|Photo: World Bank|
From 8-11 April 2013, the World Bank Group held its annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty in Washington, DC. The theme for this year’s conference was “Moving towards transparent land governance: Evidence-based next steps” and stressed the importance of land governance and its relationship to agriculture productivity and food security. The conference aimed to share good practices and advance reforms in six thematic areas:
- Securing land rights and improving land use at the grassroots;
- Adjusting laws and institutions to address urban expansion and governance;
- Innovative approaches towards spatially enabling land administration and management;
- Supporting a continuum of rights in a decentralized environment;
- Mobilizing the private sector to improve land governances; and
- Sharing benefits from exploitation.
The World Bank also endorsed the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests and highlighted that the International Finance Corporation has been working to improve land transfers from governments to the private sector and conducting early-risk assessment procedures to evaluate the impact of investments in large land areas on food security. It has also launched a consultative process with all stakeholders to review and update environmental and social safeguards policies, which will be informed by the Voluntary guidance. The World Bank also noted that it is scaling up efforts to improve land governance through increased transparency, accountability, and participation in decision making; protect the rights of land owners and realize benefits for smallholder farms; promote policies that recognize all forms of land tenure and help women achieve equal treatment in obtaining land rights; and promote environmentally and socially sustainable agriculture investments. See here for the World Bank Press Release.