Land at Scale Uganda

Background

Insecure tenure security hinders all kinds of development and condemns the poor and vulnerable people including women, the elderly, youth, the poor, displaced peoples, indigenous communities, slum-dwellers, and ethnic minorities to the margins of society and economies, fuels conflicts, drives unsustainable land-use patterns and destroys the livelihoods of those in most need. Weak land governance enables continued inequality and corrupt governance. The Covid-19 pandemic and related restrictions in the past two years has worsened the land tenure insecurity problem in many countries. Strengthening land and property rights is therefore important because it leads directly to wider equality and more sustainable development, from a global to local scale, across different identity groups
In Uganda, land is widely recognized as a pivotal element of Uganda’s economic and social transformation, as evidenced by the government’s ambition to improve tenure security, and systematically title all land by 2040. Approximately 70% of Uganda’s working population is employed in the agricultural sector and ranks first in terms of labour force in the Ugandan economy. In 2021, agriculture accounted for about 23.7% of GDP, and 31% of export earnings. Hence, agriculture has a strategic importance to poverty reduction most especially in rural areas where most of the population is employed in the agricultural sector. Further, poverty reduction and other related aspirations such as achieving food security, gender equality, mitigation against the effects of a changing climate, etc. cannot be achieved unless issues of access to land, security of tenure and the capacity to use land productively and in a sustainable manner are addressed. Any attempt to alleviate poverty must be centered on a reinforcement of land rights and opportunities arising from land and agriculture.
Customary land tenure is the most dominant land tenure in Uganda accounting for over 80% of the land. Such land therefore is administered according to customary rules and practices of that geographical or culturally defined area. Most of the communities and families who access land through this tenure do not have any formal documentation because this land is not officially registered. As such, land users on customary land fear dispossession of their land due to increasing land scarcity caused by the high population growth, environmental degradation, changing climate conditions, and violent conflicts, among other factors. Women are particularly vulnerable because their land and natural resource rights are typically obtained through kinship relationships with men or through marriage. In all customary tenure regimes in Uganda, women’s land rights are secondary to and weaker than those of men.
Moreover, a significant part of the population in Uganda relies on livelihoods derived from wetlands to survive. The wetlands in Uganda are presently under increasing threat due to encroachment. There is an urgent need to integrate land tenure security efforts and land use planning, to underpin the sustainable use of land whilst preserving natural resources.
GLTN, as facilitated by UN-Habitat is addressing these issues through the “Scaling up Community-based Land Registration and Land use Planning on Customary Land in Uganda”. The Project builds on a successful pilot project; “Securing Land Tenure for Improved Food Security in Select Areas in Uganda” which was implemented in three (3) agro production zones in Uganda i.e. South Western region, Elgon region and Kyoga Plains, with a strong focus on strategic partnerships at national and local levels, prioritizing the improvement of tenure security for rural smallholder farmers and implementing capacity development initiatives from November 2017 to March 2020.

Project Goal: Development of a structured, participatory, and scalable approach towards improved tenure security and sustainable land use for men, women, and youth on customary land in Uganda, which is obtained using fit-for-purpose and participatory tools and approaches

Objectives:

  • Improved tenure security for women, men, and youth
  • Inclusive, climate-smart, and sustainable land use planning
  • Improved capacity and awareness of key land stakeholders on customary land registration and land use planning

Implementing Partners:
Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD);
Uganda Community Based Association for Women and Children’s Welfare (UCOBAC);
Makerere University-School of Built Environment (MAK-SBE); and,
International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR).

In close collaboration with:
Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS);
ACTogether Uganda;
International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC);
Local governments in the four zones; and,
The Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Uganda.

Funding Partners:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) through the LAND-at-Scale Programme of the Netherlands Government.

Project Resources