Office of Land Tenure and Resource Management

An Ethiopian couple proudly display their jointly issued land certificate, issued under a USAID project in conjunction with the
An Ethiopian couple proudly display their jointly issued land certificate, issued under a USAID project in conjunction with the Government of Ethiopia.
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USAID has been committed to and achieved results in land tenure and natural resource management for many years. The Agency has:

  • Assisted 30+ countries improve their land tenure systems since 2008
  • Catalyzed transformational approaches to sharing the benefits of improved natural resource management with local communities
  • Led the development of new internationally-adopted guidelines for resource governance; and
  • Developed innovative models for addressing resource conflicts in the extractives industry.

USAID Strategy and Program Focus

To meet the human and ecological needs of today’s world, competing demands for land and resources must be resolved. Land degradation and desertification due to deforestation, over-grazing, soil erosion, and unsustainable agricultural practices have accelerated. At the same time, new economic opportunities have been created for producers as global investment in land has sky-rocketed. As these changes occur, the importance of land tenure rules that define how rights to use, control, and transfer land and resources are allocated and new ways to practice sustainable land management become increasingly more important.

Worldwide USAID programs help to empower communities to manage resources while building the capacity of land administration officials and a range of other stakeholders in order to improve accountability, accessibility and the responsiveness of land and other resource governance systems. Although issues of land tenure and resources management are often overlooked, they are directly tied to issues of food security, economic growth, conflict, gender and climate change.

We are committed to integrating land tenure and resource management in all relevant USAID programs by:

  • Enhancing communities’ capacity to improve economic opportunities, manage natural resources and respond to disasters and climate change
  • Strengthening resource rights to reduce the likelihood of violent conflict, limit resource degradation, promote gender equity, and empower smallholders to prevent “land grabs;”
  • Promoting formal as well as informal, customary land governance systems for individuals and communities, which is particularly beneficial for vulnerable groups
  • Improving food security and agricultural productivity in sustainable ways.

Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment (E3)’s Role

Addressing land tenure and resource management issues are a foundation to achieving many development objectives. Strengthening the capacity of governing institutions to secure property rights and maximize resource productivity while maintaining and restoring natural assets is critical for implementing sound resource management. The Land Tenure and Resource Management (LTRM) Office provides technical leadership for the Agency, the U.S. Government and the international donor community in advancing sustainable land governance and resource management practices in order to achieve Foreign Assistance objectives.

Key elements of our approach include:

  • Building in-house technical capacity in scarce skill technical areas including land tenure, resource governance, and applying geospatial applications to development challenges through technical training, mentoring and recruitment;
  • Conducting research and analysis to identify emerging trends and best practice in land tenure and natural resource management, and communicate best practices to USAID and external audiences;
  • Supporting the U.S. Government’s Global Climate Change and Feed the Future Initiatives by focusing on the economic and governance drivers;
  • Promoting the integration of science and technology applications including geospatial analysis to improve the targeting of investments to improve efficiency and better monitor impacts; and
  • Reducing costs to leverage resources and influence the design of best practice programs, alongside partnering with the UN agencies, the World Bank, and many European aid agencies.

E3’s Partners

The LTRM Office closely collaborates within USAID’s Bureau for Food Security; Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance; Climate Change Office; Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment and our regional bureau partners to work towards integrated programming to achieve optimal impact for our beneficiaries.

Furthermore, the LTRM Office collaborates with a variety of private sector, international donor agencies, and NGO stakeholders including but not limited to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Bank Group, Kimberly Process Certification Scheme, and the European Union. 

For More Information 

Last updated: March 19, 2013

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