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It has long been recognized that good land governance and secure land tenure are the fundamental building blocks of sustainable and equitable development. This is evidenced from the macro level (livelihoods, human rights, poverty reduction, etc.) down to individual households (supporting improvements in household income, the social and economic empowerment of women and girls, food security, etc.). However, a significant proportion of urban and rural communities is still without adequate access to land and the multiple benefits that derive from having secure land tenure. A changing climate – in combination with other contemporary stressors such as population growth, migration, land reform and increasing urbanization – will act to amplify existing societal stresses. Consequently, the principles of responsible land governance have never been more important as governments strive to address the complex resilience challenges that we face today and into the future.

This report examines the inter-relationships between land tenure and climate vulnerability. The analysis was framed according to peoples’ exposure to climate-related hazards, the sensitivity of different elements at risk in both urban and rural contexts, and understanding how insecure land tenure influences the adaptive capacity of communities and individuals. Potential feedback loops from climate adaptation measures that may act to undermine peoples’ security of tenure were also considered.

The report was written with a broad audience in mind, including development, climate change adaptation, disaster risk reduction, emergency management and land sector communities of practice. The aim is to highlight some of the complex and inter-linked challenges facing marginalized communities and, based on this evidence, signpost possible pathways to positive change. The content herein draws from an extensive literature review and evidence from five international case studies contributed by regional experts. The case studies were selected to enable consideration of differing land tenure and climate vulnerability contexts in different parts of the developing world.

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