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Resources for land and tenure security

COVID-19 Responses Collection

Article image

Nosizo Sebake

08 August 2020

Mark Napier


uKESA Librarian

Information page

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

South Africa

This page forms part of the COVID-19 Responses Collection.


Here we present publications and guidelines related to land and tenure security.


Publications, articles and blog posts

  • Beyond elite capture: Promoting livelihoods and jobs in South Africa’s land reform - In this webinar, hosted by PLAAS, Dr Farai Mtero (PLAAS) and Professor Ben Cousins (PLAAS and the University of the Western Cape) discuss the issue of land reform in the context of Covid-19. In their discussion, they consider alternative land use and farming options as a means of improving rural livelihoods and creating a significant increase in jobs in the agricultural sector.

  • The FAO land and water response to COVID-19 - In this post, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations presents key actions to support a comprehensive integrated approach to ensure sustainability and sustainable management of natural resources. These actions are:

    • the improvement of water quality and access through multiple-use systems (MUS)
    • then strengthening of national policies and actions plans on health, water and food security, and
    • the creation of healthier ecosystems by ensuring the effective use of resources and expertise
  • How COVID-19 puts women’s housing, land, and property rights at risk - In this blog post, Stanley and Prettitore (2020), discuss the impact Covid-19 has had on the housing, land, and property (HLP) of women and girls, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. They consider how previous epidemics, and post-conflict or post-disaster situations, have shown that, where HLP rights were not protected, women were likely to be further disenfranchised.

    "Experience from post-disaster land activities in Aceh, Indonesia, and from post-conflict land restitution programs in Colombia have shown that with willingness and a focus on women’s particular barriers, we can make a difference."

  • Lockdown challenges for land reform beneficiaries – Gumede (2020), in this web article, reflects on how the lockdown in South Africa has affected smallholder farmers and land reform beneficiaries.

    “The challenge we face is that people are not at work. They are at home because of the lockdown. Children are not at school. There is no food at home. The food parcels have not been delivered to the people. People are stealing livestock to feed themselves. Sheep are stolen... You just find the head, feet and the wool (animal skin)... The body is gone"

  • Land, rurality and data systems during Covid-19: Co-ordinating a continental response - In this article Mogale (2020) reports on the Alliance for Rural Democracy's (ARD) second webinar titled: Towards a Strategic Response: Applying a Rural Lens to Integrated Geo-Spatial Information during COVID-19. This features a discussion between Siyabu Manona, Nancy Kachingwe and Esther Obaikol, who in their "discussion highlighted what was needed to continue to build a strong rural movement that was founded on the principles of undermining and, ultimately, eradicating the othering of our communities which are languishing on the periphery of society".

  • PLAAS hosts workshop on women’s land tenure security in Southern Africa - PLAAS recently hosted an online workshop for it latest project titled “Privatisation of customary land and implications for women’s land tenure security and livelihoods in Southern Africa”. This new project intends to ensure that women’s land rights are promoted through rigorous research that will inform dynamic policy reforms.

    "The envisaged outcome is that rural women, policy makers and civil society organizations across the four countries are supported with the capacity, evidence and platforms needed to promote policy formulation and implementation based on local practices and livelihoods realities as opposed to normative perceptions of what the tenure system is. In this regard, there are three expected outputs: (i) research and communication tools that are not gender blind, (ii) a rigorous evidence base, and (iii) policy positions that integrate different needs and voices of rural women."

  • Role of land in COVID-19 response - This web article introduces the UNCCD secretariat's report “Supporting the Global Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: Land-based Solutions for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet” that explains how the convention can support its Parties in the development of their response and recovery plans. The report "provides the context and cases that demonstrate how land can move from being part of the problem to being central to the solution. Actions based on the clear understanding of rights, rewards and responsibilities of land management can help address the COVID-19 fallout by tackling one of the primary environmental drivers of emerging infectious disease outbreaks. At the same time, strengthening the resilience of our food and water systems can help reduce the effects of the pandemic on global poverty and food insecurity.

  • Stopping land and policy grabs in the shadow of COVID-19 - In this article, Cotula (2020) cautions that, according to numerous reports on land governance, "the COVID-19 fallout is providing opportunities for elites to seize lands and rewrite regulations". He adds that "some governments appear to be using the reduced public scrutiny to fast-track legislative reforms – establishing ‘policy grabs’ that can reshape regulation for years to come." He suggests that "in the longer term, securing land rights is key to post-COVID economic recovery"…and that "we need effective responses now to protect land rights and lay the foundations for a just recovery after the pandemic."

Decision Support Tools

  • Land Governance and the COVID-19 Pandemic - This online hub provides information on the impact of the pandemic on land governance. This includes an overview of recently released articles, blogs and other resources. There is also a Quick-scan Online Survey that users can complete to help create an inventory of the first observations and concerns present with the land governance community.

Photo Credit: Urban LandMark


Website References





Food security


Land governance

Land reform


Natural environment

South Africa

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