Improving Tenure Security in the Muslim World: Islamic land principles and pro-poor, gender responsive approaches
1. The Work of the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN)
Secure land tenure and property rights are fundamental to shelter and livelihoods as well as the realisation of human rights, poverty reduction, economic prosperity and sustainable development. The Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) is an alliance of global regional and national partners committed to alleviate poverty through advocacy, knowledge and the development and dissemination of pro-poor and gender-sensitive land tools and approaches. GLTN takes an holistic and multi-stakeholder approach to land issues and recognizes that strenghtening the continuum of land rights (rather than just focus on individual land titling) is the most time and cost effective option to secure land tenure for all.
GLTN's core values are: pro poor, gender responsiveness, good governance, equity, subsidiarity, sustainability, affordability, and systematic / large scale approaches. The Networks focuses on the following themes: access to land and tenure security, land management and planning, land administration and information, land-based financing, land policy and legislation. The land work of the Network also focuses on the following cross-cutting issues: youth, gender, human rights, grassroots' engagement, capacity development, Islamic land mechanisms, and land issues in post-conflict / post-disaster contexts.
As of the end of 2013, the Global Land Tool Network accounts for sixty-two global and regional land partners from networks of civil society organisations, international research and training institutions, professional bodies and bilateral and multilateral organisations. Over two hundred publications on a number of land tools have been developed and can be found on the GLTN web site www.gltn.net. More information on the GLTN partners leading the GLTN work in the Muslim world can be found on www.unhabitat.org (for UN-Habitat), www.uti.gov.eg (for the Urban Training and Studies Institute), www.iium.edu.my (for the International Islamic University of Malaysia), and www.uel.ac.uk (for the University of East London). Dialogue is ongoing with additional partners for their increased engagement in this area of the GLTN work.
2. Work Done on the Islamic Land Mechanism and on Land Property Rights in the Muslim World
Since 2006, the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) has been looking at approaches to enhance security of tenure for the poor, the women, the youth and the marginalised groups across the globe.
GLTN works on improving security of tenure in the Muslim world through partnership development, research, training and learning events, and the development of pro-poor and gendered land tools tailored around the specificities of the Muslim contexts. The latter is based on the specificities of the provision for land and properties that are existing in the Islamic law; this is what GLTN calls 'the Islamic land mechanism'.
GLTN is dedicating particular attention to Islamic land mechanisms as a way to achieve housing land and property rights in the Muslim world because - although most land, property and housing issues faced by Muslim societies are not dissimilar to those encountered elsewhere - strategies and tools adapted to a specific context often have a greater impact on the intended beneficiaries than generic global strategies. Considering that approsimately one fourth of the global population is Muslim (including significant minorities in the West and elsewhere) and influenced to varying degrees by Islamic land principles, either through official systems or informal / customary practices, this stream of work is one of the priorities of the Network.
To date, GLTN developed the following material on the Islamic land mechanism to achieve tenure security in the Muslim world:
- (Support to the research work leading to the publication of) 'Land, Law and Islam - Property and Human Rights in the Muslim World' (available in English and Arabic);
- 'A training course on land, property and housing rights in the Muslim World' (English);
- 'Islamic principles and land - Opportunities for Engagement' (English);
Further research is being done by the University of East London in partnership with UN-Habitat on Islamic land law, property rights and gender equality in the Muslim world.
The main GLTN initiatives related to pro-poor, gender and youth sensitive land approaches tailored to the Muslim world have been:
- Cairo 2005 - The Arab Preparatory Meeting for the third International Urban Forum hosted in Cairo by ESCWA, UN-HABITAT, the League of Arab State, and the Egyptian, where the Cairo initiative paper was signed .
- London 2007 - The EGM on 'Cross Fertilisation of Universal and Islamic Land Approaches' organised by UN-Habitat and the University of East London on 17-18 May 2007, where a resolution on the Islamic land mechanism was adopted;
- Kuala Lumpur 2009 - Pilot Training of Trainers on 'Land, Property and Housing Rights in the Muslim World' organised by GLTN partners UN-Habitat, the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) and the University of East London (UEL) between in November 2009 and followed by the Kuala Lumpur Islamic Land Tools Development & Training Action Plan.
- Somalia 2011 - The training material was used by the UN-Habitat Somalia Programme to hold a training of trainers from in April 2011 in Nairobi.
- Kuwait 2012 - A short training on Islamic land mechanism was carried out in parallel to the Kuwait Conference on Urban Development that took place
- Cairo, May 2013 - A Learning Event on housing land and property rights in the Muslim world, where participants from selected countries from the Arab States shared knowledge and experience on Islamic principles of land and property rights and how to apply them for improved tenure security and policy development.
- A Global Competition on Good Practices for Tenure security in the Muslim World is also on-going (for more information visit www.gltn.net).
3. The Way Forward
The way forward to improve security of tenure in the Muslim world combines the use and adaptation of the global GLTN work to the region, the identification of new champions and partners, and the continuation of the work on the Islamic land mechanism initiated including the dissemination, translation and adaptation of the existing mateiral, the development of new knowledge and awareness products, and the identification and development of specific pro poor and gender responsive land tools to be rolled out.
Like any other GLTN land tool, the land tools developed within the Islamic land mechanism framework should not be developed and used in isolation and therefore the work on tenure security in the Muslim world includes but is not limited to the Islamic land mechanism work. GLTN therefore envisages the following streams of activities across the 2014-2017 period.
- Increased role of existing GLTN partners - GLTN has a well-developed network of partners and members. The potential of these partners is to be unleashed further through increased dialogue and involvement of Partners in the work of the Network, and the formalisation of agreements when necessary for the implementation of specific streams of work when necessary. The GLTN Partnership Strategy being developed will contribute to inform the partnership development.
- New partners interested in Islamic land - Additional champions, partners and members with interest and a role to play in this area of work are being identified. Development partners interested in the tenure security in the Muslim world portfolio also need to be part of the discussions.
- Engagement of UN-Habitat personnel and Regional and Country offices - It is important to increase the awareness and engagement of interested UN-Habitat personnel security of tenure and land tool development and implementation. It is crucial to strengthen the collaboration between GLTN Secretariat and the UN-Habitat branches, regional and country offices.
- Communication - Updates and information is to be uploaded on the web site and disseminated with regularity. This will include information about activities being carried out in this area, information regarding translation / publication of GLTN Islamic tools, request of inputs, articles, etc.
- Translation of existing tools - The material produced need to be translated into Arabic and other relevant languages to increase their outreach and impact. Translation of the tools in local languages by partners should also be encouraged.
- Distribution - Although a significant number of interested people download the Islamic tools from the GLTN web site, electronic and physical distribution should be undertaken. Libraries and research centres of the Muslim world and relevant international organisations should be targeted as a priority.
- Advocacy - Advocacy and engagement of relevant upstream change agents and decision makers should be pursued in relevant forums and conferences; the Network needs to be updated on the major events that constitute appropriate advocacy platforms.
- Research work - Additional research work is needed in specific areas that have the potential to generate more interest for engagement and result in effective pro-poor tenure solutions at scale. Some of the areas identified are gender, microfinance, waqf, conflict, migration and displacement, slum upgrading, customary, and youth. The objective of the research is to generate a consistent body of knowledge as well as strengthen collaborations with and build the capacity of partner agencies / organisations. Research work should be preferably conducted by GLTN partners with technical support from the Secretariat (with or without financial support), rather than through individual consultants. It is important that research is effectively linked to tool development and awareness raising.
- Good Practice Training - A key priority is to make good and extensive use of the training material on land, property and housing rights in the Muslim World. This entails replication of the training by GLTN partners and by people trained as trainers. The direct involvement of GLTN Secretariat should be limited to the facilitation of the exchanges between the organisations interested in the tool and - in some cases - the provision of some limited funding to cover some of the training costs.
- Online and E-learning - The training course and the materials developed for the training sessions organised should be transformed and readapted to online / e-learning formats. Modules can also be translated in audio-visual material to be posted on the GLTN web site or other places on the web in English, Arabic and French. Short advocacy messages should be developed around key concepts (e.g. access to land and property for women, etc.)
To make a change in the lives of the vulnerable ones at scale, the material developed, the knowledge management initiatives, and the capacity development activities needs to be complemented with tool development and use at the field level. The identification of specific land tools relevant for Muslim contexts has been an on-going process. The research work done paved the way for consultations and exchanges with GLTN Partners, members and participants of learning events and discussion forums. The identification of key partners and champions - both individuals and institutions - in this area of work has been a parallel and interlinked process. As of the end of 2013, it seems that a number of land tools would be needed in Muslim contexts and "Islamic Principles and Land - Opportunities for Engagement" illustrates such entry points. However, the work undertaken in 2012 and 2013 put the spot light on two streams of land tool development work: land tools that facilitate access to land for women and land tools that support the use of waqf to provide access to land for the poor. In 2014, GLTN Partners will be engaging on the scoping of these two streams of work. Section 4 of this Concept Note focuses on the development of land tools for women, as well as the additional work being done to improve access to land form women in Muslim contexts.
4. Improving Women's Land and Property Rights and Developing Land Tools for Women in Muslim Communities
Access to land for women is a global challenge that requires the engagement of a wide number of actors at the global, regional, national and local level. Change for men and women in the communities will come from the change in the mind set of community members, policy and law makers, land administrators, planners, researchers, professors, civil society groups and all those with a stake in land - users, administrators or providers.
As much as work at the global level is important, context-specific approaches and tools have an important role to play in facilitating access to land for all, with particular attention to women, poor, youth and disadvantaged groups. Such tools and approaches, to make a change, will require the involvement of al the stakeholders categories listed above; they need to respond to the needs of the intended beneficiaries, but also need to be sound and workable for the land providers. They have to be scalable and sustainable, economically viable and flexible. In light of the above, GLTN is committed to adapt and contextualise its work to the needs of Muslim communities.
5. Get Involved
To be involved in the tenure security activities for the Muslim world, please get in touch with the following GLTN Parnters:
GLTN Secretariat / UN-Habitat
Land and GLTN Unit, UN-Habitat
Tel: +254 20 762 4241
Urban Training and Studies Institute
Doaa El Sherif, Director, Training and International Cooperation
Urban Training and Studies Institute (UTI)
University of East London:
School of Law and Social Sciences (LSS), University of East London
International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM):
Islamic Land Mechanisms: Other Related Documents
- Appel a communications: Concurrence sur les bonnes pratiques pour ameliorer la securite fonciere dans le monde musulman (Fr - 2013)
- Call for papers: Competition on good practices to improve tenure security in the Muslim world (Eng - 2013)
- Competition on good practices to improve tenure security in the Muslim world (Ar - 2013)
- Modele pour les soumissions: bonnes pratiques pour ameliorer la securite fonciere dans le monde musulman (Fr - 2013)