As the World Bank’s Annual Conference on Land and Poverty convened this week, the World Bank Group released a statement recognizing the importance of secure land rights for a variety of development objectives and reiterating the World Bank’s commitment to improving land governance and promote environmentally and socially sustainable agriculture investments. According Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, “securing access to land is critical for millions of poor people. Modern, efficient, and transparent policies on land rights are vital to reducing poverty and promoting growth, agriculture production, better nutrition, and sustainable development.”
With 53 active programs in 32 countries, representing a commitment of over $800 million, USAID and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) are also working to strengthen land and resource rights in order to foster economic growth, enhance food security, empower women, improve natural resource management, and reduce conflict. To learn more about USAID and MCC’s land tenure and property rights programs, see our newly-released primer.
In its statement, the World Bank also reiterated its support for the Voluntary Guidelines (VGs) on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security calling them “a major international instrument to inform specific policy reforms, including our own procedures and guidance to clients.” As we have noted previously, USAID welcomes the rising global support to implement the VGs. According to Dr. Gregory Myers, USAID Division Chief, Land Tenure and Property Rights, “the VGs are one of the most important tools developed by stakeholders to strengthen land governance systems. The USG remains committed to supporting implementation.”