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In many countries, land rights and land governance systems are weak. Rights and claims to land are often undocumented and overlapping. Demand for land is rising, fueling competition, conflict, and increasing barriers to access for some groups.  Evidence suggests that UNDERSTANDINGCLARIFYING, and ENFORCING LAND RIGHTS can have a powerful impact on all members of society, especially women.

Secure land and property rights create incentives for investment and trade and contribute to job growth and global prosperity. Secure rights also create incentives for good stewardship of land and natural resources, which improves food security, agricultural productivity, and limits the degradation and misuse of valuable resources. Insecure property rights and weak land governance systems often provoke conflict and instability, which can trap communities, countries, and entire regions in a cycle of poverty.

Governments, the private sector, donor agencies, and civil society are increasingly recognizing the critical importance of these issues and engaging in global coordination to improve land and resource governance systems. Increased media coverage of land issues, the G7 and G20’s focus on land and property rights, the adoption of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT), Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (RAI), and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and many more agreements and agendas that recognize the importance of land tenure and resource governance, all highlight a clear message: Land rights are a central and vitally important global development issue.

With active programs in 23 countries, representing a commitment of over $215 million, the United States Government is addressing these issues through programs that improve land governance systems and strengthen land tenure and resource rights for many of world’s poorest people. Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and the Feed the Future Initiative, the U.S. is taking a whole-of-government approach to addressing land tenure and property rights in support of key strategic objectives.