One Billion Rising
Law, Land and the Alleviation of Global Poverty
Distributed for Leiden University Press
In an age fueled by globalization and focused on the struggling citizens of the urban metropolis, it might come as a surprise to learn that most of the world’s 1.4 billion poorest people are still rural. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these populations lack ownership of—and rights to—the land that forms their principal source of livelihood. Although land reform and related legal work have transformed the lives of millions of families by providing secure land rights, not all such efforts have succeeded. That mix of success and failure has been a big part of the reason that, in recent years, the conventional wisdom concerning law and land tenure reform—what is needed, what is possible, and how such reform contributes to pro-poor development—has changed, sometimes in striking ways. In this timely and important volume, lawyers from the Rural Development Institute and the University of Washington’s School of Law in Seattle use four decades worth of research on the results of land tenure reform efforts around the world in order to address how we might better meet the struggles to understand and change the plight of the rural poor.
"In a world in which we are constantly confronted with equity and efficiency trade-offs, land reform is one of those rare instances of a policy which simultaneously promotes both. . . . This book puts the issue back onto the agenda, . . . providing nuanced arguments and detailed evidence."
"For decades, Roy Prosterman and his colleagues at the Rural Development Institute have worked to address a root cause of global poverty—the absence of enforceable and secure rights to land. This book, based on many years of field experience, demonstrates the leveraged power of the law as a tool for social and economic progress."
"Insecure land rights originate in structures that systemically divide rich from poor, powerful from powerless. Secure rights have the potential to change those structures, providing hope and status to countless numbers of the world's poorest. I hope this book and topics it explores will reach ever widening audiences, from policy makers to concerned citizens, for years to come."