LAND MANAGEMENT & LAND                                    Security of tenure: why focus on women?                         PROGRAMME BACKGROUND AND
             TENURE                                          "Securing tenure for the household does not necessarily                   MANDATE
An estimated 924 million people (over 30% of the             secure tenure for women and children. In undertaking the       The Land and Tenure Section, formerly known as the
urban population) are presently living without secure        Campaign for Secure Tenure, the extension of secure tenure     Land Management Programme, was established in May
tenure in the urban areas of developing countries. In        must benefit women and men equally, which will require         1999, within the Shelter Branch. It is the agency's focal
some cities, the proportion of people living in informal     some fundamental changes to the rights of women. Equally       point for land management and tenure systems related
settlements is already higher than that in formal land       importantly, the right of women to equal inheritance rights    to land management, tenure and land rights, policies
and housing markets. In these settlements, informal          will also form a vital part of the Campaign. Gender equality   and legislation, and is a major contributor to the
and/or illegal tenure types often exist, due to a variety    is one of the most fundamental principles that underpins       achievement of adequate shelter, security of tenure
of factors that force the poor into various forms of         the entire Campaign." Global Campaign for Secure               and equal access to economic resources for all, with a
unauthorised developments:                                   Tenure, Implementing the Habitat Agenda: Adequate              specific focus on gender equality. The main focus areas
                                                             Shelter for All                                                of the Land and Tenure Section are:
 Land registration systems are inaccessible, expensive,
 not transparent, unable to register illegal land parcels                                                                    implementation of land and property rights
 or customary areas, and often based on colonial laws            WOMEN'S LAND, HOUSING AND
                                                                                                                             affordable land management systems and pro-poor
 Land management systems and land use plans are
                                                                     PROPERTY RIGHTS                                         flexible tenure types.
 complex, expensive and bureaucratic                          Are recognised in international law
 Land dispute settlement mechanisms are too                   Are still not recognised by all countries (whether by
 centralised, costly and lengthy                              law or in practice)
 For many reasons, freehold tenure cannot serve low-          Are often blocked by customary laws, traditions and
 income groups                                                cultural factors                                                         Mandate Derived From:
 There is an absence of appropriate land laws and             Are violated more frequently: women are affected               Habitat Agenda
 policies and an absence of strong local government           disproportionately by forced evictions and
 structures.                                                  resettlement schemes, slum clearance, civil conflict,          Paragraph 25: Adequate shelter for all
How can security of tenure and access to basic services of    development projects, and globalization policies               Paragraph 26: Ensure full realisation of human rights
the urban poor be improved and how can sustainable            Are violated by additional actors: particularly in             Paragraph 27: Equal access to economic resources
human settlements be developed?                               Africa and parts of Asia, women also face evictions            Paragraph 40(b) + 61(b): Legal security of tenure
Laws and policies related to land and human                   by their spouses and in-laws. The HIV/AIDS                     and equal access to land to all people
settlements, land management and registration                 pandemic is only worsening this situation                      Paragraph 40(m): Strengthening of land
systems should minimise the hurdles the poor have to          Land, housing and property rights are usually                  management
overcome to obtain land and housing legally. These            registered in the name of the husband. That often              Paragraph 69(a): Co-ordinating and integrating
systems should become more accessible, both in                means that the woman may lose the marital home                 shelter and human settlements with, inter alia, land
terms of location, cost, time taken and user                  Awareness of women's rights among men and                      policies
friendliness, and be placed within a human rights             women is still alarmingly low
framework. Accessible legal remedies must be                                                                                 UN Commission             on     Human       Rights,
provided for in case of disputes and the violation of         Insufficient representation of women decision-                 Resolutions
rights. A flexible approach to innovative and informal        making and dispute settlement bodies contributes to            2000/13, 2001/34, 2002/49 and 2003/24 on
tenure types is the way forward.                              the exclusion of women.                                        "Women's equal ownership, access to and control
                                                                                                                             over land and the equal rights to own property and
                                                              "We urgently need concrete tools and strategies                to adequate housing".
Tools for affordable land management and                      to help us make women's equal rights to
flexible pro-poor tenure types must be                        adequate housing, land and property a reality on               Millennium Declaration: paragraphs 6 (equal
                                                              the ground."                                                   rights), 19 (by 2020, to have achieved a significant
                                                              Sumitra Manandhar Gurung, Lumanti Support Group                improvement in the lives of at least 100 million
                                                              for Shelter, Nepal & Esther Mwaura Muiru,                      slum dwellers) and 20 (gender equality)
                                                              Grassroots Women Operating Together in
                                                              Sisterhood, Kenya
                   OBJECTIVE                                                  PARTNERS
The main objective of the Land and Tenure Section is       The Land and Tenure Section networks with a
to further build and widely share concrete knowledge       number of partners to ensure that its research, tool
on those land management systems, policies, laws and       development and the identification of best practices is
practices that help achieve adequate shelter, and          co-ordinated, knowledge shared, and that priorities
security of tenure for all, particularly for women.        are jointly formulated.
                                                           Some of our main partners are:
                                                                                                                     SHELTER AND SUSTAINABLE HUMAN
                                                           International Research Group on Law and Urban
The priority activities of the Section are:                Space (IRGLUS) * International Federation of                SETTLEMENTS DEVELOPMENT
1. Research, Analysis and Tool Development
                                                           Surveyors (FIG) * Centre on Housing Rights &                         DIVISION
                                                           Evictions (COHRE) * Human Rights Watch (HRW) *
In-depth research and analysis of land management          Huairou Commission * Habitat International Coalition             SHELTER BRANCH
systems, policies and laws result in specific              (HIC) * Office of the High Commissioner for Human
recommendations for law and policy reform. These           Rights (OHCHR) * United Nations Development
recommendations are then used as a basis for the
development of tools and identification of best
                                                           Fund for Women (UNIFEM) * Food and Agricultural
                                                           Organization of the United Nations(FAO)                     The Land and
                                                                                                                       Tenure Section
practices on:
(a) implementation of equal rights to land, housing and                   PUBLICATIONS
    property rights, including inheritance and marital
    property rights and                                    Some of our publications, listed below, are also     
(b) upgrading informal settlements related to land use,    available on
    a range of pro-poor flexible tenure types and           Rights and Reality: Are women's equal rights to
    affordable land management options                      land, housing and property implemented in East            "We further commit ourselves to the objectives of…
2. Dissemination of Tools, Best Policies and                Africa? 2002 (HS/667/02E)                                 promoting legal security of tenure and equal access to
Practices                                                   Balkans Regional Housing Issues Profile, 2002             land to all people, including women and those living in
                                                                                                                      poverty"…Habitat Agenda, paragraph 40(b).
Tools, best policies and practices on affordable land       Urban Land Management and Local
management, pro-poor flexible tenure types and              Governance in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1999                    "Invites the Secretary-General to encourage all
strategies toward implementation of equal rights to         (HS/587/99F)                                              organizations and bodies of the United Nations system,
land, housing and property form part of the Global                                                                    individually and collectively, in particular UNDP, UN-
Campaign for Secure Tenure, and the UN Housing              Women's Rights to Land, Housing and
                                                            Property in Post-Conflict Situations and                  HABITAT and UNIFEM, to undertake further initiatives
Rights Programme. Tools are also made available to                                                                    that promote women's equal ownership of, access to
national and local governments, UN organisations and        During Reconstruction, 1999 (HS/589/99E)
                                                                                                                      and control over land and the equal rights to own
relevant     Special      Rapporteurs,    professional
                                                                   For more information contact:                      property and to adequate housing…; Resolution
organisations, civil society and slum dwellers for their
advocacy work and for implementation of relevant                      Chief, Land and Tenure Section                  2002/49 adopted by the UN Commission on
laws and policies.                                                           UN-HABITAT                               Human Rights in April 2002, paragraph "9.
                                                               PO Box 30030, 00100 Nairobi GPO, KENYA
3. Technical advice and substantive support                                                                           "A person or household can be said to have secure
                                                                           Fax: (254-20) 624265
                                                                    E-mail:                  tenure when they are protected from involuntary
The Land and Tenure Section provides technical advice
and substantive support on land issues to various              Web-site:          removal from their land or residence, except in
other sections and programmes within UN-HABITAT                                                                       exceptional circumstances, and then only by means of a
and to governments, in particular regarding secure                                                                    known and agreed legal procedure, which must itself be
tenure in post-conflict societies.                                                                                    objective, equally applicable, contestable and
                                                                                                                      independent." Global Campaign for Secure
                                                                                                                      Tenure, Implementing the Habitat Agenda:
                                                                                                                      Adequate Shelter for All
                                                            UNITED NATIONS HUMAN SETTLEMENTS PROGRAMME

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