Land and Resource Governance Overview

Strengthening land and resource governance and property rights is central to achieving and protecting broad development outcomes. Clear, secure, equitable and inclusive land rights and sound resource governance systems play an important role in addressing the climate crisis and create incentives that can enhance food security, economic growth, women’s equality and empowerment, protections for Indigenous Peoples and local communities and natural resource management.

However, a large proportion of people around the world lack secure rights over and access to the land and property on which they live. Women, youth, Indigenous Peoples and marginalized populations are especially vulnerable. They own and control less land which, in turn, limits their voice in decision-making at all levels. In many countries, rights and claims to land and natural resources are undocumented, overlapping, or unclear, which can fuel uncertainty, competition and conflict. As climate change, population growth, and other forces put pressure on increasingly scarce land and natural resources, it is especially important to support inclusive, effective land and resource governance, and bolster efforts to clarify and strengthen rights to this important asset for people around the world.

At USAID, we envision a world where women, youth, Indigenous Peoples, marginalized populations and groups living in vulnerable situations have equitable access to land and resource rights that uphold and sustain human dignity, enable sustainable economic growth and economic empowerment, strengthen food security, reduce conflict and promote peaceful and sound land use and resource governance.

Further Reading