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LANDac Conference 2020 [postponed]

Land Governance Challenges
and Climate Change:

Handling Pressures, Upholding Rights

2-3 July 2020
Muntgebouw Utrecht, The Netherlands

The LANDac Annual International Conference offers a podium for researchers, practitioners and private sector representatives interested in land governance for equitable and sustainable development. The 2020 Conference looks at the challenges that climate change poses for land governance systems, processes and actors and at relevant lessons that can be drawn from experiences with land governance to date.

Update Covid-19: 9 April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to turn our world upside down, and our thoughts are with everybody directly or indirectly affected by the virus.

As communicated before, the pandemic affects the 2020 LANDac conference – not only as uncertainty persists on any possible (inter)national measures on events such as ours, but especially as it will affect the diverse and inclusive character of our conference. Therefore, the Organising Committee (OC) has decided to postpone the LANDac conference until early July 2021. 

Despite this unfortunate turn of events, we do wish to bring the global land governance community together this year, and therefore want to invite you to the LANDac Online Encounter 2020, an online, interactive platform where we will also host a live (online) programme on and around the 2nd and 3rd of July. The OC will further develop this online programme in the coming few weeks and will include opportunities for you to actively participate.

If you have submitted an abstract for the 2020 Conference: the postponement means that the session organisers will decide in the coming two weeks whether they will postpone their session until next year, cancel their session, or hold an online session this summer. Session organisers will inform you on their decision later this month. If session organisers postpone their session until next year or hold their session online this summer, they will inform you on the status of your abstract as soon as possible, and, if accepted, explore your availability for next year’s conference or for an online contribution this summer. If your preferred session is cancelled or if your abstract is not accepted for your preferred session, LANDac will be in touch with you before the end of the month with more information on how to proceed. If you wish to withdraw your abstract, please contact us at    

We will share more details once available. Do not hesitate to contact us at if you have any questions in the meantime.


Prof Tim Lang – Professor of Food Policy, Centre for Food Policy, Department of Sociology, City University of London.

Dr Shuaib Lwasa
Shuaib Lwasa is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography Geoinformatics and Climatic sciences at Makerere University. Shuaib is the immediate adjunct chair of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) Scientific Committee on which he served as a member. Shuaib is also a Coordinating Lead Author of Urban Systems and Human Settlements Chapter 8 of IPCC Assessment Report 6. He has served on advisory boards of several interdisciplinary research initiatives including Urbanization and Global Environmental Change, the UNISDR GAR advisory board, Urban Risk in Africa (ARK) research and Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters.

Silas Siakor
Silas Siakor has championed community forest and land rights in Liberia for about two decades. For his work, he has received several international awards, including the Whitley Award for Environment and Human Rights in 2002 (UK), the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2006 (US), Award for Outstanding Environmental and Human Rights Activism from the Alexander Soros Foundation (US), Mundo Negro Fraternity Award in 2018 (Spain) and was among Time Magazine’s Heroes of the Environment in 2008. Silas founded the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) in Liberia and served as its first Director from 2005 to 2009. He also stars in the award-winning 2018 documentary ‘Silas’, that was screened at IDFA and in various movie houses in the Netherlands and beyond in 2018.  In 2015, Silas joined IDH, where he takes the role of Landscape Convener responsible for managing stakeholder engagement. Since 2018, he has led IDH work on land governance, coordinating Participatory Land Use Planning and Customary Land rights formalization.

Dr Kate Dooley
Dr Kate Dooley is a Research Fellow at Melbourne University’s Climate and Energy College, and a Lecturer in the School of Geography. Kate has worked globally with environmental movements and non-governmental organisations for the past two decades, focussing on forest and climate policy. She has worked on EU forest governance reforms to tackle illegal logging, and policy responses to forests and climate change.  She has been following the UN climate negotiations since 2009, focusing on the role of forests and land-use in climate mitigation, and how human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples are central to these efforts. Kate is currently researching the potential for ambitious restoration of natural ecosystems to remove and lock-up up atmospheric carbon.  Previous publications have looked at the politics of carbon accounting in the forest and land-use sector and the justice and equity implications of land-based climate mitigation.


For an overview of all sessions, click here.


Over the past ten years, LANDac conferences have proven to offer a productive space for knowledge exchange, reflection and debate about issues of concern to the global land governance community. With the annual conferences, LANDac puts critical developments and emerging issues on the agenda, takes stock of trends in land governance transformation, and connects land governance to adjacent academic and policy fields. The 2020 Conference identifies the land governance challenges that derive from the climate change agenda and aims to enrich the climate change debate by drawing on lessons learnt from over a decade of analysing and addressing land acquisition and investment.

A first and major concern relates to the land foot print that is to be expected from climate change adaptation and mitigation measures. Both alternative sources of energy, such as wind and solar energy, and infrastructural interventions for e.g. flood protection, translate into claims on land and will compete with existing rights or other potential uses of the land. We expect to see more instances of disaster-capitalism after floods, and land grabbing as part of climate change adaptation measures. Crucial questions here are the way these claims are dealt with and whether principles of ‘good governance’ are upheld in the face of the climate imperative.

A second concern relates to the shifts in land use patterns and people’s mobility (from and between rural and urban areas) in response to differential effects of climate change, as this translates, among others, into extreme weather events and unpredictability of rainfall. We may expect this to increase land scarcity in some places while potentially reducing it in others. How will this shape landscapes? What land governance institutions and instruments are in place to deal with the pressures this generates and support sustainable land use and food security? How to avoid that smallholders loose out?

Finally, we are concerned with how the land governance landscape will respond to these challenges. How is the governance of climate change adaptation foreseen and who will jump in the governance gaps that undoubtedly will occur? What will be the relevance of due diligence instruments as the VGGTs and FPIC? What lessons can the land governance community offer after a decade of addressing land grabs and regulating investment and who is willing to listen to these?



Joanny Bélair (University of Ottawa), Gemma van der Haar (Wageningen University and LANDac), Richard Sliuzas (ITC – University of Twente), Marja Spierenburg (Leiden University), Guus van Westen (Utrecht University and LANDac), Chantal Wieckardt (LANDac).

You can contact the Organising Committee at:


The conference takes place back-to-back with the LANDac/Utrecht University Summer School Land Governance for Development, which will take place 6-17 July 2020 in Utrecht. For more information, and to register, please visit the Utrecht Summer School website. Summer School participants may join the conference free of cost.