Land Reform and Rural Territories: Experiences from Brazil and South Africa

February 2008
Julian Quan (IIED Gatekeeper series 134)

Despite programmes for rural land reform and redistribution around the world, inequitable land distribution and rural poverty remain profound in much of the rural South. Suggests a new approach to land reform and rural development. ‘Rural territorial development’ is based on and encourages shared territorial identity (distinctive productive, historical, cultural and environmental features) amongst different stakeholders and social groupings. Builds on the fact that rural people’s livelihood strategies are complex and often mostly non-agricultural in nature. Works by (1) promoting collaboration between different sectoral agencies, levels and administrative units of government, and with civil society and private sector actors, within distinctive geographical spaces; and (2) creating new, inclusive multi-stakeholder fora for participatory development planning and implementation at the meso scale – working across groupings of local municipalities, which are often too small on their own to drive economic development.