogue.

South Africa: Land Rights and Governance in Rural Areas

Legal Resources Centre (2012)
Mr Mabasa is one of the 22 million South Africans living under a traditional authority. With the help of the Legal Resources Centre he is fighting eviction (due to housing development) without compensation from his field that he has worked on for more than 20 years. The Legal Resources Centre provides free legal services to the poor, marginalized and vulnerable people and communities of South Africa.

Titles to people living on customary land

NTVUganda (2016)
The government of Uganda is set to issue one million land titles to communal or customary land owners. Spokesman of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Dennis Obbo says the process of mapping customary land has started with three districts after it was successfully piloted in Kasese district. As Francis Jjingo reports, government will heavily subsidise the cost surveying the lands before the titles are issued. The government says the work in in three districts has started after it was successfully piloted in Kasese district. However, the population says the government is grabbing land through this process.

  • The Voluntary Guidelines for Land Tenure

Interviews with experts on the VGGTs

FAO (2012)
Interviews with experts on “Why VGGTs?”, who outline how the Voluntary Guidelines were formulated, the central role of the Committee on World Food Security, who stands to benefit most, and why the guidelines are so important.

You can also check these interviews with Milton Rando and with Paul Munro-Faure.

Responsible governance of tenure

FAO (2013)
An introductory (animated) video to the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security.

The land governance programme database and map

Global Donor Platform for Rural Development (2014)
Gregory Myers speaks about the upcoming land projects database which will contain information on location, duration, funding and scope of 600 ‘land’ projects in more than 90 countries with a total value of about 2 billion dollars – as well as on the specific aspects of the Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security it supports. Since the database is ‘decentralised’ each member of the donor platform is responsible for the programme information it enters and maintains. The database is available here.


FAO (2012)
The Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of National Food Security.

Towards Responsible Land Governance – Strategies for the Implementation of the Tenure

Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (2015)
This film sheds light on national experiences and strategies to implement the Tenure Guidelines from the perspectives of government, civil society, science and academia. Putting the standards and principles of the Tenure Guidelines into practice is a real human rights endeavor and calls for fostering societal learning processes across sectors. Their implementation is crucial to achieving the goals of the internationally agreed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The interviews were collected during the multi-stakeholder workshop “Quo vadis VGGT? Learning from the experiences of other human rights based approaches and instruments” held by the IASS Global Soil Forum at the Food and Agriculture organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome in December 2015. The question that the video tries to answer is: “do the VGGTs work?” With experiences from the Philippines, Indonesia and Namibia, among other countries.

  • Gender and land rights

Right to land of men and women: Experiences with paralegals in Mozambique

FAO (2012)
The video shows the major challenges faced by rural women when it comes to access land and natural resources. As a part of the efforts to overcome those challenges, the Paralegal Training Programme implemented by the Juridical and Judicial Training Centre (CFJJ) of the Ministry of Justice (with FAO support) strengthens the legal empowerment of rural people by training community members as ‘paralegals’. In Portuguese with English subtitles.

The land rush simulation game: an introduction

Under the coordination of the Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium),  a game has been developed in order provide a better understanding of how the rush for land is affecting the fabric of society in Central Africa . With an innovative methodological approach, a simulation game is transformed into community theatre for action-research.The developed methodology allows researchers to access people’s hidden transcripts. Researchers and civil society partners can then detect the deeper dynamics in land conflicts and insert a positive dynamic into community building projects.

More information: The Land Rush Project


  • Governance of community lands

Making Rules for Land Governance

Namati Network for Legal Empowerment (2015)
This animation illustrates the drafting of by-laws and creation of mechanisms for accountable, equitable and sustainable governance of community lands and natural resources, including protections for the rights of women and marginalized groups.

  • Investments

Land Tenure, Rights and Governance

Yuliya Neyman, USAID (2015)
A short talk about the land governance risks that come with increased foreign investments and the tool that USAID proposes in the form of its  ‘Operational Guidelines for Investments’.

  • Land and conflict

Governance off the ground

African Studies Centre Leiden (2013)
Both in northern Uganda and South Sudan people driven away by violence in the past are now returning to their home communities. Some of them, however, find their lands occupied by others and end up in conflict. Why is there so much confusion and contestation about land when violent conflict is over? And what makes land issues so difficult to resolve? This documentary explores land disputes in Yei County in South Sudan and Amuru District in northern Uganda, and the challenges they pose for post-conflict governance. This is a film by Mathijs van Leeuwen, Doreen Nancy Kobusingye, and Peter Hakim Justin, of the African Studies Centre, Leiden University, in collaboration with YOGIEMONK Televisie Producties. It was produced as part of the ‘Grounding Land Governance’ programme, a research programme financed by WOTRO – Science for Global Development – NWO.

  • Participatory land governance

Fit-for-purpose land registration in Kenya

With support from the Dutch Cadastre and a participatory approach, people in Kenya can register their land in a relatively straightforward way.

Participatory Geographical Information Systems (GIS) zoning in the Philippines

Institute of Land Governance (2015)
A two-week training for local government officials and others, organized by the International Land Coalition, and Xavier Science Foundation, Inc. – Institute of Land Governance, in partnership with ANGOC, DILG-X, and Xavier University.

  • Land rights for indigenous people

Maya Land Rights in Belize

Centre for Indigenous Studies (2012)
Cristina Coc and Pabla Miss from the Maya Leaders Association discuss their advocacy for Maya land rights in Belize.