DUTY STATION: Home Based with the possibility of travel
FUNCTIONAL TITLE: Consultant: Consultant to develop a guide for the practical application of the continuum of land rights.
DURATION: 15 September 2016 – 14 March 2017 (25 working days spread over 6 months)


The Land and GLTN Unit, located within the Urban Legislation, Land and Governance (ULLG) Branch of UN-Habitat, has the mandate to develop, test and disseminate pro-poor and gender responsive approaches in regard to urban land, innovative residential tenures, affordable land management/administration systems, and land related regulatory/legal frameworks and tools. The Unit hence focuses on research and tool development also to supply technical advice to Member States and backstop the Regional offices and other sections of UN-Habitat. Land tools provide a resource for enabling action. While there has been extensive global discussion around land policies that work for the poor, there has been insufficient attention paid to the development of methods for developing and implementing these pro-poor land policies. Consequently what are required are land tools that are affordable and accessible for all sections of the population in countries around the world. This is essential for creating societies with sustainable, equal access and use of land. Work has already started on these approaches, both for developing and post-conflict situations and countries. Incremental expansion of this work over time, as capacity is developed, is taking place in partnership with the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN), the Secretariat of which is located at UN-Habitat (see Established in 2006, GLTN is a growing coalition of more than 70 international partners concerned with rural and urban land issues, working together to contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable development through promoting secure land and property rights for all, demonstrated through country-level interventions.

One of the key GLTN instruments is the continuum of land rights. Land tenure is frequently understood in binary terms: formal/informal, legal/extra-legal, secure/insecure, de facto/de jure. However in practice a wide and complex spectrum of appropriate, legitimate tenure arrangements exists between these extremities. These can be documented as well as undocumented, formal as well as informal, for individuals as well as groups, including pastoralists, and residents of slums and other settlements, which may be legal or extra-legal. The extent of the actual security of such arrangements depends on local regulatory, institutional and governance contexts. The continuum of land rights is a concept or metaphor for understanding and administering this rich complexity of land rights on the ground. It offers a powerful alternative approach to simply focusing on the titling of individually held private property. Tenure types that best suit both the social, cultural and economic needs of local communities and the needs of responsible land administration authorities at a particular time are advocated. The continuum promotes recognition and increase of security across the spectrum, with opportunity for movement between numerous tenure forms. This offers land actors and governments an innovative approach to the realisation of tenure security, through recognising, recording and administering a variety of appropriate and legitimate land tenure forms. This approach is increasingly being followed by a variety of land actors around the world in initiatives aimed at achieving tenure security for all. From an operational perspective, a continuum of land rights can be said to exist when the whole spectrum of formal, informal and customary rights are catered for within a land information management system; and when a range of rights in a country constitutes legally enforceable claims which can be asserted and defended in a forum such as a court.

Growing acceptance through the work of GLTN partners of the continuum of land rights concept and approach is part of a fundamental paradigm shift taking place in the global understanding of and approach to land. Ongoing debates have emphasised that the continuum concept is evolving, and needs to be reviewed, debated, improved and refined over time. To this end the GLTN Secretariat undertook to prioritise intensive work in this area from 2013. Since then, five complementary projects were completed and a number of papers and publications produced, consolidating and reporting on progress made.

The projects were:

  1. A review of the continuum concept and on that basis research into the continuum of land rights in practice in a five Southern African countries;
  2. A survey to establish the nature and extent of the application of the continuum of land rights in the work of key land actors world-wide, working as part of the Global Land Tool Network;
  3. An investigation of the theoretical underpinnings of the continuum concept, in order to help answer a number of questions and challenges that had emerged during the early development of the concept, including: what exactly it is, how it can be applied, and perceptions and challenges around its graphical representation;
  4. Development of a strategic framework for the in-country operationalisation of the continuum approach, in response to questions such as: What are the key steps to be taken? What systems need to be put in place? What tools can and should be used in the process?
  5. Development of an evaluation framework for the continuum of land rights, to clarify how different tenure types on a continuum should be evaluated in terms of social and economic costs and benefits.

Complementary to and informed by this work, GLTN has been expanding its activities in a selection of targeted countries and cities/municipalities through intensified support for the testing and implementation of pro-poor and gender-responsive tools in the land sector. GLTN’s key focus countries presently are Uganda, DRC, Kenya, Zambia, Namibia and Nepal. This work is being done according to specific country plans aimed at improving land governance for increased tenure security, through fit-for-purpose land administration following the continuum of land rights approach. Programmes are implemented in conjunction with government and other in-country partners; regional and country offices in UN-Habitat; and international partner organizations with their national networks.

Building upon the above, the Land and GLTN Unit has identified a need to develop a practical ‘how-to’ guide for application of the continuum of land rights concept and approach to promote tenure security for all at country and local levels. This guide will incorporate existing research, framework and tool development work done on the continuum; include illustrative case studies and scenarios; and refer to usage of GLTN land tools and fit-for-purpose land administration, as well as other relevant land instruments and tools.


The consultant, under the direction of the designated Project Coordinator, will have the following responsibilities:

  1. Consult with relevant parties and produce an inception report for the project
  2. Produce a draft outline, line of argument, table of contents and specifications (length, style, illustrations, presentation etc.) for a practical ‘how-to’ GLTN guide for application of the continuum of land rights concept and approach to promote tenure security for all at country and local levels (“the Guide”), and finalise after feedback
  3. Review and analyse key source materials, including GLTN and other documents, and consult with a selection of key experts and GLTN partners, on the substance of the Guide
  4. Develop and draft the Guide
  5. Consult with and receive feedback on the draft from a selection of key experts and GLTN partners (including a presentation to the Land and GLTN Unit for inputs), and finalise the Guide
  6. Produce a two-page summary suitable for use during the launch of the Guide.


  1. Professionalism: Knowledge of laws, concepts and practical approaches relevant to security of tenure, land administration and land rights.
  2. Communication: Excellent written and verbal communication skills and ability to articulate ideas in a clear and accurate manner including the ability to present the content of the thematic area in a clear and concise manner.
  3. Planning and organizing: ability to work under pressure, establish priorities and plan, coordinate own work plan, use time efficiently and apply judgment in the context of competing deadlines.
  4. Creativity: Is not bound by current thinking or traditional approaches, takes calculated risks on new and unusual ideas; thinks “outside the box”, and offers new and different options to solve problems or meet client needs.


Advanced University degree (masters or similar) in a field deemed relevant to the subject areas covered by these Terms of Reference such as land administration, political science, international development, or similar.


  1. A minimum of 10 years of practical country-level experience working in the field of land management, land rights and innovative land tools, or a directly related field, is required
  2. Previous working experience with international development assistance agencies is required
  3. Demonstrated ability to conduct rigorous research into and write about land and tenure issues in a developing context is required
  4. Demonstrated skill in conceptual and practical analysis of complex issues, and in producing clear arguments and constructive recommendations and guidelines for future action and implementation, are required
  5. Previous experience in working with the continuum of land rights concept is recommended.


English and French are the working languages of the United Nations. For the post advertised, excellent proficiency in spoken and written English is required


  1. Proficient in use of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  2. Ability to work to schedule, but where requested to be flexible with changes in timelines


The rate is determined by functions performed. The fees will be paid upon satisfactory delivery of outputs as per agreement. Where applicable, travel costs of the consultant (airplane ticket economy class), transfers, and daily allowance as per the UN rate is payable in addition to the daily fee.

Applications should include:

  1. Cover memo (maximum 1 page)
  2. Summary CV (maximum 2 pages), indicating the following information:
    • Educational Background (incl. dates)
    • Professional Experience (assignments, tasks, achievements, duration by years / months)
    • Other Relevant Experience and Expertise (e.g. Internships/ voluntary work, etc.)
    • Expectations regarding remuneration (daily rate for period of up to 25 days)
    • List of referees
    • Optional: Applicants are encouraged to include a document that describes or demonstrates her / his ability to perform the tasks given above.     

Please also be advised that since April 15th 2010, applicants for consultancies must be part of the UN-HABITAT e-Roster in order for their application to be considered. You can reach the e-Roster through the following link: All applications should be submitted to:

Ms. Josephine Ruria     


P.O. Box 30030, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    


UN-HABITAT does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process. If you have any questions concerning persons or  companies claiming to be recruiting on behalf of these offices and requesting the payment of a fee, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.