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

Amazon ‘Retakings’ Challenge Bolsonaro

Some indigenous communities are pushing back against the Bolsonaro government by carrying out occupations, known as “retomadas,” of traditional lands that they say the government has been too slow to recognize as rightfully theirs.

How Much Are You Overpaying in Property Tax?

When Palmer Square, LLC recently wanted to sell their apartment building, they went through all the usual hoops that most homeowners are familiar with. But selling the property outright would have cost $65,000 in conveyance fee taxes, and annual property tax would bump up an additional $309,000 dollars per year.

Powering a Conflict

While Tatmadaw and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldiers face off in a long-running conflict in Myanmar, a company owned by the KIA has been profiting from the sale of power to government-controlled townships.

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.

Papua New Guinea: Exxon Mobil's Gas Project

Is Exxon Mobil's natural gas project a heaven-sent opportunity to boost Papua New Guinea’s GDP, or a threat to the 60,000 people who can claim "customary ownership" of the land that will be affected?

Youth Narratives of the Greek Crisis

In a changing political and social environment Greek youth face the consequences of the debt crisis and at the same time re-examine their identity and values.

Panama: The New Conquistadors

A battle is being waged in the rainforests of Panama – between those who want to keep their way of life, and those who want economic growth. At stake: billions worth of precious metals.