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Decentralization, pro-poor land policies, and democratic governance:


  • Meinzen-Dick, Ruth
  • Gregorio, Monica Di
  • Dohrn, Stephan


"Decentralized approaches to development are gaining increasing prominence. Land tenure reform policy has been affected by many different types of decentralization. However, the literature on land tenure reform rarely explicitly addressed the implications of decentralization, and vice versa. This paper provides a review of how the issues of decentralization are linked to land tenure reform, in theory and practice. Both decentralization and land tenure reform each encompass a number of different, but related concepts and approaches. We begin with clarifying some key terms related to these different approaches, then look in more detail at contending perspectives on decentralization, and how these relate to the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) pillars of democratic governance. We then review the different types of land tenure reform in terms of the role of centralized and decentralized institutions, illustrating the strengths and weaknesses, gaps and challenges with experience from a range of developing countries. The final section turns to conclusions and policy recommendations, considering how decentralized approaches to land tenure reform can contribute to goals such as gender equity, social cohesion, human rights, and the identity of indigenous peoples." authors' abstract

Suggested Citation

  • Meinzen-Dick, Ruth & Gregorio, Monica Di & Dohrn, Stephan, 2008. "Decentralization, pro-poor land policies, and democratic governance:," CAPRi working papers 80, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:worpps:80

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yoder, Robert, 1994. "Locally managed irrigation systems: essential tasks and implications for assistance, management transfer and turnover programs," IWMI Books, International Water Management Institute, number 114044.
    2. Booker, James F. & Taylor, R. Garth & Young, Robert A., 1998. "Optimal Temporal And Spatial Scheduling Of Arid-Region Water Supply Projects With Nonrenewable Groundwater Stocks," 1998 Annual meeting, August 2-5, Salt Lake City, UT 20790, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    3. Yoder, R., 1994. "Locally managed irrigation systems: essential tasks and implications for assistance, management transfer and turnover programs," IWMI Books, Reports H011888, International Water Management Institute.
    4. Khanal, B. & Santosh, K. C., 1997. "Analysis of Supreme Court cases and decisions related to water rights in Nepal," IWMI Books, Reports H020125, International Water Management Institute.
    5. Knox, Anna & Meinzen-Dick, Ruth Suseela & Hazell, P. B. R., 1998. "Property rights, collective action and technologies for natural resource management: a conceptual framework," CAPRi working papers 1, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    Cited by:

    1. Ratner, B. D., 2013. "Addressing conflict through collective action in natural resource management: a synthesis of experience," IWMI Working Papers H046235, International Water Management Institute.
    2. Vollan, Björn, 2012. "Pitfalls of Externally Initiated Collective Action: A Case Study from South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(4), pages 758-770.
    3. Shiferaw, B., 2008. "Community watershed management in semi-arid India: the state of collective action and its effects on natural resources and rural livelihoods," IWMI Working Papers H043862, International Water Management Institute.

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    Decentralization; Land; Tenure reform; Democratic governance; Rights; Registration; Redistribution; Restitution; Recognition; Devolution;

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