Albania is one of the smallest European countries and one of the poorest. Albania gained its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, was briefly conquered by Italy in 1939, and from 1944 to the early 1990s was ruled by a communist government. Today, Albania is a multi-party democracy.
During the communist period, the state owned all land and formed large-scale cooperatives and state farms. The post-communist introduction of individual property rights is organized by land use category (e.g.: agricultural, forest, pasture, urban housing, industrial, and other lands and properties). Agricultural lands that had been collective farms were equitably divided by area and type among the former agricultural workers, who received full ownership rights of their parcels. Occupants of urban apartments and individual houses were given ownership of their dwellings and a minimal amount of land around the dwelling. Legal rules exist for restitution of and compensation for land expropriated by the government prior to 1945, but most of the claims have not yet been settled. Read More
Following independence from Portugal in 1975, Angola descended into a civil war that killed 500,000 people and lasted until 2002. The 2002 death of UNITA rebel leader Jonas Savimbi ushered in the beginning of peace for Angolans. Yet, as Angola begins to rebuild it faces significant challenges. The 27-year-long war displaced 3.8 million people, disrupted economic activity, and destroyed most of the country’s infrastructure. More than three quarters of Angola’s population now live in extreme poverty. More than 85% depend on subsistence agriculture, yet much of the country’s farmable land is riddled with land mines and ownership of the land is unclear in many areas, discouraging investment and long-term improvements.
Landesa’s projects in Angola include a USAID property rights and resources governance program, Land law and regulatory development, and Angola land law and policy assessment. Read More
Having fought on the losing side in both World Wars, Bulgaria fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People’s Republic in 1946. Communist domination ended in 1990, when Bulgaria held its first multiparty election since World War II and began the contentious process of moving toward political democracy and a market economy.
Landesa’s projects in Bulgaria include a Land and Real Estate Mortgages Reform Assessment and Follow-On Review, Land Mortgages Legal Review and Recommendations, and Land Mortgages Fieldwork, Research, and Recommendations. Read More
Burkina Faso’s economy is highly dependent on agriculture, livestock, and forestry. Almost 90% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, often on lands that are highly fragile and prone to flooding and desertification. The introduction of soil and water conservation techniques has enabled many farmers to grow crops on land they had long since abandoned. But, tenure security is critical to enable adoption of these techniques. Many women lack the necessary control rights over the land they farm and their own labor, diminishing their incentives and capacity to invest in measures that could significantly boost the productivity of their crops.
Landesa’s projects in Burkin Faso include an assessment of women’s application of regenerative agricultural techniques. Read More
Land is the primary source of livelihood for more than 90 percent of Burundi’s population. Yet, violence and civil war have disrupted the livelihoods of Burundians for the majority of the past four decades. A new ceasefire, signed on May 26, 2008 offers the prospect of progress. Refugee camps are now closing, and 450,000 refugees are returning to their villages, sparking conflicts over land.
With support from USAID, Landesa provided legal analysis of Burundi’s draft land law and draft inheritance laws, with the goals of reducing land-related conflicts and improving women’s access and rights to land. Read More
The vast majority of Cambodians depend on land and natural resources to sustain their livelihoods. Despite the country’s lush vegetation and hot climate, the land offers most Cambodians no more than a hard life lived under the poverty line.
Urgent measures must be taken to ensure the sustainable management of Cambodia’s land and natural resources, and equitable distribution of benefits for its economic growth.
Landesa’s projects in Cambodia include Land Valuation and Compensation in Expropriation Law and Practice in China, Cambodia & India. Read More
China’s rapid modernization has transformed China’s cities and provided a better life for hundreds of millions of people. But China’s phenomenal economic growth poses challenges for the country as well. China's urban-rural income gap has skyrocketed.
The majority of China’s rural population, approximately 800 million, still live on less than $2 a day. And they die, on average, 12 years earlier than their city counterparts. To feed urban development, huge swaths of land have been seized from farmers often without sufficient compensation or consultation.
These ‘land grabs’ weaken the security of farmers rights, cause social unrest, and hamper development in the countryside. According to China’s Ministry of Public Security, China witnessed 60,000 riots involving more than 3 million people in 2006 alone. Most of these violent outbreaks were caused by violations of farmers’ land rights. Read More
With the collapse of Soviet authority in 1989, Czechoslovakia regained its freedom through a peaceful “Velvet Revolution.” In January 1993, the country underwent a “velvet divorce” into its two national components, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union in 2004.
Landesa’s past programs include Land privatization and farm reorganization in Czechoslovakia. Read More
El Salvador’s distribution of land is highly inequitable and was at the root of conflict and civil war during the late 20th century. By the 1980s, the country defined by its large poor work force was ruled by a powerful landowning class.
Landesa’s past programs include El Salvador land reform assistance and land reform and land titling in El Salvador. Read More
Ethiopia is one of the world’s poorest countries, with about half the population living below the poverty line. Most Ethiopians practice subsistence agriculture and about 12 million people don’t have enough food to eat for much of the year.
Landesa’s past programs include the Haramaya University College of Law Land Tenure Institute Initiative. Read More
The Republic of Georgia, a former Soviet republic, is a largely mountainous, low-income, food deficit country where 39% of the population lives below the poverty line. Threats to food security include drought, severe environmental degradation, and soil salinity. A decade-long unresolved conflict in South Ossetia and Abkhazia continues to jeopardize the population’s ability to maintain their livelihoods.
Historically, agriculture has been one of Georgia’s most important sectors due to its climate and relatively good soils. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, independent Georgia’s agricultural output declined dramatically, converting Georgia into a net importer of agricultural products. The government promptly began to privatize land, allocating 1.25 hectare to each rural family and leasing out state land for agricultural purposes. Following these distribution programs, the state began working on improving procedures for registering rights to the privatized parcels. Read More
No other country in the world has more poor people than India. In rural areas alone, India has an estimated 60 million families who are both poor and landless.
We believe traditional poverty alleviation efforts will largely bypass these rural families - unless they obtain land rights. With land as a foundation, the rural poor can then use the building blocks of education, healthcare, clean water and access to credit for long-term, sustainable poverty alleviation.
Secure land rights have the potential to unleash tremendous wealth, food security, investment capital, consumption power and entrepreneurial energy. Read More
Land-related problems are a major source of chronic poverty and instability in the Indonesian countryside. The challenges include widespread landlessness, inefficient land markets, poorly implemented land registration systems, ill-defined land rights and resulting social conflict, and poor natural resource management.
Another major challenge for Indonesia is to draft laws that protect the traditional rights of indigenous people while facilitating the inevitable process of modernization. Field research is vital to mesh law and custom and ensure sustainable and broad economic development.
Landesa’s past programs include Access to finance in Indonesia, Indonesia land law initiative, Indonesian land law reform, Indonesia land tenure assessment and a Indonesian land reform pilot project. Read More
Kazakhstan—with the largest territory and second largest population of the five Central Asian countries— underwent decollectivization following its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991.
Past programs include a Land Code draft.In 2003, Landesa’s land tenure experts advised a working group of the Kazakh parliament, as well as executive branch representatives, and Kazakh experts regarding draft Land Code. Read More
Land is the principal source of livelihood and wealth for the majority of Kenyans. Violations of land rights, including the rights of generations of Kenyans displaced through both colonial-era and more recent evictions, are one of the key unresolved issues in Kenya. Poor governance of the land sector has enabled political elites to gain control over vast swaths of land at the expense of rural communities. Grievances over land rights have played a major role in the sporadic violence that plagues the country, such as the 2007-2008 post-election violence.
In the last decade there have been attempts at comprehensive land reform that would allow for final and fair determination of land ownership and create a system to either compensate those evicted or restore their land rights. None of these reforms has been completed. In December 2009, the Kenyan Parliament approved a new Land Policy that lays the foundation for significant progress in addressing Kenya’s struggles over land. Read More
Many of the boundaries between the Central Asian countries of the Former Soviet Union have never been demarcated. Along the border of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in particular, neighbors in the same village may have different nationalities and different passports. They each follow their respective country’s laws, with each country claiming the territory as their own. Likewise, many countries in the region have disputed claims to pastureland and water, two critical resources in Central Asia.
As the population in Central Asia continues to grow, resources become even more scarce. Without strong laws and policies to govern use, show boundaries around resources, and determine who can use those resources, conflict is inevitable.
RDI has partnered with USAID to help understand and ease tensions over land and natural resources along the border of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan through community resource management. Read More
Lithuania has the highest proportion of population in agriculture of all the Baltic states. Significant reforms were introduced in the early 1990s to reestablish private ownership and management in the agricultural sector following the breakup of the former Soviet Union. Read More
Mexico began implementing large scale land reform after the revolution in 1917. Over the following decades, the reform distributed more than 100 million hectares, or half of the arable area, from large farms to groups of households organized into ejidos—collective holdings, but often with individual families cultivating individual plots. Indigenous groups also gained rights to their commonly-held land during this period and are known as comunidades. Read More
Since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, this mostly agrarian and poor republic has achieved considerable success in land reform—privatizing and developing markets for its urban and agricultural land.
During 1996-2000, Landesa and its partners were responsible for helping to draft the laws, regulations, and administrative and technical procedures required to privatize agricultural land, provide land ownership titles to citizens, and establish a practical framework for private land transactions. By the conclusion of Landesa’s engagement in 2000, Moldovan local governments had privatized 2.4 million land parcels and issued ownership titles to 590,000 former collective farm workers. All landowners could also freely engage in all modern land transactions. The project also established ten regional legal aid centers to assist thousands of impoverished landowners in resolving land disputes, including disputes with local officials. Read More
Over the last two decades, Mongolia has endured rapid transition from a centrally-planned, highly subsidized economy to a democracy with an increasingly free market. The attendant social upheaval has resulted in burgeoning urban centers and one-third of the population mired in poverty.
Landesa’s past projects include Mongolia National Land Reform Program Development. Read More
Nepal features both an expansive plateau of fertile land and some of the world’s highest and most inhospitable mountains. Thirty-one percent of the country’s population lives in poverty and 42% are unemployed. Land is a principal source of income and employment for a majority of households in Nepal. In rural Nepal, home to 90% of population, size and quality of farm land are determinants of poverty. Land is also a major determinant of both social status and political participation.
Current projects include Forest land tenure security in Nepal.Landesa provides technical assistance on land tenure security of forest land and forest resources. February 2004 to present. Read More
In 2007, Landesa worked to develop a land dispute resolution system for those in Gaza and the West Bank. Land tenure experts conducted research regarding land disputes, designed pilot processes for dispute resolution mechanisms. Landesa also analyzed how the women’s land rights could be protected and promoted. Recommendations were presented to the government. April 2007 – November 2007. Read More
Landesa and Roy Prosterman persuaded the Marcos government to reverse a measure that would have resulted in the widespread eviction of tenant farmers. Instead, 200,000 tenant families eventually received land, over the course of the 1970s and 1980s, under the revised program. Read More
Since 1990 Landesa has helped the countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU) dismantle collective farms, replace them with family farms, and give former collective farm workers secure and marketable land rights. Read More
Between April and June 1994, an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in just 100 days. Today, more than a decade after the genocide, Rwanda is healing. Yet, demographic changes and vast upheaval pose daunting challenges for Rwandans. Historically, land pressure has been a severe problem in Rwanda, where over 90% of the population practices agriculture and lives in rural areas. As those displaced during past conflicts and the genocide return to their homes, conflicting claims to the same land often arise. Women’s claims to land are frequently marginalized. Failure to access land can leave a family destitute.
A new land law is laying the foundation for improving the tenure security of rural communities. Several initiatives were launched in select rural communities to pilot land rights formalization and inform the government about how the process could be scaled up nationwide, a process that is currently underway. Read More
Landesa has partnered with USAID to help understand and ease tensions over land and natural resources along the border of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan through community resource management. Read More
Northern Uganda has been plagued by war for more than two decades. In 1987, a rebel movement known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) began a campaign of terror and violence. As a result, more than 120,000 people perished, 20,000 children were kidnapped and two million people were internally displaced. Although a peace agreement was signed between the Ugandan government and the LRA in 2008, the LRA continues to unleash terror in neighboring countries and pose an ongoing threat to Northern Uganda. Since the forging of the agreement, many IDPs and refugees are returning to their former homes. Read More
Blessed with highly fertile chernozem, or black soil, Ukraine was once the breadbasket of Europe. But the country is only now recovering from almost a century of mismanagement, having suffered through Stalin’s brutal collectivization process, the resulting famine, Nazi occupation, and decades of inefficient and unproductive collective farming.
Since 1990, Landesa has anticipated and seized opportunities to help countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU) break-up collective farms, give former collective farm workers secure and marketable land rights, and support family farming.
Landesa first conducted rural fieldwork in Ukraine in 1992, and since 2000 has been heavily involved in Ukrainian land reform. Read More
Many of the boundaries between the Central Asian countries of the Former Soviet Union have never been demarcated. In some areas of the region, neighbors in the same village may have different nationalities and different passports. They each follow their respective country’s laws, with each country claiming the territory as their own. Likewise, many countries in the region have disputed claims to pastureland and water, two critical resources in Central Asia.
Landesa’s past programs a Uzbekistan and Kyrgyz Republic agricultural factor market research workshop. Read More
The “land-to-the-tiller” reform carried out in South Vietnam between 1970-73—on which we worked— paid large landlords in the Mekong Delta in eight-year bonds worth 2.5 times gross crop value for land redistributed to 1 million tenant farmers. Although implemented too late to halt the war, this “land-to-the-tiller” program boosted rice production by 30% (even in the midst of war), and cut indigenous Vietcong recruitment within the South by 80 percent. This reform proved to be so successful that it became a major reason why, during the 1980s, the communist government of Vietnam abandoned collective farming and adopted the family-farm model of the South for the whole country. Read More
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