Land and natural resources are discrete, ﬁnite, and fundamentally important assets. In developing countries, they constitute a substantial part of personal and national wealth. A country’s approach to land and resource governance (LRG) contributes signiﬁcantly to its broader socioeconomic development. LRG is increasingly recog-nized as a foundational component of many key environment and sustainable development strategies, and effective LRG strategies at all scales can contribute to achieving positive human well-being and environmental outcomes.
Strengthened LRG is a catalyst for sustainable economic growth. If well governed, land and natural resources are also fundamental for achieving many other development objectives, from conserving biodiversity and mitigating the impacts of climate change, to empow-ering women and bolstering civil society. Secure LRG can also provide a basis for property tax systems that support public sector service provision. If poorly managed, they can exacerbate environmental degradation and increase inequality, corruption, and conﬂict.
This reference sheet is part of a series of materials aimed at USAID Missions and other Operating Units interested in integrating LRG into their programming. Each reference sheet in this series brieﬂy outlines existing evidence on the links between LRG and an adjacent development topic—in this case, democracy and conﬂict—and provides practical guidance for integrating LRG considerations across the Program Cycle.