IFAD at the 2018 Land and Poverty Conference of the World Bank



By Harold Liversage, Giulia Barbanente, Elisa Mandelli

In March 2018 IFAD’s land tenure desk participated in the annual Land and Poverty Conference at the World Bank. This year’s theme was “Land Governance in an Interconnected World”. The conference is the premier global gathering of researchers, policy experts and development practitioners in the field of access to land and development. Since 2013 IFAD's Land Tenure Desk has encouraged IFAD supported projects and other partners to document their lessons learnt and good practices in promoting tenure security. So far about thirty papers have been produced and presented. This year, for the first time, three papers were presented directly the by the Tenure Desk. Below are summaries of each paper and links to learn more about each of them.

Mainstreaming support for good land governance into agricultural and rural development programmes: lessons from IFAD supported projects
The paper looked into the experiences of IFAD-supported projects in mainstreaming support for good land governance into agricultural and rural development programmes, based on a review of 240 IFAD-supported projects, which have been ongoing since 2010. By drawing on the experiences of the respective projects, the paper presented lessons learnt and further considerations to strengthen tenure security and access to land.

Ethiopia - Community Based Integrated Natural Resource Project - September, 2013   ©IFAD/Wairimu Mburathi

Firstly, IFAD has learnt that a modest investment in tenure security measures can substantially contribute to positive project outcomes. A suggested increase in investment does not necessarily translate to a higher level of investment per project, but rather to a greater support of projects. The study also highlighted how one of the key activities for the future must not necessarily be increasing the investment per project in tenure security measures, but making those measures more effective. The desk is striving to support projects in improving this impact. However, to do so better, instruments to monitor this impact must be in place. 

IFAD also proposes to continue strengthening the integration of tenure security measures into IFAD-supported projects during design and implementation, and to continue strengthening the engagement of our country teams and partners in policy dialogue and lesson-sharing by developing partnerships through our membership in the ILC and the Global Donor Working Group on Land, and collaboration with various partners. Finally, assessing impacts has been identified as a key issue in the land sector and is as relevant for most if not all other development partners. A grouping of a range of development partners collaborating under the auspices of the Global Land Indicators Initiative has been effective in developing an indicator for measuring tenure security into the SDG framework.  By strengthening impact assessments, IFAD could not only contribute to the process but also increase its profile in showcasing the support it provides on tenure security measures. 

Find out more: IFAD’s support for land and natural resource tenure security


Strengthening women’s land rights, lessons from IFAD supported projects in sub-Saharan Africa 
The presentation focused on current challenges and existing solutions to women’s access to land. In the context of a growing momentum for women’s land rights advocacy, three successful initiatives from IFAD supported projects were presented:

The first case concerned land use planning in the context of the Sustainable Rangeland Management Project in Tanzania: building on customary rights, the project supported the development of joint village land use planning, supporting the sharing of land across village boundaries. The process involved women as decision-makers, creating a platform for (re)negotiation and sensitization on women’s land rights.

A second initiative addresses barriers to women’s access to land at the household level. The intra-household negotiation approach is part of the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) and includes visual representations by household members of the family’s Vision Journey and the Gender Tree. This approach has been used among others the Community based Poverty Reduction Project in Sierra Leone, where it has fostered collaboration and transformational change.

The third case presented was that of the Vegetable Oil Development Project in Uganda, where a Public-Private-Producers Partnership has been established to link smallholder producers to a private company, with monitoring and support from the public sector. Representation of female smallholders within the producers’ association, as well as the productivity and economic empowerment that have followed the establishment of the partnership, has allowed women to access tenure security, combined with profitable agricultural production.

Find out more:
> Gender action learning system
> Household Methodologies

Fostering transparent and evidence-based reporting on large-scale land-based investments: the case of the Vegetable Oil Development Project in Uganda
The study conducted an extensive review of the reporting on a project supported by IFAD - the Vegetable Oil Development Project” (VODP) in Uganda – specifically the oil palm component, with the objective to shed light on the dynamics behind the circulation of information on large-scale land-based investments. The oil palm component of VODP was chosen based on the high amount of information that has been generated on its impact, and on the apparent irreconcilability of much of the information produced. The study investigates the sources and dissemination of information, by analyzing media, NGOs, international organizations and online platforms’ practices on information management and sharing.


The objective of the study was to foster a more balanced and evidence-based discussion on land rights reporting systems. The analysis of sources of information on the project is aimed at understanding how to better manage the dissemination and analysis of information on rural development projects touching upon sensitive issues, such as land access. The review of over 100 sources of reporting on VODP leads among others to some observations around the issue of source validation. Information produced through on-the-ground research is often repeatedly sourced by new studies referencing them. The use of second-hand information is all the more widespread as the cost of conducting independent impact evaluation, including of land tenure projects, is a costly and lengthy endeavor. Due to this, issues arise when it comes to validating the information reported by others. In this sense, the creation of channels for more constructive engagement would help moving the conversation forward in a way that can positively impact the development of a project.

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