Introducing Land Governance 
to Practitioners in Agriculture and Rural Development

Reflections on the policy learning event held by the PPARD working group in Bishoftu, Ethiopia

Field trip to the SURED project sides in Admamo Watershed ⎟  Photo: Christoph Langenkamp

To attain the SDGs and realise the African Union Agenda 2063 a lot hinges on better land governance. The Study On the Rule and Recognition of Land Governance Projects in Africa that GIZ conducted earlier 2018 found that insecure land rights are a main obstacle to achieving sustainable outcomes in GIZ’s agriculture and rural development projects, and other relevant sectors.

The working group on Policy Processes in Agricultural and Rural Development therefore decided to contribute towards changing the underlying factors and identified mainstreaming of land policy issues as a critical activity, adding it to their annual work plan. 

The learning event of the working group in November was one activity to this effect. 22 people from six African countries convened to strengthen their understanding of land governance issues by having a close look at best practices and hands-on examples. In addition, participants identified opportunities to use practical tools and approaches to include land governance in their work environments. Specific subjects covered:

  • Regulated spatial planning
  • Recording of tenure rights
  • Addressing the needs of women and youth
  • Dealing with agricultural investments, disputes and conflicts management
  • The importance of land tenure in forestry development.

Improving land governance requires a holistic and participatory approach, across sectors, disciplines, professions and stakeholders.

“For sustainable agricultural and forestry development to really happen in Africa, land governance shouldn’t just be an afterthought, or an optional add-on ⎯ nice to have. People must realise that it is an essential and fundamental element of rural development!”

as one of the participants cogently pointed out.


The main outcome of the learning event is that in order to substantially improve land governance aspects within GIZ projects on agriculture, rural development and other relevant sectors the following issues are key to achievement:


  • Tenure security is more than a (freehold) land title
  • Spatial planning underpins integrated approaches and is key to manage different interests, disputes and conflicts
  • Focus on youth, opens opportunities
  • Transformative gender approaches in land governance accelerate development

Technology and innovative methods:

  • Fit for purpose for broad impact!

Skills of advisors in land governance issues:

  • Technically sound
  • Facilitation skills
  • Communication: focused and to the point