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Speeches & Transcripts October 4, 2017

Remarks on the International Land and Forest Tenure Facility

On behalf of The World Bank Group, I congratulate the Government of Sweden and the organizers of this event on the launch of the Tenure Facility. Securing indigenous, community, and women’s land rights is fundamental to the Bank’s mission to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. It is key for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is fully consistent with the Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Tenure of Land. The Bank stands ready to build on the successful experiences developed by the Tenure Facility, and to scale up its efforts to secure land rights.

Scaling up efforts require three fundamental ingredients: development of practical solutions, meaningful partnerships with all stakeholders, and of course commitment by governments. The Tenure Facility initiative has already demonstrated in several countries what is possible in terms of solutions and it is actively nurturing innovative engagements between communities, the private sector, and public authorities.  This event also shows us how diverse and strong the global partnership to secure land rights has become, globally and at national levels.

Regarding the commitment by governments, the World Bank is pleased to note that more and more countries are requesting increased technical and financial support to address land tenure issues. Thanks to the generous support of a coalition of more than 60 donor and borrower governments (including Sweden of course) we in December secured a record $75 billion commitment for the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries. I am particularly glad to report that many countries intend to use some of these resources to secure land rights. So, the scaling up is already taking place! 

Our commitments in land projects will grow from $1.1 billion to about $1.6 billion over the next 18 months. A big part of this expansion is from IDA18 and mostly takes place in Africa. We are providing technical and financial support to governments as they prepare new land projects in Mozambique, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Cote d’Ivoire.  Elsewhere, we are expanding engagements on land in Indonesia, Laos, Colombia, Nicaragua, Lebanon, and Kosovo, among others. We are collaborating closely with multiple partners, international and local. In the case of Sweden, an important partner for us, our cooperation is particularly strong in Colombia and Liberia.

The World Bank is also rolling out a new PROFOR knowledge program on Securing Forest Tenure Rights which will provide methodologies, tools, and knowledge resources to identify challenges and build appropriate measures to strengthen forest tenure and avoid negative impacts of development projects.

Finally, we would like to announce that we are partnering with the Government of Dubai, the Global Land Tool Network, UN-Habitat, the Arab League, and the Arab Union of Surveyors in the organization of the first Arab Land Conference which will take place in Dubai, UAE, in February 2018.

Once again, we commend SIDA for this bold initiative and express our best wishes for the success of the newly created Tenure Facility.


(Also published on the Rights and Resources Initiative's website.)