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.
Relevant land issue
|Social Cohesion and Equity – Liveable Cities||
|Urban Ecology and Environment||
|Urban Housing and Basic Services||
Challenges cities are facing as identified by UN-Habitat
Relevant land related challenges
|Large scale urban poverty in many countries||
|The steady increase in the number of slum dwellers||
|The emergence of new forms of poverty vulnerability and marginalization||—|
|Rising inequalities in urban areas across the world||
|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:
- UN Task Team which prepared the 22 issue papers on Habitat III, including the one on urban land
- 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.)
- Involvement in regional and thematic meetings in Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America/Caribbean
- Preparation of a strategic paper on land and the new urban agenda
- Negotiations with member-states and different stakeholders on the articulation of land in the input policy papers
- 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
- Land is at the centre of sustainable urbanization.
- 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.
- 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
- 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)
- As land is a finite resource it needs to be used efficiently balancing social and economic goals while protecting the environment.
- Do not compromise with land if environmental sustainability is at risk
- No socio-economic development without spatial inclusion
- Harnessing the transformative power of land based-financing and ensuring the equitable sharing of land market profits for the benefit of all city dwellers
- Fighting corruption in land transfer and development is key to sustainable urban development
- 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
- GLTN – Roadmap to Quito
- Strategic Paper on Land: Advocacy material for GLTN partners and Secretariat in the events leading to Habitat III in October 2016 : Short Version
- Strategic Paper on Land: Advocacy material for GLTN partners and Secretariat in the events leading to Habitat III in October 2016 : Full Report
- Land in the New Urban Agenda – A Briefing note for Policy-Makers (Arabic | English | Spanish | Portuguese )
- Land in the New Urban Agenda – Brief ( Arabic | English |French | Spanish | Portuguese )
- Land and the New Urban Agenda : A UN-HABITAT wide briefing on 9 June 2016,
- Land and the New Urban Agenda – Presentation