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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Because efforts to secure land rights are cross-cutting and fundamental to development, and a binding constraint to achieving USAID’s mission of eliminating extreme poverty, E3’s Land Tenure and Resource Management (LTRM) Office works with a large number of partners (see section below). The Office also leads efforts to incorporate effective and sustainable land and resource governance solutions into U.S. government development strategies and U.S. private sector foreign investments that protect the livelihoods of the most vulnerable and support inclusive economic growth.

Key elements of our approach include:

  • Strengthening capacities and skills to understand and address complex topics, including: land tenure, resource governance, land use, and property rights with an increased focus on rights and access for women;
  • Reducing costs by leveraging resources through innovative partnerships and coordinating with the international community (governments, private sector, and civil society);
  • Creating knowledge through scientific research, geospatial analysis, and pilot projects to identify emerging trends and best practice in land tenure and natural resource management; and
  • Transferring knowledge to USAID and external audiences through strategic communications, knowledge management and training activities to build awareness and capacity.

USAID Strategy and Program Focus

Strengthening land rights is central to ending extreme poverty and promoting resilient societies in the developing world, where over 70% of land is unregistered. Lack of secure property rights is a major constraint to economic growth, food security, good governance, conflict reduction, and climate change resilience. USAID works to improve land and resource governance and strengthen property rights for all members of society, especially women.

Currently, USAID has land tenure programs in 23 countries, with a total investment value of over $215 million. This programming complies with global best practices that clarify the rights to use, control, transfer and allocate, land and resources while promoting sustainable land use practices.

We are committed to integrating land tenure and resource management aspects 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 dispossession 
  • Promoting formal, as well as informal, customary land governance systems for individuals and communities, which is particularly beneficial for vulnerable groups; and
  • Creating opportunities for investments in productivity to increase household income, nutrition, and food security.
  • Piloting, evaluating, and scaling innovative technologies that lower the barriers and costs to attaining effective land governance and administration systems. 


Land and the systems that govern land, resources, and property rights are central to many of our most pressing development issues: eliminating extreme poverty, reducing hunger and malnutrition, preventing conflict, empowering women, sustainably managing resources, and addressing a rapidly changing climate. USAID is committed to making land tenure and resource management systems more effective, accessible, and responsive in support of the USAID’s core development objectives. Results include:

  • Secured the land rights of 140,623 households since 2013 through formal documentation of rights;
  • Increased equality for women in over 35 countries since 2008 by improving land tenure systems;
  • Reduced land and resource disputes over extractives and agricultural investment;
  • Safeguarded the rights and livelihoods of indigenous and vulnerable peoples around the world by leading the development of international guidelines for resource governance and responsible investment;
  • Maximized impacts of food security and climate change programming in Feed the Future countries by creating information from geospatial analytic data on land and resources for policy decision-making; and
  • Executed eight rigorous impact evaluations on land and resource governance programming, to demonstrate outcomes and improve Agency program design and learning.  

E3’s Partners

The LTRM Office closely collaborates with USAID’s Bureau for Food Security; Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance; Office of Global Climate Change; Office of Forestry and Biodiversity; Office of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment; Agency’s Chief Economist; Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning; The Global Development Lab; regional bureaus; and numerous Missions to work towards integrated programming to achieve optimal impact for our beneficiaries.

Furthermore, USAID collaborates on land and resource governance programs and policies with a variety of private sector, international donor agencies, and NGO stakeholders including, but not limited to, the White House, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Millennium Challenge Corporation, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Bank Group, Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, and the European Union. USAID is also an active member of the Global Donor Working Group on Land, a 24-member body of bilateral and multilateral donors committed to collaborating on strengthening land tenure globally. USAID served as the Chair of this group from 2014-2015.

For More Information 

Last updated: September 13, 2016

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