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Bolstering land rights strengthens development


For most of the world’s poor and vulnerablepeople, secure property rights, including land tenure, are a rarely accessibleluxury. Unless this changes, the UN Sustainable Development Goals will be impossibleto achieve.


Land tenure determines who can use land,for how long, and under what conditions. Tenure may be based both on officiallaws and policies, and on informal customs.


In Romania, for example, many Roma haveless secure farmland tenure than their non-Roma neighbors. Likewise, inSoutheast Asia, hill tribes rarely have legal rights to their indigenousholdings, which are often located in state forests.


In Zimbabwe, a customary divorce settlementmay result in allocating all family lands and property (and even children) tothe husband, with the wife left to return to her father or another malerelative.


In Sarajevo, thousands of apartments havebeen deemed illegal due to outdated urban plans and missing building permits,locking families’ most valuable assets outside the mainstream economy.


By stifling economic growth, inadequateland-tenure systems perpetuate poverty and marginalization. But the opposite isalso true: Strong, properly enforced land rights can boost growth, reducepoverty, strengthen human capital, promote economic fairness (including genderequity), and support social progress more broadly.


Climate resilience


Moreover, secure land rights are essentialto reduce disaster risk and build climate resilience, which is an urgentimperative at a time when climate change is already fueling more—and morefrequent—extreme weather.


When disasters displace people and destroytheir homes, properly maintained land records provide the baseline forcompensation and reconstruction of shelters, and help affected communitiesrebuild better.


Reflecting the importance of secure landownership to the SDGs’ success, the World Bank Group is now working withdeveloping countries to improve their land-tenure systems and expand thecoverage of legally recognized and registered rights.


Already, World Bank Group efforts haveenabled one million hectares of indigenous land in Nicaragua—over 30 percent ofthe country’s territory—to be demarcated, titled, and registered, a processthat has benefited some of the country’s most vulnerable groups.


Land is at the heart of development. Secureland tenure is thus vital to building the inclusive, resilient, and sustainablecommunities that will propel economic and social progress well into the future.


Mahmoud Mohieldin is World Bank GroupSenior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relationsand Partnerships. Anna Wellenstein is Director of Strategy and Operations forthe World Bank Group’s Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilience (SURR) GlobalPractice. Shanghai Daily condensed the article.

Mahmoud Mohieldin是世界银行集团负责2030年发展议程,联合国关系和伙伴关系的高级副行长。Anna Wellenstein是世界银行集团社会、城市、农村和恢复能力(SURR)全球实践的战略和运营总监。上海日报浓缩了这篇文章。