Land Portal | Securing Land Rights Through Open Data
15th Anniversary of the Land Portal
15 May 2024
Global

This year, the Land Portal marks 15 years in action. We began as a simple, yet ambitious, website in 2009 by aggregating fragmented land data for people searching for free, reliable information to support land rights protection for vulnerable people. 

8 April 2024
Authors: 
Ms. Laura Meggiolaro
Global

At 15 years, it’s fun to reflect on the Land Portal’s beginnings. Someone recently asked me if there was a time when I thought the Land Portal wouldn’t make it, and I could instantly recall those moments. There were times when I flew from Rome to Berlin or Rotterdam, including with my infant son to meet our first potential donor, only to hear that we weren’t successful. Or before, when the Land Portal was a small project under the joint oversight of the International Land Coalition and landtenure.info consortium. Despite the great initial support they provided in bringing the Land Portal to life, none of us was completely sure if it could fulfill its potential without becoming an independent, neutral organization with its own funding. There were more recent times too. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we fought to keep our operations going as uncertainty changed everything around us. 

9 April 2024
Authors: 
Prof. Leon Verstappen
Global

In the beginning

Back in 2009, when I joined a meeting of the International Land Coalition, the Land Portal was on the agenda, and they were looking for people to be part of the steering committee in order to give shape to the future of the Land Portal. One of my two focus areas in research is land and property in general. The other focal is family law, by the way. I was interested in doing something internationally, and I wanted to explore the possibilities regarding research related land on an international level. I joined the committee together with the representatives of other organizations. From that moment on, I got interested in the work of the Land Portal, I got to know how it functions, and past initiatives on land information and data.

 

      
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Countries

Agriculture Valley in Egypt Desert Oasis photo by Darla دارلا Hueske,Flickr,license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Egypt’s total land area is 995,450 km2 while most of the population lives on less than 5% of the land. Only 3.6% of the land is arable and the remaining 96.4% is dominated by a vast desert plateau. By 2030, Egypt’s growing population will reach nearly 120 million.1. With a growing population and increasing urbanization, the management of land resources has become increasingly complex. Egypt's land governance system is governed by a combination of formal laws, customary practices, and administrative regulations. However, challenges such as informal settlements, and bureaucratic procedures pose significant obstacles to effective land governance. The cultural background related to land tenure is mostly influenced by the Islamic laws2.

With a surface area of 56,790 km², Togo is one of the smallest countries on the African continent. Although land legislation is still influenced by the colonial legacy, one of the distinctive features of the Togolese system is the recognition of customary rights. Unlike other African cities, the inhabitants of the capital Lomé gained access to property very early on. Although Togo has one of the highest rates of agricultural expansion in West Africa, large-scale land acquisitions are a marginal phenomenon and plantation farming remains dominated by smallholders.
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Issues

Photo by UNICEF Ethiopia. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

One third of the world’s soils - including farmland, forests, rangelands, and urban land - are already degraded and it is estimated that this number could rise to almost 90% by 2050. Land Degradation occurs naturally, but research shows that land degradation is increasingly caused directly or indirectly by unsustainable human activities, notably deforestation, overgrazing, mining or intensive agriculture. This has driven biodiversity loss, desertification, and led to a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Land and SDGs

The SDG Land Tracker provides easy access to official data and information on all land-specific SDG indicators. It concisely explains the indicators, why they are important, and tracks progress.

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