III. Acting as a regulator and making local land policies

  • Local authorities play a key role in implementing and monitoring land laws locally

  • Local authorities have the responsibility to use regulatory tools available to them to improve land stewardship and land sharing

Food, farming, and environmental policies have become areas of rising interest for local authorities. This responds to the dual pressure of demands from citizens (for local food, responses to climate change, green landscapes, clean air…) and from central governments who ask local authorities to meet objectives around carbon-storing, densified urbanisation, supply of organic food in schools, etc.

Decentralisation processes that occurred in the past 40 years have also transferred new responsibilities to local authorities to address these issues. In most countries, they hold a key role in land use planning and taxation systems. They can also catalyse policies and orient their budgets towards specific territorial development strategies. Efficient regulation for access to land can combine for instance:

  • coherent urban planning documents (with precise zoning to protect land and concrete monitoring);

  • strategic subsidies (to improve local farming infrastructure, training options for new farmers, etc.);

  • tax incentives policies (e.g. providing exemptions for owners who rent farmland)

  • strategic use of public procurement.

Are there regulatory tools to protect farmland locally? How can I create a more enabling policy environment for the development of small-scale agroecological farming? Check the infographic for a quick overview of how to act, and read the sections below for more information on the roles that local authorities can play regarding planning, administering, catalysing and advocating for sounder land policies.

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