Land Governance for Development

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Welcome to the LANDac Annual International Summer School. Large-scale acquisition of land in the Global South has received a great deal of interest in the last few years. Especially following the food crisis (2003-2008), and stimulated by the growing demand for biofuels, pressure on land continues to increase. This course provides a multidisciplinary analysis of the ‘land rush’ within the more general context of land governance in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We will look at the history and drivers, the diversity of stakeholders and networks involved, the urgency of current challenges and innovative governance solutions.

The large-scale acquisition of land in the Global South – often referred to as “land grabbing” or “the global land rush” – has received much attention from academics, policy-makers and the media in recent years. Especially following the food crisis (2003-2008) and stimulated by the growing demand for bio-energy, pressure on land in developing countries has intensified. Besides the demand for agricultural land, current land acquisitions are also related to tourism development, mineral extraction, industrial development, urbanization and even nature conservation. Local populations are often left defenseless in this ‘rush for land’ and governments lack capacity to address these challenges – or are sometimes themselves the drivers. As a result, access to and use of land and other natural resources, particularly in the developing world, is being transformed irreversibly.

Land governance in developing countries must deal with the multiple pressures and competing claims, whilst balancing economic growth, environmental protection and social justice. This course provides a multidisciplinary analysis of the ‘land rush’ within the more general context of land governance in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We will look at the history and drivers of the process; the diversity of stakeholders and networks involved; and the global policy instruments of which inclusive land governance is an integral feature, such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda; as well as highlighting the urgency of current challenges and discussing innovative governance solutions.

The course is organized by the Netherlands Academy for Land Governance (LANDac), a network of organizations interested in how land governance may contribute to sustainable and inclusive development. MSc students, PhD students and professionals from development organizations and related projects will acquire up-to-date knowledge on new land pressures and learn how to place these in broader theoretical contexts and policy debates from the local to the international level. Topics are discussed in interactive lectures, workshops and group assignments. The design of the course allows for participants to closely work together with professionals, experts and fellow students from a variety of backgrounds. Topics are discussed from a range of perspectives, with contributions from Dutch and international academics as well as development practitioners, representatives of farmers’ organizations and government policy advisors. 

The lectures in the two-week course provide a general overview of important themes such as the global land rush, land governance, land administration and land issues in post-conflict situations. This overview is complemented by a mix of case studies that illustrate issues and trends in specific contexts. Cases highlighted in previous LANDac summer schools include (trans)national land investments in Indonesia and the Philippines; government-led land acquisition and resettlement policies in India; real estate development for residential tourism in Costa Rica; land governance solutions in countries with weak institutions such as Burkina Faso; land administration and social justice in Brazil; challenges for participatory land governance in Mozambique; and coping with urban pressures on agricultural land in Vietnam.

Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)

Course director

Chantal Wieckardt, MSc

Target audience

The course is designed for Master’s students, PhD students, academics; as well as for practitioners from development organizations, projects and governments who are interested in or work in the fields of land governance, development studies, natural resource management, planning, human rights and conflict studies.

Course aim

The course provides participants with thorough knowledge of current problems as well as academic and policy debates related to land and development. Participants also build understanding of practical knowledge and possible solutions. The guiding objective is how best to optimize the link between land governance, inclusive sustainable development and poverty alleviation.


Course fee:
Course + course materials
Housing fee:

Housing through: Utrecht Summer School.


There are no scholarships available for this course


For this course you are required to upload the following documents when applying:

  • Motivation Letter

More information



Application deadline: 01 June 2020