Context of Secure Tenure and Access to Land


Secure tenure and access to land play a central role in the livelihoods of most of the world's 500 Mio smallholder farmers. It is fundamental in addressing global challenges like food insecurity, rural poverty, climate change, social and gender inequalities as well as peace building.

Today, conventional land administration systems in most developing countries are leaving up to 70% of citizens with informal or customary tenure arrangements. It is estimated that less than 20% of customary or community-based tenure systems are formally recognized. In certain countries, land acquisitions represent more than 15% of total agricultural land.

The Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure set regional and international standards for securing tenure rights and equitable access to land. Tenure and access to land is featured prominently in SDG targets 1.4 and 5.A.

SDC's Approach

The Dispatch on Switzerland's International Cooperation 2017-2020 considers access to land and secure tenure an essential condition for achieving SDG 2 and for reaching the SDC objective on sustainable improvement of agricultural production.

Aligned to the above reference frameworks, SDC works on land governance in three ways:

  • At country level through projects that directly support improvements of land tenure regulations and administration systems.

  • At country and regional level as part of projects addressing agricultural, forestry, water or environmental challenges.

  • At global level by supporting the promotion and implementation of regional or international standards through multilateral organizations or international networks.