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On this page, you can learn more about different themes within the land governance debate.

Land governance
“Land governance concerns the rules, processes and structures through which decisions are made about access to land and its use, the manner in which the decisions are implemented and enforced, the way that competing interests in land are managed.

It encompasses statutory, customary and religious institutions. It includes state structures such as land agencies, courts and ministries responsible for land, as well as non-statutory actors such as traditional bodies and informal agents. It covers both the legal and policy framework for land as well as traditional and informal practices that enjoy social legitimacy.”

(FAO and UN Habitat, 2009:9-10) 

Land governance is essential in achieving equitable and sustainable development, yet pressure on and competition for land continuously increases, through processes such as urbanization, climate change, increasing foreign investments, infrastructure development, as well as demand for land for other land uses, such as tourism and nature conservation. Especially within the context of climate change, land is essential in realizing a transformation of our food systems. Moreover, access to land, land ownership and rights are often not equally distributed, especially for women and youth. Gender discrimination continues to prevent women from realizing their full potential and contributing to sustainable development.

Explore the themes below to learn more about particular topics, or read more on the topics within particular countries.


This page is currently being updated. For publications on all themes, please have a look at our publications page or for now visit these specific pages:

Food Security & Responsible Business

Urbanisation & Infrastructure Development

Gender & Youth

Mobility and migration

Land administration, data & technology

Land Conflict

Collective Action and Land Governance

Tourism, Nature Conservation and Land Governance

Climate Change and Land Governance