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Why Land Rights Matter

Land rights are the foundation of stability and prosperity. Communities and countries seeking economic growth and sustainable development must document land rights and ensure land rights are secure for women, men, and communities.

Unfortunately, in the developing world properly documented and secure rights to land are more the exception than the rule.

In fact, an estimated 70 percent of the property in emerging economies is undocumented. An estimated 25 percent of the world’s urban population live in homes to which they have no legal right. And a majority of smallholder farmers around the world farm without the protection of having legal rights to their land documented by government records.


Increased Productivity | Nicaragua

After land titling, productivity increased by more than 50%.


The undocumented rights to land in each of these settings, both urban and rural, is a significant barrier to development. Combined, they seed conflict, insecurity, and corrode confidence in government institutions.
When government land records don’t reflect the reality on the ground, individuals and communities are vulnerable to displacement and have diminished opportunities.

In the past, donors have tried to address this problem by supporting the development of highly sophisticated and expensive digital land registries. These databases, which can be challenging to use and upkeep, have often quickly become out of date because governments often lack the resources to maintain them.

Cadasta’s platform is different. Cadasta uses open source and easy to use tools to address this same problem sustainably. Cadasta’s suite of digital tools allow those left out of formal land tenure systems, or who live in areas without a functioning formal land tenure system, to efficiently and inexpensively build an evidence base and advocacy case of their land and resource rights.

This can be done with or without government partnership.

Learn more about the connection between land rights and the most significant challenges of our time, from nutrition to climate change, from inclusive economic development to gender equality in the infographic below.


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