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

January 13, 2015

Canaan: Haiti's Promised Land

Allison Shelley, Jacob Kushner, Mark Fahey

In post-earthquake Haiti, a new city is rising in what was once an empty landscape. Biblically named Canaan, it will soon be Haiti’s third-largest urban center.

December 04, 2014

Hispaniola's Unsteady Land

Jacob Kushner, Allison Shelley

On the island of Hispaniola, conflict over land is putting people’s future on unsteady ground.

November 17, 2014

Colombia: Palm Oil and Paramilitaries

Gabe Silverman, Nick Miroff

Colombia’s fast growing palm oil industry has been a boon to its economy. But behind it is a fight for land as farmers backed by paramilitaries push into indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities.

July 23, 2014

Thailand: Is Democracy Doomed?

Richard Bernstein

Thailand is the land of smiles, free elections, and military coups. Why have its efforts at electoral democracy always failed, and can they ever succeed?

July 08, 2014

Democracy's Retreat in Europe

Yigal Schleifer

The Cold War's end promised to bring democracy to many countries that had little previous experience with it. But the rise of a new brand of authoritarian and populist politics threatens that promise.

October 01, 2013

Nepal: Water Rights on the Koshi River

Steve Matzker, Jennifer Gonzalez

While Nepal’s hydropower potential is great, economic, health and environmental impacts from dams are emerging. Steve Matzker and Jennifer Gonzalez explore water rights issues in the region.

Finding Border Landowners Was Harder Than Expected

Starting with hundreds of cases, we reached out to dozens of property owners who lost land for the border fence. Some had died, some deflected questions to lawyers, and many just didn’t want to talk to us.

A Few Things to Know About Why Treaties Matter

The U.S. has ratified more than 370 treaties with American Indian nations. Yet many Americans know little about the treaties that shaped, and continue to impact, the country today.

Meet the Journalist: Chris Arsenault

What happens when investors look for land deals in Africa? Journalist Chris Arsenault looks at what is happening to the Libyan government's 100,00 hectare land grab in Mali.