Towards More Equitable Land Governance in Vanuatu: Ensuring Fair Land Dealings for Customary Groups

Current land leasing practices in Vanuatu reveal a number of problems, such as the neglect ofimpact assessments, the overextension of ministerial power, inconsistencies in the determinationof land values, and the poor enforcement of lease conditions. Of perhaps overarching importanceis the leasing process‘ failure to take into account the customary principles of group landholdingin the country and to make available the advice and guidance most people require prior to leasenegotiations. All of these factors contribute to inequitable outcomes for landholders. Poor lease creation processes are likely to intensify social discord, as disenfranchised groupscontinue to be excluded from land use decision-making processes and benefit sharing. Improvingthe transparency and accountability of the land leasing process and providing means for customlandholding groups to make informed decisions about their land are critical to the maintenance ofsustainable development—and societal harmony—in Vanuatu. 

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