EU support to land governance for improving food security, poverty reduction and inclusive development

EU support to land governance for improving food security, poverty reduction and inclusive development

In Angola, despite land rights of the traditional rural communities being expressly recognized in the 2004 Land Law, very few communities have been able to register their land. Claims for land regularization from rural communities have been often treated with a mix of mistrust and discrimination: as a result, less than 0.1% of the territory is presently registered under a customary land title.

Marco Orani, Project Manager, World Vision Angola


"Land is fundamental to guarantee food security and employment for billions of rural people in the world. The majority of them, however, enjoy traditional land rights which are not recognised by the statutory law. This situation of informality increases people’s risk of losing their land and reduces opportunities for investments. Since the 1980s, many countries have been reforming their legislations thereby recognizing diverse types of land rights (including customary rights) in order to guarantee equal access to land for all and to contribute to a conducive environment for land investments."


  • The EU funds land governance actions in partner countries in order to create a better rural environment where all land users have secured rights to their land. Actions focus on: the recognition of the land rights of rural populations, especially of those most marginalised;
  • the improvement of the capacity of institutions and administrations to deal with the multiple activities required to “govern/administer land” (cadastre, resolution of land disputes, etc.)
  • the promotion of continuous policy dialogue between governments, other donors and civil society organisations (CSOs) in support of an inclusive and responsible governance of land and other natural resources.


  • AT COUNTRY LEVEL: support to around 40 governments for the reform of legislation and/or the improvement of land administrators’ skills for guiding the registration of local land rights;
  • for example, in Namibia, more than 100,000 land parcels owned by the local population have been fully registered. In Colombia, as part of the peace process, the EU sponsored formal registration of land for less marginalized populations, including 8,000 indigenous and Afro-Colombian families. In these two countries, 50% and 40% (respectively) of land titles issued with EU financial support are registered in the name of women.
  • support to a network of national and international CSOs implementing projects on various issues, such as the defence of people exposed to unlawful land expropriation, the protection of indigenous people's rights, the creation and/or development of national multi-stakeholders platforms for meaningful involvement of cities and interest groups in land policy dialogue, the process of registration of customary land rights, the mechanisms of land disputes resolution, access to justice, etc.
  • AT GLOBAL LEVEL: support to the activities of information sharing and good practices exchange, by funding the production and dissemination of hundreds of manuals, guides, and communication material. For example, 80 e-learning courses on responsible land governance have been funded, reaching more than 200,000 learners worldwide, with almost 80% of the learners based in Africa, Asia and Latin America;
  • support to the formulation and enforcement of regional and global guidelines on responsible land governance, particularly in the framework of the Committee of World Food Security (CFS), of the African Union and of G7/G8 initiatives. The EU especially contributed to the process of discussion and endorsement of the VGGT – Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Forestry and Fishery, and it is currently sponsoring their implementation in 18 countries.


  • Only 10% of rural people have formally registered property rights to land in developing countries.
  • In these countries, obtaining or holding a formal title over the land is a challenge both for men and for women.
  • Increasing access to land for women is fundamental as they guarantee 50% of global food production (up to 60-80% in developing countries) and they account for 40% of the global labour force.
  • Since 2012, 133 partner countries have engaged in the implementation of the VGGT.
  • Instruments to promote responsible investments in respect of local land rights are progressively used by companies and governments, especially the RAI – Responsible agricultural investments approved by the CFS in 2014.
  • The issues of land governance and secure access to land are explicitly incorporated in Sustainable Development Goal/SDG 1 - elimination of poverty, SDG 2 - food security and adequate nutrition, and SDG 5 - gender equality.
  • The EU is closely cooperating with other donors to promote the global debate and actions about responsible land governance particularly through the Global Donor Working Group on Land, created in 2013.


The ''Tuamako " association from Angola – Women learn how to register their rights and are engaged in order to prevent land conflicts among communities.

A testimony from an EU-funded project in Angola: "Strengthened capacity for improved governance of land tenure and natural resources by local government in partnership with Non State Actors in the Central Highlands".

"My name is Joana Jukila, I’m 58 years old, I’m a native from the village of Cassoco in the Commune of Cangote. I’m a mother of four children. I have lived in the community of Cacande since 1976, when I moved to the land that my husband received from his family.

Over the years, the population in the region has increased greatly and conflicts began to arise with the neighbouring community of Canhanga, which has been gradually occupying our lands. The conflict escalated, and things got worse when the land began to be very valuable and so many people became interested in buying it up. The conflict became really violent in 2013, when a discussion between people from the communities ended up in an open confrontation.

 The conflict that we were confronted with was avoided thanks to this project. The project staff helped us in the definition of the boundaries that delineate neighbouring communities, and in the administrative process to obtain the land recognition titles.

Together with other community leaders (Maria Silepo and Josefina Navangu), we learned about the Angola Land Law during the project meetings, and we understood that some traditional rule is not fair. We transmitted this information to the rest of the women in the community. We have a farmers’ association, named ''Tuamako '', which includes 27 women and some men, and now we talk often about our rights to land, discussing about what we learned in the informative meetings. The existence of the title of recognition will facilitate our association in the defence of community lands."