Addressing land issues early and systematically is increasingly recognized as critical to post-conflict and post-disaster recovery and for the implementation of durable solutions (see for example the OECD DAC Guidelines, "Helping Prevent Violent Conflict" (2001). GLTN has identified post-disaster and post-conflict contexts as priority areas for work to develop land tools.
Two GLTN partners, FAO and UN-Habitat, are developing a joint work programme to address critical gaps in existing knowledge and capacity to address land issues in these contexts. With a mandate and seed funding from the United Nations Early Recover Cluster, led by UNDP, FAO and UN-Habitat are developing two new land-related guidelines, one for post-disaster land and one for post-conflict land.
These guidelines will be complemented by the development of training materials and will be piloted at the country level to support early recovery responses to post-disaster and post-conflict situations in 2008 and 2009.
Post-Disaster Land Guidelines
Land issues can provide striking examples of the link between human activity and natural disasters. Population growth forces increasing numbers of people to settle in areas at risk from cyclones, floods, eruptions or earthquakes. Global climate change further heightens the vulnerability of many settlements to natural disaster risks. In urban and rural areas alike, the failure to understand the relationship between land and natural disasters has contributed to the increased vulnerability of poor people and has weakened the capacity of poor people to recover from disasters.
The Humanitarian Response Review identified land and property issues in 2005 as one of the major gaps in the humanitarian response system. The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC)-endorsed humanitarian cluster system is currently working to improve preparedness and contingency planning for a more predictable and transparent and accountable response system. The present initiative on preparing land tenure guidelines after natural disasters is one of several initiatives in this regard.
In 2007, the Early Recovery Cluster, led by UNDP, decided to prepare clear and simple guidelines to support national and international efforts to address land, tenure and property issues after natural disasters. In response, UN-Habitat and FAO are collaborating to prepare a set of guidelines and a toolkit for addressing land issues following natural disasters.