Securing Land and Property Rights for All

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Myanmar is undergoing fast, deep and multiple transitions in the economic, political and legal fields, including a peace process to end decades of civil wars. However, these complex and uneven processes are playing out at a slower pace when it comes to improving the protection environment for persons affected by conflict. It is therefore a key moment to plant the seeds for the restitution of housing, land and property (HLP) rights, as this will benefit the peace process, protection and development.

While some significant steps forward have already been taken and authorities have sought to improve the HLP situation after decades of “land grabbing” and forced displacement, much needs to be done to address the needs of the most vulnerable.

NRC in Myanmar, in co-operation with Displacement Solutions has recently developed three publications.


Transp. Intl. Gender Pub.

This guide is a product of the Transparency International Women, Land and Corruption in Africa project implemented by our chapters in Ghana, Uganda and Zimbabwe between 2014 and 2016. The project has enhanced our national and international research and advocacy by showing how land corruption impacts women’s land rights and communities’ food security. In April 2016, representatives of the participating nationalbchapters and cooperating women’s organisations shared insights from this project during a three-day workshop in Berlin.

This guide draws from their experiences and tools used in the project. The purpose of this document is to further support the Transparency International movement and other partners in making their work on land and corruption accessible and effective to both women and men.

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NLC reflection syriaNRC interviewed 580 Syrian refugee households in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq to assess their potential Housing, Land and Property (HLP) claims inside Syria if they were to return home.

The findings indicate a complex situation. There are high levels of ownership assertions which are not matched by supporting documents for a variety of reasons, including loss during forced displacement and historical cultural practices regarding transfer of title within families. Future restitution and compensation processes will therefore need to take into consideration the complexity of the pluralist nature of HLP rights prior to the conflict and also ensure that there are remedies for HLP violations that have occurred during the conflict.

Download Briefing NoteEnglish | Arabic


promoting gender equality foreign agricultural investmentsThis paper contributes to the emerging literature on the gendered impacts of the contemporary wave of foreign agricultural investments (Behrman, Meinzen-Dick & Quisumbing, 2012; Daley, 2011; Daley & Park, 2012; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO], 2013a–d, 2015; Doss, Summerfield, & Tsikata, 2014). The outcomes of agricultural investments for men and women often differ in rural areas of the Global South where gender inequalities are persistent. Barriers to women’s access to productive resources— production inputs, credit and training—reduce female agricultural producers’ yields by 20–30 per cent from their full potential (FAO, 2011).

Further, culturally based gender discrimination often leaves women with a heavier burden for care work, diminishes their access to education, restricts their access to land and limits options for decent paid work (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development [UNCTAD], 2015). The evidence presented in this paper indicates that these inequalities are often exacerbated by foreign agricultural investments, unless investors and host country governments work to ensure that investment contracts address the needs of women farmers and agricultural workers.

The purposes of this paper are three-fold. First, it seeks to analyze the gender-related content of the voluntary sustainability standards (VSSs) and the responsible investment frameworks. Second, it attempts to answer the question “Do VSSs improve gender equality?” And third, it aims to explore how the responsible investment frameworks can build on the successes and failures of the VSSs to improve gender equality in agricultural investment projects.

It uses the experiences of VSSs to provide guidance for responsible investment frameworks because the latter are quite new, and only scant anecdotal evidence about their impacts is available. The research is based on a desk review of the certification criteria and principles of five major VSS initiatives and five responsible investment frameworks, a literature review of the impacts of VSS initiatives on gender inequalities, and a close reading of policy reports and scholarly literature on the main obstacles to gender equality in agriculture, particularly in contexts of foreign direct investment.


Habitat state ofA Review of the Housing Microfinance Practice Around the Globe

Housing microfinance is a small but growing sector. As such, there is a dearth of research and information on how microfinance-based housing loan products are administered and performing. To build a greater understanding of this practice, Habitat for Humanity International, through its Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter, surveyed 83 financial institutions practicing housing microfinance. This is the second year the survey has been conducted, and the report assesses the current state, trends and challenges of the global housing microfinance sector based on survey results supported by external research. The survey was operated on the SurveyGizmo platform and collected responses for five months between December 2015 and April 2016.

It consisted of 43 base questions, with additional logic-based questions posed to gather detailed information from the institutions regarding the demographics of their borrowers, characteristics of their housing microfinance products, performance of their housing portfolios, and prospects for the future of housing microfinance within their institutions. During this edition, questions were structured to distinguish the characteristics of the housing microfinance loan portfolio from the overall lending portfolio in order to better understand the nuances of having such products and whether there is a business case for offering housing microfinance.

Additionally, the survey included questions on the tenure security of housing microfinance borrowers, as many low-income families do not own or do not have proof of ownership of the property on which they reside, which can complicate financing without the title guarantee, and can delay or jeopardize the home improvement project itself if the claim to the land is at risk. Data were analyzed to determine common themes among the surveyed institutions, then further examined to identify any distinctions based on geography, legal structure and asset size. Responding institutions also had opportunities to provide commentary alongside their answers, giving the report qualitative material to support the quantitative findings.

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