Advancing Land Use Rights and Natural Resources Benefits

Project completed

Approved in 2009, the Mozambican legislation on land, forestry and fauna is considered as one of the most progressive in terms of protection of the interests of the local communities. However more than 14 years after its approval, the rights of the communities are still precarious. SDC program aims at advancing the land use rights of the local communities as a necessary asset for a more sustainable economic development.

Country/region Topic Period Budget

Legal and judicial development
01.05.2014 - 31.12.2017
CHF  5’260’000

Since mid-2000, the Government of Mozambique has strongly encouraged foreign investment to stimulate the agricultural sector, thus the demand for land has dramatically

risen. Between 2004 and 2009, land concessions of more than 2.5 million hectares were granted. Despite the legislation considered progressive in terms of protecting community rights, many challenges remain:

  • Poor public knowledge of the legislation;
  • Divided governmental and investor commitments for implementing the law;
  • Weak community involvement in the definition and implementation of the national land policy.

The strong pressure on land due to the boom in natural resources exploitation (gas, coal, etc.) is leading to increased tension and conflicts, especially in cases where resettlement is needed. Interventions are needed to promote fairer and more sustainable agreements between investors and communities for the socio-economic benefit of the communities.


Foster sustainable socio-economic local development through advancing land use rights and natural resource benefits.

Target groups

The main target groups are communities (women and man) at local level, Government at local and central level, private sector and service providers working in land and natural resources management. Research and advocacy activities also address the academic circles and the general public.

Medium-term outcomes

Improved linkage between community-based land and natural resources development projects and district development plans.

  • In selected districts, land delimitation and demarcation in benefit of the communities.
  • Improve and test the models of partnership between the communities and private investor.
  • Direct support to Districts and Administrative Posts on land and natural resources administration and management.
  • Provide legal assistance to rural communities, concerning the rules of access to and use of land, to reinforce security of land possession and to establish beneficial partnerships between communities and investors.
  • Promote environmental information/education to the users of land and natural resources.
  • Ensure effective participation of the community consultations in the process of awarding of land use concessions to private investors.
  • Accompany the community resettlement processes to ensure beneficial results to community households in the context of implementing private investments.
  • Improve the participation of women in the rural economy, particularly their expanding roles in community land governance groups.

Expected results:  

In priority districts:

  • More economically profitable and inclusive investments are made to the benefit of communities as a result of socially and institutionally prepared community land delimitations, in line with district planning processes.
  • iTC and other agents of change (service providers, district and provincial land administration authorities) carry out a more efficient community delimitation with stronger community involvement, increaseing respect for the law.
  • Local communities are better protected in terms of land rights, less subject to resettlement and effectively receiving part of the benefits from the exploitation of land and natural resources.
  • Main gaps identified in land and natural resources legal frameworks and policies and their linkage with rural development, and recommendations for improvement are formulated and used in the dialogue on policies and advocacy.

Results from previous phases:  

  • A total of 910 community/association land delimitations/ demarcations carried out. This represents more than 3.800.000 hectares of land secured for local communities and benefits for more than 134.700 rural families.
  • Rural communities are better at defending their rights, opening up opportunities for the communities to share investment benefits and to improve their living standards.
  • More than 600 small agricultural associations legalize their organization.
  • Public debate over land and natural resource issues actively promoted, especially over benefit sharing between communities and investors, community consultation process and land leasing.
  • A “community land delimitation model” developed as a national reference.





Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
International or foreign NGO
  • iTC - Iniciativa de Terras Comunitárias , CTV- Centro Terra Viva and OMR - Observatório do Meio Rural . The three organisations will benefit from contributions from SDC alongside other financing partners.

Other partners

NAMATI, We Effect, Oxfam, WRI, SIDA-Sweden, DFID, UK, Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark

Transversal themes

Promotion of gender equity around the access and use of land and natural resources as an explicit objective of the intervention.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    5’260’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    5’350’051
Project phases Phase 3 01.01.2018 - 31.12.2022   (Current phase)

Phase 2 01.05.2014 - 31.12.2017   (Completed)

Phase 1 01.11.2010 - 30.04.2014   (Completed)