Special coverage: Land and poverty

by Stella Dawson | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 27 March 2014 15:00 GMT

An estimated 75 percent of the world’s poor live in rural areas where land is the primary source of their income, and yet most of these people have very little security over their land rights, making it harder for them to climb out of poverty.

International development agencies see land rights as a cornerstone of efforts to end extreme poverty in a world where over three billion people live on less than $2.50 a day, according to United Nations’ estimates. 

Land rights also come into sharp focus when foreign investors log forests that local people for centuries have relied upon for food and fuel, or when mining companies displace villagers from their traditional agricultural and pastoral lands. Violent conflicts frequently erupt over who owns land and who has rights to use it, especially when that land is unmapped and undocumented. 

Land experts, government officials and civil activists from all over the world are attending the World Bank Land and Poverty conference in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss these issues and share ideas on the best way to govern land and improve opportunities for countries to develop and their people to prosper.  

Following are stories from journalists who are covering the conference as part of a training programme, sponsored by the World Bank, USAID and Thomson Reuters:

Land title and land reform laws fall short in addressing poverty 

Insecure land tenure holds back post-conflict African societies, say experts

Foreign investors often blamed for Africa land grabs conducted by local ruling elites

Consumer backlash threatens investors who ignore land rights

Progress on women’s land ownership stymied by local laws that conflict with constitutional laws

INTERVIEW-Zambia is making progress toward a new land policy-Minister

INTERVIEW: Uganda Land Minister promotes women’s land rights with help from World Bank

BLOGS on land issues:

Can you save the animals without sacrificing the people?

Let's give women a bit more; they will give a lot more back

Show me the money: Do land rights really equal cash?

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