It is well recognized that secure land and property rights for all are essential to reducing poverty because they underpin economic development and social inclusion. Although many countries have completely restructured their legal and regulatory framework related to land and they have tried to harmonize modern statutory law with customary ones, millions of people around the world still have insecure land tenure and property rights. Lack of access to land and the fear of eviction epitomize a pervasive exclusion of poor people from mainstream social, economic and civic opportunities, especially women. To address these problems, tools and strategies to increase poor people’s access to secure land and housing tenure need to be devised.
The Global Land Tool Network (GLTN), whose Secretariat is hosted by UN-Habitat, recognizes that security of tenure for the poor can best be improved by recognizing a range of types of land tenure beyond individual titles. The current thinking focuses on a “continuum of land rights” that is being promoted and increasingly accepted worldwide.
In this synthesis report, the issue of tenure security is addressed and assessed in several countries where government, civil society, the private sector and development cooperation initiatives have been implemented for decades. The selected case studies from fifteen (15) countries ensure not only a geographic balance but they also represent countries with different socio-economic and land-related histories and that have followed different pathways. The studies’ key findings underline the still precarious state of tenure security in many countries.