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[ONLINE FORUM] Recommendations for Action: improving land governance and security of tenure in Latin America and the Caribbean

Welcome dear participant!

In the framework of the Scoping Study “Responsible Governance and Security of Tenure in Urban and Peri-Urban Land in Latin America and the Caribbean: an analysis of 10 countries” – an initiative of the Global Land Tools Network (GLTN / UN-HABITAT) in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) and the support of a group of advisers – this Online Forum is launched to continue the discussion held at the Experts Group Meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica (July, 2016).

Following the excellent discussion held in San Jose, about a wide range of information and knowledge on secure tenure and urban land governance, we propose this Forum to focus on RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ACTION regarding the three themes below:

. Theme 1: Land governance, the new paradigms of secure tenure and access to urban land;

Theme 2: Land markets and the right to secure tenure and access to urbanized land;

Theme 3: Effective implementation of land instruments (laws, policies, institutional frameworks, strategies, practices, standards, methodologies).

The objectives of the discussion are to incorporate / clarify / expand contents; to deepen the lessons learned and its usefulness for other contexts; to prioritize recommendations for action.

To participate in the discussion:

. You can write your comment below (in the section “Deja un comentario”). You will need to fill your name (Nombre) and E-mail address (Correo electrónico) or register here to login to your account.

. If you need to send any file that is complementary to your comment in the Forum, you can (1) register here and (2) upload the document in our library. You can also send the document through email to suelourbano@habitat.org and we will make it available in our library.

. If you have any problem, don’t hesitate e-mail us at suelourbano@habitat.org and ben_koz@me.com

The debate will be held from August 15th until August 28th. The results from the discussion will contribute to the final report, which will be distributed widely in different countries in the region.

Find more information about the Study here.


  1. marialuisazanelli dice:

    Following, on the above comments:

    4. Security of tenure for women requires special attention, as Katia Araujo said during the EGM, it is important to include the gender perspective by considering the impact that tenure has on women regionally (increasingly are heads of households and mostly working women). This is key to prevent economic and patrimonial violence against women; given that the rights to land usually depends on their relationships with their partners, family-in-laws, community leaders, and they are critical voices over women’s own decisions.

    5. The massive formalization of property land rights in informal settlements, through legal land titles (as in Peru), and upgrading programs in informal settlements with legal land titling, basic services, job creation and community structures, especially for poor and vulnerable households (as in Brazil) have been the most popular strategies in the region (IDB, World Bank). They have delivered important progress in the region, but without the generation of affordable land supply for adequate housing, the dimension of the problem has been growing with the persistence of unplanned, informal urban growth, and territorial segregation with “pockets of poverty”.

    6. The presence of organized crime and drug trafficking groups in the city has a territorial expression; it puts at risk even highly formal and legal land occupation (in the Central America case “Casas Locas”, formal occupants were evicted and forced to transfer their ownership to criminal organizations via extortion). Moreover, Diego Restrepo said, that the process of guerrilla and paramilitary violence in the Colombian’ rural areas, has effects on the urban and peri-urban land of the host cities of displacement.

    7. Corruption is an effect of inadequate governance, with presence in any public sector; this sub-topic appears repeatedly during the EGM as a very sensitive issue (Diego Restrepo, Anna Pont, among many others). Anna, calls for the study to clearly highlight this topic with examples, based on the information received during the interviews of the study, and how it affects land governance and initiatives linked to the tenure.

  2. marialuisazanelli dice:

    The seven sub-topics I was referring to in my previous comment are the following:

    1. Low income households, as well as, decision-makers face big challenges given the increased process of urbanization with a high impact on land and housing.

    Municipal initiatives to govern land and secure tenure are still weak said Mr. Rafael Alvarez Espinoza, Mayor of the Municipality of Carabayllo and President of the network of municipalities (MUNIRED). Municipal responses to the unstoppable informal occupation, and the immense needs for basic services is not feasible, given both the scope of the problem, and the limited financial and management municipal resources. The municipal government capacity has been exceeded by the advance of the informal land sub-dividers said Mr. Espinoza, who also recognized that some advances are taking place in the region.

    By other side, social movements with the support of other actors have achieved successful initiatives to secure land tenure, as it was mentioned by Evaniza Rodriguez from Brazil. For example, the recognition of the right to use, regardless the formal/legal status of land tenure, and the inclusion of the Special Areas of Social Interest both as legal tools; as well as, local urban planning, land, housing, services and infrastructure management tools. However, Mrs. Rodriguez also indicates that much still remains to be done like to raise awareness on urban land governance: “people still do not understand the damage that abandoned and under-utilized buildings can do to the city, given that access to urbanized and well located land for the socially and economically vulnerable communities is almost non-existent”.

    2. The lack of coordination between the different levels of Government (local, State/departmental, national/federal), the resistance of some sectors -as the judiciary (like in Mexico, Brazil)- to a pro-active practice to change the status quo; as well as, institutional gaps in the borders of the urban and rural jurisdictions (the peri-urban) complicates land governance.

    3. The Legal/illegal, formal/informal binary vision of land occupation is limited to represent land dynamics in time and space; affecting the design of relevant strategies for a responsible land governance. For this reason, it would be more appropriate to refer to different systems or models of land tenure.

    Cases of illegal and informal occupation with security of tenure are currently evident, when informal agreements with legal land owners are in place (for example, the sale of land from ex-rural owners; informal but socially legitimated land rentals). On the other hand, households continue building (densification of precarious neighborhoods; densification of informal lots) even in conditions of insecurity of tenure. A process of des-formalization of tenure is taking place overtime, for example in impoverished old neighborhoods. In communities of Kingston, Jamaica, different forms of tenure are overlapped (“family land”, privately owned, rental of land separately from the construction); and finally there are many other systems based on the legitimacy of tenure, beyond the legality, as indicated by Lorena Zarate-HIC and Mario Rivera-HPH Mexico.

    Insecurity of tenure has high costs for the society, as it was mapped by Robin Rajack, Marcela Roman, and participants during the EGM: i. Vulnerability to evictions and market displacement by competing interests; ii) Lower priority for post-disaster/reconstruction assistance; iii. Differential access to credits, subsidies, basic services, housing quality, employment, etc.; iv. Lesser possibility of public revenue and value capture; and, v. exclusion from urban planning and development.

    Furthermore, Anna Pont an expert on humanitarian response illustrated how lack of tenure can create exclusion during and humanitarian response, considered the legal tenure of land as a requirement for humanitarian aid. Therefore there is an urgent need to “rescue” and recognize the different existing tenure systems.

    Finally but not least, there is no information in the Census about different types of tenure; or the information is inconsistent or contradictory; local information is usually under-represented; families are unaware of the situation on land tenure; and some simply prefer not to self-define the type of land tenure they have.

  3. marialuisazanelli dice:

    I would like to start this forum by thanking to each one of the persons who participated either in person, or virtually in the EGM; you all have contributed to generate a body of knowledge, based on your experiences on the ground as decision makers, activists, academic, researchers, advisors in policies, management, and actors n the implementation of actions related to urban land governance and security of tenure.

    At this stage of the study we would like to collectively build a path of action, with recommendations on priorities and the catalyzing actions to face the challenges of a responsible land governance and security of tenure. How? Who are key actors?

    Theme 1: Urban land governance, the new paradigms of security of tenure, and the access urbanized land.
    Seven subtopics that were strongly highly during the EGM are included below, which denotes socio-political, institutional conditions, and practices related to land as determinants in land governance, its relationship with land tenure, and the perceptions about security of tenure. This may help us to think and prioritize Recommendations for Action. We invite you to continue learning and sharing knowledge.


    a) What other contents you would add/clarify/expand because they are important and relevant to Recommendations for Action?
    b) What options of policies, strategies, others tools, as well as, lessons learned you would recommend to stakeholders for a responsible land governance in countries , to overcome the insecurity of tenure, and to generate available land for social housing, with affordable costs? (*)

    *) Initial recommendations to overcome the insecurity of land tenure and to prevent future informality were proposed in the EGM (see pages 11 and 12 of the EGM report in the Library: https://www.suelourbano.org/bibliotecas/2016/08/12/minutes-of-the-experts-group-meeting-land-governance-and-security-of-tenure-in-latin-america-and-the-caribbean/

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