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Land

"Community consent over land use is a critical concept for harmony."

Land and resource tenure systems define and regulate how people own and manage land and natural resources. Land systems are critical on various scales for many types of livelihood, such as farming, mining, forestry activities, agriculture and livestock raising.

They are also critical for watershed management, biodiversity conservation and corridors for movement, as well as sustainable resource use such as forestry. Land use planning seeks to balance many land usage requirements and criteria.

The intention of land tenure systems is to guarantee land rights and provide certainty for the recognition of those rights and protection through legal remedy. In many instances this is covered under national law. But in many other cases customary law is the framework that provides rights, rules and tenure responsibilities. Where disputes arise the justice system should provide protection of rights and legal redress and remedies when rights are challenged or abused.

Whether stakeholders are smallholders, agri-business ventures or other investment uses, land tenure is important for them. Security of tenure is important for all, including investors who have legitimately purchased land and need security before further investment in land improvements. Community consent over land use is a critical concept for harmony and in many instances governed by the principles of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). The responsible governance of land tenure rights, with community consent, can also encourage responsible investment.

In situations where land tenure systems have been unclear, and rule of law has not provided security, land reform is critical and urgent. Situations such as rezoning of land to protected areas or other uses, addressing past land misappropriation issues, lack of coverage of upland and long rotation agriculture, vagueness in the classification systems and "land grabbing" cases are all examples of some of the many issues needing serious attention.

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