Special Issue "Land Governance in Support of Peace? Insights and Debates on Land Governance Strategies in “Post-War” Settings"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Gemma van der Haar
Guest Editor
Sociology of Development and Change, Wageningen University, PO Box 8130, 6700 EW, Wageningen, The Netherlands
Interests: development sociology; conflict; land governance; post-war processes; state formation
Dr. Mathijs van Leeuwen
Guest Editor
Centre for Conflict Analysis and Management, Institute for Management Research, Radboud University, Nijmegen
Interests: development sociology; land governance; land conflict; conflict analysis; peacebuilding; local governance; state formation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Peace agreements do not always put an end to land conflicts. In many so-called “post-war” settings, land issues continue to be highly conflictive and a potential source for renewed violence. This may deepen land tenure insecurity and hamper recovery and peacebuilding. In this context, land governance is seen as key to make peace ‘stick’. Post-conflict development and peacebuilding policies typically feature investments in land law reforms and the modernization of land administration systems, as well as localized forms of land registration and dispute resolution. In this Special Issue, we take a critical look at these developments in the emerging field of ‘post-war land governance’, while questioning the notion of the war–peace distinction itself. We take stock of emerging insights in this field and ask critical questions about the impacts of land governance strategies on land access and land tenure security, as well as on conflict transformation. We are particularly interested in addressing some of the more fundamental questions: Does post-war land governance overcome or deepen war-time dispossession of specific groups? Does it contribute to structural transformation or rather serve to contain violence and conflict, while leaving more fundamental injustices untouched? What assumptions on ‘war’ and ‘peace’ do land governance strategies work with and do these lead to misinterpretation of the nature of conflict on the ground? How does land governance affect the important peacebuilding challenge of constructing legitimate and effective public authority?

For this Special Issue, we welcome papers based on fieldwork of particular cases or comparative work, at different levels (from micro to macro) and across different contexts. We aim to offer a combination of in-depth empirical contributions and theoretical reflection.

Papers may address topics such as:

  • The impacts of land governance strategies on patterns of inclusion and exclusion in land access and land tenure (in)security;
  • The impacts of land governance strategies on dispute resolution and conflict transformation, including the potential generation of new conflicts;
  • The interaction of land governance strategies with existing state and nonstate authorities and notions of property, and in particular, the issue of competing legitimacies;
  • The role of international policy discourses in shaping land governance strategies on the ground, and the social construction of the ‘success’ or ‘failure’ of land governance programs;
  • The role and impact of ‘pro-poor’ technologies for land registration in conflict-affected settings.

Dr. Gemma van der Haar
Dr. Mathijs van Leeuwen
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • land governance
  • land conflict
  • post-war settings
  • land tenure security
  • land registration
  • land administration
  • post-war policy

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Peacebuilding in Rural Colombia—A Collective Perception of the Integrated Rural Reform (IRR) in the Department of Caquetá (Amazon)
Land 2020, 9(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9020036 - 25 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
The 2016 peace agreement between the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP created institutional space for an effective implementation of needed rural reforms. However, the change of power structures also contains risks, like the deterioration of natural resources and the strengthening of other [...] Read more.
The 2016 peace agreement between the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP created institutional space for an effective implementation of needed rural reforms. However, the change of power structures also contains risks, like the deterioration of natural resources and the strengthening of other armed groups. By addressing collective perceptions regarding the Integrated Rural Reform (IRR), this paper shows the consequences of the peace agreement for the rural population in the department of Caquetá. Additionally, it presents the main challenges for further departmental development. The case study approach uses both semi-structured expert interviews of rural development stakeholders in different sectors based on three sampling strands, as well as participatory observation in the field. The main findings show an increase of general physical security and (economic) interest in the department since the signing of the agreement, while the deforestation rate, homicides, and threats against social-environmental leaders were all highly increased. The study also derives recommendations of departmental actors in rural development for a more effective peace implementation process, like the change from cattle driven to a more conservational economy with agri-silviculture and ecotourism, led by local civil society. To create a stable peace, it is crucial that the current government effectively implements the IRR, while also considering departmental perceptions of sustainable development. If the implementation process and departmental recognition is not enforced sufficiently, then peace might only be possible at the cost of the Amazon and its nature. Full article
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