U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.

Query

Please provide a summary of the key corruption risks and potential mitigation measures in land administration

Content

  1. Corruption risks in land administration
  2. Mitigation measures
  3. References

Summary

Corruption in land administration has significant societal costs, and can have a major effect on the livelihoods of people worldwide. Corruption in this sector can reduce peoples’ access to land, and harm the livelihoods of small-scale producers, agricultural labourers, indigenous communities and landless rural and urban poor. Women, young people and ethnic minorities suffer most by having their access to land hindered by corruption.

Corruption in land administration takes on different forms in different countries and contexts, ranging from petty and grand corruption to state capture. Moreover, land corruption can be driven by poor oversight, weak institutions, a lack of capacity, and by not including civil society and other key stakeholders in the land administration process.

However, there are ways to mitigate these corruption risks. According to the literature, increased transparency, the inclusion of local communities in decision-making processes and strong legislation can all make a difference in tackling corruption in land administration. International donors can support these processes by variously providing support for national government-led initiatives, by supporting the legal recognition of ownership and user rights, providing technical assistance and information technology support and establishing conflict resolution mechanisms to support the land administration process.

There are also international standards and guidelines available that provide recommendations for good governance in land administration, such as free, prior and informed consent of local communities in land deals and increased transparency levels. They constitute a good first step by providing standards by which civil society, at both a national and international level, can hold governments to account. However, these standards have rarely been enforced, thus their impact has largely been inconsistent and limited.

Authors

Ben Wheatland, Transparency International, tihelpdesk@transparency.org

Date

30/05/2016

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