Earlier in the year Prindex – the first ever global measure of land and property rights – released its full 140-country dataset. The results are sobering. Almost 1 billion people around the world feel it is likely or very likely that they will lose their land or home within the next five years.
Land is an essential source of livelihood for a majority of Sierra Leoneans. Most of Sierra Leone’s population lives in rural areas and it’s GDP is largely based on agriculture. The three main livelihood activities surveyed in the 2015 population and housing census are crop farming, animal husbandry and fishery, which depend largely on access to and ownership of land. Smallholders mostly cultivate rice, cassava, cocoa, coffee, cashew, groundnut, palm oil, vegetables and other fruit trees.
Despite the achievement of Constitutional democracy in 1994, 'the land question' is at the heart of South Africa's struggles to overcome the cumulative legacies of nearly 350 years of white minority rule. The emotive quality of land policies evokes painful legacies fuelled by disappointments with the official land reform programme ushered in by the new Constitution of 1996. There is broad agreement that land reform programmes have not fulfilled their aims to significantly redistribute land and productive agrarian capacity, strengthen land tenure for the majority, and settle the restitution claims of victims of land dispossession.
UN member States endorsed the 2030 Agenda and committed to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a set of 17 Global Goals, in a 15-year period. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development contains land-related targets and indicators under SDGs 1, 2, 5, 11 and 15. Many land organizations and stakeholders are committed to fully implementing the SDGs and to monitoring the land-related indicators in order to promote responsible land governance. Land is a significant resource, both cross-cutting and critical to achieving the SDGs.
Conflict is a major cause and, in some cases, result of humanitarian crises. Conflict frequently overlaps with underlying social inequalities, poverty and high levels of vulnerability. Conflicts are direct threats to food security as they cause massive loss of life and therefore loss of workforce (which is particularly important, as agriculture tends to rely heavily on human labour), loss of vital livestock, and loss of land. Conflicts displace millions of people each year, often forcing them to flee with nothing and making them extremely reliant on the communities that offer them shelter and humanitarian aid. This can place unsustainable pressure on hosting communities that often face high levels of food insecurity and struggle to make ends meet.