Securing Land and Property Rights for All

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 What kind of investments will guarantee food and land security? To answer this pertinent question, a Learning Route was implemented by PROCASUR Africa in collaboration with IFAD's Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) in Uganda between the 3rd and 10th of December 2015 on innovative ideas to secure Land Rights through Inclusive Business Models. 

The main objective of this initiative was to improve project performance among IFAD funded projects in ESA by exposing a selected group of their staff to a set of multi stakeholders’ strategies, tools and best practices towards pro-poor and gender-sensitive land and natural resource tenure rights through business partnerships between small-scale farmers and investors. 

 Watch the video below.


Land and Habitat 3

Strategic issues, challenges and opportunities around land in the New Urban Agenda

Land is central to the realization of the new urban agenda. Transparent, inclusive, participatory spatial planning and creating tenure security for all segments of society are pre-requisites for almost all if not all issues of the New Urban Agenda.

Go to: Habitat III Registration and Information for Participants and National Delegations


Related Documents
  1. GLTN - Roadmap to Quito
  2. Strategic Paper on Land: Advocacy material for GLTN partners and Secretariat in the events leading to Habitat III in October 2016 : Short Version
  3. Strategic Paper on Land: Advocacy material for GLTN partners and Secretariat in the events leading to Habitat III in October 2016 : Full Report
  4. Land in the New Urban Agenda - A Briefing note for Policy-Makers (AR |EN )
  5. Land in the New Urban Agenda - Brief ( AR |EN | FR |SP | PT  )
  6. Land and the New Urban Agenda : A UN-HABITAT wide briefing on 9 June 2016, 
  7. Land and the New Urban Agenda - Presentation

Areas and issues of the New Urban Agenda and relevant land issues:

Area Issues Relevant land issue
Social Cohesion and Equity – Liveable Cities
  1. Inclusive cities
  2. Migration and refugees in urban areas
  3. Safer cities
  4. Urban culture and heritage
  1. Transparent, inclusive, participatory and sustainable urban and territorial spatial planning;
  2. Security of tenure for all segments of society, incl. women and youth;
Urban Frameworks
  1. Urban rules and legislation
  2. Urban governance
  3. Municipal finance
  1. Urban land policy, legislation on land tenure, administration and management, urban spatial planning law;
  2. Responsible governance of tenure;
  3. Pro-poor land taxation;
  4. Land value sharing;
Spatial Development
  1. Urban and spatial planning and design
  2. Urban land
  3. Urban-rural linkages
  4. Public space
  1. Urban land policy, legislation on land tenure, administration and management, urban spatial planning law;
  2. Responsible land governance;
  3. Transparent, inclusive, participatory and sustainable urban and territorial spatial planning;
  4. Security of tenure for all segments of society, incl. women and youth;
  5. Fair, reliable gender-responsive, accessible way of resolving disputes over tenure rights etc.
  6. Prohibition of forced evictions
  7. FPIC in case of resettlement
  8. Pro-poor land taxation;
Urban Economy
  1. Local economic development
  2. Jobs and livelihoods
  3. Informal sector
  1. Transparent, inclusive, participatory and sustainable urban and territorial spatial planning;
  2. Security of tenure for all segments of society, incl. women and youth
Urban Ecology and Environment
  1. Urban resilience
  2. Urban ecosystems and resource management
  1. Cities and climate change and disaster risk management
  2. Transparent, inclusive, participatory and sustainable urban and territorial spatial planning;
  3. Security of tenure for all segments of society, incl. women and youth
Urban Housing and Basic Services
  1. Urban infrastructure and basic services, incl. energy
  2. Transport and mobility
  3. Housing
  4. Smart cities
  5. Informal settlements
  1. Transparent, inclusive, participatory and sustainable urban and territorial spatial planning;
  2. Security of tenure for all segments of society, incl. women and youth
  3. Prohibition of forced evictions
  4. FPIC in case of resettlement
  5. Pro-poor land taxation;

Challenges cities are currently facing that affect land issues

Challenges cities are facing as identified by UN-Habitat Relevant land related challenges
Large scale urban poverty in many countries
  1. Lack of tenure security and risk of becoming evicted discouraging slum dwellers to invest in their shelter.
  2. Lack of tenure security, including lacking access to land titles, even for middle income population who could other use the title to access credit.
  3. Absence of pro-poor land based taxation through which local/municipal revenues could be collected.
The steady increase in the number of slum dwellers
  1. Lack of planned low and middle income residential areas.
  2. Lack of future oriented spatial planning responding to real social, economic and environmental needs.
  3. Lack of community participation in spatial planning.
The emergence of new forms of poverty vulnerability and marginalization ---
Rising inequalities in urban areas across the world
  1. Lack of integrated citywide spatial planning aiming to ensure that the wealth generated in a city is redistributed to all segments of society.
  2. Discriminated access to land and control over land for women and child-headed households as well as for certain ethnic or religious or other groups.
  3. Underrepresentation of women and youth as well as of certain ethnic or religious or other groups in spatial planning.
Decreasing levels of human security and inequitable health gaps in cities Inadequate or absent integrated citywide spatial planning considering environmental risks, environmental impacts and emissions as well as health issues.
The speculative nature of housing and related markets Lack of innovative tenure arrangements that provide tenure security while preventing market evictions.
Women face discrimination in the context of urbanization, poverty and violence See above (rising inequalities)
High costs to the natural environment See above (decreasing levels of human security and inequitable health gaps in cities)
The urban risk of climate change and natural hazards See above (decreasing levels of human security and inequitable health gaps in cities)
Cities are becoming the terrain for violent conflict and crises  
Cities are generating unprecedented levels of multi-layered crime and violence Illegal land/shack lords, land mafia and drug criminals “governing” informal settlements making it difficult to formalize such settlements, which would include the provision of tenure security and the inclusion of its inhabitants in urban spatial planning processes.

The Habitat Agenda (HABITAT II, 1996)

The Habitat Agenda already deals with the two core issues around land: equal ad equitable access to land as well as sustainable land use. Access to land is dealt with in para 75-79 under adequate shelter for all. Consequently, access to land and legal security of tenure are understood as strategic prerequisites for the provision of adequate shelter and for the development of sustainable human settlements affecting both urban and rural areas (Habitat Agenda, para 75).  


Land and the New Urban Agenda (Habitat III, 2016)

Consequently, the way land is treated in the New Urban Agenda (Habitat III) should not fall behind the commitments related to land made by the Habitat Agenda (Habitat II), but build on it. The New Urban Agenda should reaffirm most of its commitment concerning land, update others and add new aspects. It needs to be clearly spelled out that access to land is not just a fundamental issue of housing but a key driver to achieving all aspects of the new urban agenda.


Involvement of UN-Habitat and GLTN in Preparation for Habitat III

UN-Habitat, and GLTN in particular has been engaged in the following areas for action in preparation for Habitat III:

  1. UN Task Team which prepared the 22 issue papers on Habitat III, including the one on urban land
  2. Policy Units, which is gathering of experts who prepared forward-looking policy papers on Habitat III (GLTN has recommended members of the network / land experts to these policy units including FIG, Huairou Commission, Habitat for Humanity, etc.)
  3. Involvement in regional and thematic meetings in Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America/Caribbean
  4. Preparation of a strategic paper on land and the new urban agenda
  5. Negotiations with member-states and different stakeholders on the articulation of land in the input policy papers
  6. Creating awareness among stakeholders, particularly from civil society and grassroots organizations


Progress Made in Some Regions (Africa, Europe and Asia-Pacific)

Many initiatives are being promoting at both regional and continental levels to harness the land dimension through the urban lens, e.g. in Africa, the Special Technical Committee (STC) under the auspice of the African Union, has stressed out the relevance of land for attaining well planned and prosperous cities. Recently the Asia Pacific urban Forum (APUF 6) held in Jakarta in October 2015, urged Government at all levels to implement fit-for-purpose programmes that improve land governance, including recording and recognizing people-to-land relationships in all its forms. During the last years, EU Member States committed themselves to conduct integrated urban development in their countries and to establish the necessary framework at national level. A core principle is resource efficiency. Economic progress needs to be steadily decoupled from the consumption of resources (green growth). There will be advocacy groups also lobbying for the inclusion of land in the Latin America regional meeting in Mexico.


Core Messages for Advocacy

  1. Land is at the centre of sustainable urbanization.
  2. Land is central to sustainable urban development as most measures will only be possible to be realized if sufficient land at the right location is available to do so.
  3. Secure tenure for all is foundational to the new urban agenda, ensuring that no one should be left behind in regard to land rights and benefiting from the gains of urbanization
  4. A wide range of tenure options need to be encouraged to meet the diverse and changing needs of different social groups (e.g. the young, the poor, the IDPs, people with disabilities and the elderly)
  5. As land is a finite resource it needs to be used efficiently balancing social and economic goals while protecting the environment.
  6. Do not compromise with land if environmental sustainability is at risk
  7. No socio-economic development without spatial inclusion
  8. Harnessing the transformative power of land based-financing and ensuring the equitable sharing of land market profits for the benefit of all city dwellers
  9. Fighting corruption in land transfer and development is key to sustainable urban development
  10. Land markets need to be enabled and regulated in the public interest.

Member-states as well as other key stakeholders need to become more risk aware instead of risk averse in regard to land issues and urbanization



The Africities 7 Summit, the seventh edition of the Local Governments Pan-African Days, will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 29 November to 3 December 2015. Its central theme will be: “Shaping The Future Of Africa With The People: The Contribution Of African Local Authorities To Agenda 2063 Of The African Union.” We aspire that by 2063, Africa shall be a prosperous continent, with the means and resources to drive its own development, and where:

  • African people have a high standard of living, quality of life, sound health and well-being.
  • A continent full of  well educated citizens through a skills revolution underpinned by science, technology and innovation for a knowledge society.
  • Cities and other settlements are hubs of cultural and economic activities, with modernized infrastructure, and people have access to all the basic necessities of life including shelter, water, sanitation, energy, public transport and ICT.
  • Economies are structurally transformed to create shared growth, decent jobs and economic opportunities for all… (Agenda 2063 – The Africa We Want)

The Africities Summit pursues two major objectives:

  • Defining appropriate shared strategies in order to improve the living conditions of the people at the local level.
  • Contribute to the integration, peace and unity of Africa starting from the grassroots.

Sign up , read more, at the Africities Official website here 

WB ConfLand and Poverty Conference 2016 : Scaling up Responsible Land Governance

March 14-18, 2016: Washington, DC

The World Bank will be hosting the 17th Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty from March 14 to 18, 2016 at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington D.C. The conference theme will be: Scaling up Responsible Land Governance. The 17th edition of the conference will be organized in parallel with the annual meetings of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC).

Recording of rights for all is increasingly within reach, with services becoming more affordable and appropriate, making tenure more secure. Technology innovations make geospatial data increasingly accessible, along with the growth in capacity to automate processes and manage information, consumer feedback, and electronic payments. Experience with managing systematic registration at-scale and fit-for purpose approaches, participatory mapping, and other forms of crowd sourcing are expanding.

The question is no longer whether it can be done but to guarantee inclusiveness, sustainability, reliability, keeping systems current, building capacity and to ensure that better land information and more tenure security contribute to wider societal goals.  Achieving change requires policy space, leadership, courage and sustained effort over time. In particular, land needs to be fully integrated in country strategies, supported by the Finance and Development Ministries in order to transcend policy cycles. 

This edition of the conference will pay special attention to working at scale, mainstreaming innovations, and sustaining investments for greater impact.

For more information on the conference, visit the event page here


The 2015 Annual Conference of the IGU Commission on ‘Geography of Governance’ (IGU-GoG), to be held in Lisbon, Portugal, 9 - 10 April 2015, at the Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning – University of Lisbon, aims to explore recent developments in local government and urban governance in Europe and in Africa, challenges and opportunities confronting local government, and the recent reforms and institutional experiments on both continents.

Proposals for papers are welcome on any aspect of the broad area of local /urban governance, but would particularly encourage papers on three main themes:

  1. Theme 1: Local Government and Urban Governance in Europe: the impact of austerity, recent reforms and the role of local government in an 'EU Urban Agenda'
  2. Theme 2: Local Government and Urban Governance in Africa: democratic decentralization, good governance and the role of local government in the ‘Post-2015 Agenda’
  3. Theme 3: The use of ICT to expand the role of citizens in Urban Governance: national cases and international comparisons

For more information, visit:

Contact Info:

Location: Gigiri, UN Complex
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Telephone: +254 207623858
Email: gltn[at]

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