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Climate Change and Land Governance

Climate Change and Land Governance

In debates about appropriate climate change mitigation and adaptation policies, plans and actions, the implications for land governance are rarely a central focus. However, there is a need to 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 need to better understand the impacts of land transfers and transformations under the guise of climate related disaster risk reduction; and examine how climate change might become a rationale for lowering the ambitions of good land governance. A concern is that lessons learnt about 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.

Land Governance Challenges and Climate Change

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 VGGT 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?


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Learn more: LANDac Resources

LANDac Seminar on Climate Change Displacement (2018)

Around 25 experts from academia, civil society and the public sector gathered in Utrecht on the 4th of October 2018, for a seminar on climate change displacement.  The seminar was kicked off by Scott Leckie (Displacement Solutions), and was followed by speakers Hugo Hooijer (Oxfam Novib) and Annelies Zoomers (Utrecht University / LANDac) Read the full report here.


LANDac Seminar Adapting to Climate Change: Community-based Adaptation in Multi-stakeholder Landscapes

This report details the proceedings of the seminar “Adapting to Climate Change”, held in Utrecht on the 7th of December 2017. The conference was co-organised by LANDac, Utrecht University and NWO’s research programme “Towards more inclusive, cooperative and participative climate change interventions in Kenya, Ghana and Burkina Faso”. Keynoye speakers: Arun Agrawal and Jun Borras. Read the full report here.


Other Resources


News Items

Publication of volume of articles on 'Restoring African Drylands' The European Tropical Forest Research Network and Tropenbos International have published Read more
In this blog on Skoll Foundation, Rachel McMongagle addresses the dual crisis of climate change and COVID-19. "COVID-19 and climate Read more
The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) has shared three new technical analyses to serve as a roadmap to scale up Read more

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