Land: Changing Contexts, Changing Relationships, Changing Rights

September 2005
Elizabeth Daley and Mary Hobley (for DFID’s Urban-Rural Change Team)

An in-depth and far-reaching ‘think-piece’ commissioned by ‘but not necessarily reflecting the views of’ DFID. The focus is on Africa and South and South-East Asia, and on land registration and titling, and decentralisation of land administration systems. Draws attention to the effects of land policy for the poor, arguing that land rights are often instruments in local politics and power relations. Highlights local processes of differentiation and examines how relationships between land, livelihoods, and poverty are changing in the current context of rapid rural-urban change and ‘de-agrarianisation’. Asks what entry-points there are for pro-poor change in and through land policy and administration. Situates land policy historically and in the wider development context and sets out a way of approaching contemporary land issues from a pro-poor perspective. Offers practical recommendations to DFID’s continuing involvement with land policy formulation and implementation.