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Land Rights and the Millennium Development Goals: How the Legal Empowerment Approach Can Make a Difference – Paper N. 15

By: Hamid Rashid, International Development Law Organization

This paper explores the linkages between land rights and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), identifying how legal empowerment of the poor – understood as a process of systemic change and a bottom-up approach that seeks to strengthen the identity, voice, choice and participation the poor – can accelerate achievement of the MDGs. It argues that improving access to land and enhancing tenure security of the poor must define the fight against rural poverty, particularly given that close to half a billion people – almost half of the world’s poor – are landless or near-landless.

Three of the eight MDGs – reduction of poverty and hunger, gender equality and environmental sustainability – critically hinge on access to land and tenure security, which may also impact the achievement of two others – universal primary education and combating HIV and other diseases. As the deadline for reaching the MDGs is in 2015 and as many goals remain off-target, a participatory approach to land governance suggested here can play a significant role in accelerating and sustaining development achievements in the post-2015 development context.

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Uploaded on: Feb 25, 2013
Last Updated: Dec 09, 2015
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