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Securing access to land

An Ethiopian farmer driving his cattle over a hill

The only way food security can be achieved is if people have access to fertile land, water and other natural resources. Land rights are an important prerequisite for making investments and for managing the land in a productive and sustainable way.

This is where the programme Responsible Land Policy, which is part of the special initiative ONE WORLD– No Hunger, comes in. Germany’s partner countries Benin, Laos, Madagascar, Paraguay (until March 2018), Peru and Uganda are receiving support through this programme.

Protecting customary rights

The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security and the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems of the UN Global Food Committee constitute the basis for responsible land policy. They say that before the authorities permit the sale of a piece of land, they must assess the impact of that sale on local people and on the environment. Furthermore they say that it is not only property and use rights which have been formally established that have to be protected but also customary rights.

Secure land tenure for local people is the top priority. In order to prevent corruption and nepotism, it is very important to ensure transparency and participation as land rights are gradually formalised. Investments must be socially and environmentally compatible.

The target groups of the programme are small farmers and herders who live in regions with almost no rights to land use or land ownership, or where these rights are not secured. They include disadvantaged groups such as indigenous communities, displaced persons, refugees and young people. Women are given special consideration, since they play an important role in food security.

The programme has a budget of 41.2 million euros, of which 4 million euros is co-financed by the European Union. The project is scheduled to run until October 2021.

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