Key Issues for Land Policies

(i) Issues Concerning the Nature of Land Rights

• How should unregistered, customary landholding and common rights be dealt with in the law, and how much emphasis should be placed on converting informal land rights to formal rights?

• What is the most appropriate form or mix of land use rights among communal, cooperative and individual forms?

• How can the rights of women to land be promoted, especially given their major role in agriculture?

• What is the proper role of the State as an owner or steward of agricultural lands?

• How should major transitions in land tenure regimes be designed and guided: transitions out of collectivized forms of landholding in Eastern Europe and parts of Latin America, transitions away from concentrations of land in a few hands in some countries of Latin America, Africa and Asia, and transitions out of informal tenure systems into more formalized systems in Africa and elsewhere?

(ii) Issues Concerning Land Markets and Their Regulation

• What is the role of land markets and should there be restrictions on the transfer of land? This question applies to land rental and leasing as well as land sales.

• Is there a role for agrarian reform, and are there alternatives to it?

16. Liz Alden Wily, 'Land Tenure Reform and the Balance of Power in Eastern and Southern Africa', ODI Natural Resource Perspectives, No. 58, June 2000, in particular, p. 2.

• How can improved access to land for the poor be promoted; and how can financing for access to land be made more widely available?

• How can all rights to land be brought into a simple, efficient and accessible system of documentation and evidence, and how can subversion of such systems for personal interests be minimized?

• At what level in society and with what degree of autonomy from the Executive should property regulations be regulated and administered?

(iii) Issues Concerning Environmental Sustainability

• In light of the increasing scarcity of arable land in all continents, what policy measures can be designed to foster intensification of the use of existing cultivable lands?

• How can land tenure regimes influence the maintenance of forest cover and soils in the face of growing pressure on the land?

Most of these issues, and others, are taken up in the remainder of the chapter. To set the stage, a highly compressed review of pertinent historical background is provided.

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