Issue

Land and Property Rights

Across the globe, rising demand for food, energy and natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals, has created enormous pressures on land— and access to it. Vast tracts of land are being snatched up by both public and private investors; most frequently in low-income and middle-income countries. The impact of these often secretive land deals on local communities is huge.

In frontier markets, where property rights are weak, unclear, or poorly governed, there is an increased likelihood of corruption, human rights abuses, conflict over resources, and environmental degradation. And it is often the most vulnerable groups, including minorities, indigenous people, the poor, and women, who bear the brunt of the problems created by poor land governance.

To investigate this growing crisis, Pulitzer Center-funded journalists are following stories that will increase transparency about land deals, expose weak land governance systems, and highlight the risks to stakeholders who invest in bad land deals. Their reporting illuminates fresh, new approaches to securing land rights that might promote, rather than erode, local development priorities.

The Pulitzer Center’s reporting on land rights issues is made possible through the support of the Omidyar Network's Property Rights Initiative, American Jewish World Service, the Kendeda Fund, and other Pulitzer Center donors.

 

 

 

 

Land and Property Rights

Africa's Continental Divide: Land Disputes

Reproduced with permission from The Christian Science Monitor.

The specialists know the warning signs. Analysts and scientists and field officers and academics spend years writing white papers, issuing reports and holding conferences, trying to provoke interest in issues that often seem arcane. Please, they have urged governments and the United Nations and activists, think about something that sounds boring – land disputes – before it turns into something that is not – war.

Liberia: Of Land, Family and Feuds

Jina Moore, for the Pulitzer Center (Photos by Glenna Gordon)

This is a slideshow photographer Glenna Gordon and I prepared for the Christian Science Monitor, which features my reporting and her photographs in this week's cover story, "The African Divide." The article focuses on how land has been at the root of many of Africa's most well-known conflicts -- and the promising steps some countries are taking to solve the land problem.

Rumble in the Jungle

For some of the farmers and ranchers, just getting to the meeting in the capital of the state of Petén, Guatemala, was an ordeal. Scores of them were irritable from having traveled days – first over muddy foot trails, then by pickup truck and minibus on rutted, unpaved roads – to attend a workshop with park rangers. The residents had journeyed in the hope of slowing the government's plan to crack down on illegal land grabs, which for more than a decade had chipped away at the vast but vulnerable Maya Forest – and which were the basis of the farmers' livelihood.