Land reform and rights

Land reform is an essential component of efforts to reduce poverty and inequality. Yet redistributive land reform has been off the policy agenda for decades, despite the recognition of its importance.

IDS research has investigated the poverty reduction and livelihood impacts of land reform in southern Africa over a number of years. This work showed how, given the right institutional and policy conditions, land reform can make major contributions to sustainable livelihoods.

IDS research has tracked the livelihood impacts of the radical land reform that took place in Zimbabwe in 2000 through a longitudinal study. It shows how many people, especially smallholders, benefited, despite the negative media images often presented.

Fighting Over Land: Theory and Empirical Evidence from Colombia

The aim of this project is to develop a research agenda on the long-term effect of civil conflict on institutions, particularly on land tenure structure, in Colombia. More details

Future Agricultures Consortium

The DFID funded Future Agricultures Consortium is an Africa-based alliance of research organisations seeking to provide timely, high-quality and independent information and advice to improve agricultural policy and practice in Africa. More details

Livelihoods After Land Reform

This collaborative project, which involves IDS and is led by the Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) in South Africa, asks: to what extent is land redistribution in southern Africa achieving poverty reduction and livelihood improvement objectives? More details

Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability (STEPS) Centre

The STEPS Centre is an interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement hub, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It aims to develop a new approach to understanding, action and communication on sustainability and development. More details

View all Research Theme's publications

Use this search to display this theme's publications and filter by journal, author, country and much more.

cover of Understanding Policy Processes review

Understanding Policy Processes: A Review of IDS Research on the Environment

For over a decade, researchers in the IDS Environment Group have been engaging with a growing body of work on policy processes which encompasses among other things: the relationship between science, expertise and policy, political interests, public participation and network theory. More details

This is the cover of a Working Paper

Breathing Life into Dead Theories about Property Rights: de Soto and Land Relations in Rural Africa

IDS Working Paper 272 (2006)

Presumption of a direct causal link between formalisation of property rights and economic productivity is back on the international development agenda. Belief in such a direct causal relationship had been abandoned in the early 1990s, following four decades of land tenure reform experiments that failed to produce the anticipated efficiency results. More details

IDS publications on international development research

A 'Blue Revolution' for African Agriculture?

IDS Bulletin 36.2 (2005)

This article focuses on the water aspects of African agriculture, noting the Commission for Africa's emphasis on investments for irrigation infrastructure. A brief overview of the current situation in agriculture and the linkages with food security sets the scene for the exploration of solutions to the challenges of how to increase productivity. More details

IDS publications on international development research

The Rural Poor, the Private Sector and Markets: Changing Interactions in Southern Africa

SLSA Overview Paper (2003)

One of the central tenets of much current development thinking in southern Africa is that market-oriented strategies and private sector involvement must be the basis for future economic growth. More details

IDS Bulletin 34.3 Livelihoods in Crisis? New Perspectives on Governance and Rural Development in Southern Africa front cover

Livelihoods in Crisis? New Perspectives on Governance and Rural Development in Southern Africa

IDS Bulletin 34.3 (2003)

Southern Africa is in the midst of a major food crisis. Fourteen million people are reported to be at risk. Most commentators agree that since around 1990, livelihoods have collapsed in many areas, with an increasing number of people, particularly in rural areas, vulnerable. More details

IDS publications on international development research

HIV/AIDS, Food Security and Rural Livelihoods: Understanding and Responding

RENEWAL Working Paper no. 2 / IFPRI Discussion Paper no. 157 (2003)

This paper describes the kinds of understanding and response needed for agriculture, food, and nutrition-relevant organizations to effectively confront HIV/AIDS. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Transformation or Tinkering? New Forms of Engagement Between Communities and the Private Sector in Tourism and Forestry in Southern Africa

SLSA Research Paper 18 (2003)

In South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique there are a plethora of policy statements, approaches and initiatives that are seeking to commercialise tourism and forestry assets, while simultaneously incorporating some element of community involvement. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Community-Based Eco-Tourism on The Wild Coast, South Africa: The Case of the Amadiba Trail

SLSA Research Paper 7 (2003)

This paper investigates the origins and current operation of the Amadiba Horse and Hiking Trail, a community-based initiative located on South Africa’s Wild Coast. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Rural Development, Institutional Change and Livelihoods in the Eastern Cape, South Africa: A Case Study of Mdudwa Village

SLSA Research Paper 5 (2003)

Mdudwa village in the Eastern Cape is an example of a remote, rural village in a former homeland area. Such villages have been subject to a wide array of development interventions, political and administrative reforms since the free elections of 1994. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Land Reform and Sustainable Livelihoods in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province

SLSA Research Paper 9 (2003)

This paper examines the experiences of implementation of land reform policies in the Eastern Cape through a series of case studies. Attempts at redistribution, restitution and land tenure reform have thrown up a variety of models and approaches. More details