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

Canaan: Haiti's Promised Land

Born out of an earthquake, can a new city of 300,000 people survive survive without a government? In Haiti, we follow an unprecedented experiment in land rights, urbanism and self-governance.

Hispaniola's Unsteady Land

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

Colombia: Palm Oil and Paramilitaries

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.

Thailand: Is Democracy Doomed?

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?

Democracy's Retreat in Europe

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.

Nepal: Water Rights on the Koshi River

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.

While Reporting "The Taking," Another Scandal

A local political power broker. A shady contract that poured taxpayer money into his pocket—and his family’s pockets. Our initial digging on the main project unearthed another important story.

Atlantic Conquest

A highway across indigenous territories is the first phase of a project that threatens one of the last primary forest reserves in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.  How is it that a Dutch businessman is about to achieve what Christopher Columbus could not?

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.