Donor and NGO Involvement in Land Issues – some Further Reflections

September 2007
Robin Palmer (Mokoro)

Reflections based on personal experiences as an academic and as Oxfam’s former Global Land Adviser. Cites a number of institutions on how they conceive of the role of donors in land matters, including the recent DFID policy paper on land, which the author hopes will encourage country level DFID staff to engage. Looks at changing contexts of donor involvement in land issues, including World Bank approaches. Examines contrasting interpretations of the role of NGOs on land issues, stressing that context and history are critical. Contains detailed case study of law making, campaigning, awareness raising and defending a progressive law in Mozambique as an example of some of the complexities of donor and NGO involvement, the importance of individuals, the need for greater donor cooperation and for adopting a long-term approach. Concludes that people who work in the land sector need to be encouraged to exploit the spaces available to them, push out the boundaries of where they find themselves, and make a difference.

Conference on Legalization of Land Tenure and Development, University of Leiden