Author Profile: Roy Prosterman

Roy Prosterman
Roy Prosterman is Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Landesa (formerly the Rural Development Institute), a non-governmental organization designed specifically for partnering with governments to extend land rights to the world’s poorest people. He is also Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington law school in Seattle, where he joined the faculty in 1965. Since 1967, Prosterman has provided advice and conducted research on land tenure issues in more than 40 countries in Asia, the former Soviet Union, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. He has received numerous awards and distinctions including the Gleitsman International Activist Award, the Schwab Foundation’s Outstanding Global Social Entrepreneur award, the World Affairs Council World Citizen Award, and the inaugural Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership. Prosterman is a frequent guest speaker and presenter at world forums on poverty and economic security. He has published several books, including Land Reform and Democratic Development (with Jeffrey Riedinger) and One Billion Rising (authored and edited with Tim Hanstad and Robert Mitchell), and has authored numerous articles. He continues to be actively engaged in Landesa’s research and advisory work. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago (B.A., 1954) and Harvard Law School (J.D., 1958). Before beginning his work on global development, he practiced as an associate at the New York firm of Sullivan & Cromwell for six years.

Cost-Effective Methods for Strengthening Land Rights in Africa

Jan 16, 2015 in Land Rights

This post originally appeared on and A growing population, changing weather patterns, and increased global demand for farmland affect the lives of people throughout Africa and make the security of their land rights more important than ever. The governments …
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10 Lessons Learned on the Impact of Secure Land Rights

Aug 25, 2014 in Land Rights

Got land rights? If you live in North America or Europe, the answer is probably: yes. If you live in the developing world, the answer is more likely: no. Your answer to this simple question largely determines your ability to …
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Four Proven Innovations to Provide Secure Land Rights

Apr 09, 2014 in Access to information , Customary Law , Governance , Land Rights , Policy reform , Rule of Law , Women's Land Rights

The following blog is taken from the remarks of Landesa Founder Roy Prosterman made today before the European Parliament’s High-Level Conference on Property Rights: The Missing Key to Eradicating Poverty. When we are dealing with complicated, stubborn and large-scale problems, …
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What Vietnam’s New Land Law Means for the Country and its Farmers

Feb 19, 2014 in Policy reform

Since our initial work on land tenure reform took place in what was then South Vietnam – accompanied by a 30% increase in rice yields and an 80% decline in Vietcong recruitment within the South – we have continued to …
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Four Ways to Help Myanmar’s Rural Poor

Jun 03, 2013 in Rule of Law , Women's Land Rights

This post was originally featured on the World Economic Forum Blog. Today, about half of the world’s population is urban. This means that it is still nearly half rural. Roughly three-quarters of people who live on less than US$ 1.25 a …
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Macro-impact of Micro-plots

Sep 07, 2011 in Economic Development , Land Rights

From the Philippines to South Africa, developing countries are pouring huge resources into providing housing for their poorest citizens. This is a valiant effort and should be applauded. But it can also be improved upon. Using an innovation that is …
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Egypt: Six Million of the Especially Aggrieved

Feb 08, 2011 in Uncategorized

Hernando De Soto’s Op-ed in the Feb. 3rd Wall Street Journal rightly points out that “Egypt’s legal institutions fail the majority of the people. Due to burdensome, discriminatory and just plain bad laws…” Egyptians are marginalized and can’t operate and …
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Land Rights: The best weapon in the fight against extremists in Pakistan

Jan 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

Pakistan’s land-tenure problems are more severe and have been more persistently ignored than nearly any others found on the planet. Though last year’s flood altered Pakistan’s landscape, it did not alter  the fact that the vast majority of land in …
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