Home' Position : Position 86 Dec-Jan 2017 Contents legal or legitimate) in the context of
human rights. They are an international
“soft law instrument” that represents
a global consensus on internationally
accepted principles and standards for
responsible practices. Actors can then
determine whether their proposed
actions and the actions of others
constitute acceptable practices.
The United Nations Committee
of Experts on Global Geospatial
Information Management is mandated,
among other tasks, to provide a platform
for the development of effective
strategies on how to build and strengthen
national capacity on geospatial
information and disseminating best
practices. UN-GGIM has included land
administration activities into their remit
of global information management.
UN-GGIM is gaining influence in the
geospatial domain, including geodetic
frameworks and guidance to the
geospatial user community.
UN-HABITAT has developed an
innovative approach to addressing the land
tenure issue through the Social Tenure
Domain Model. This includes a “scaling
up approach” with a range of steps from
informal to more formalised land rights.
This continuum of land rights does
not mean that societies will necessarily
develop into freehold tenure systems, but
rather that each step in the process can be
formalised, providing a stronger protection
than at earlier stages. This ensures that
legitimate rights, such as customary
tenure, are recognised.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
from 1948 is stating the universal rights
of human beings based on the principle
of respect for the individual. In relation to
land and governance, the Declaration states
“that everyone has the right to possess
property (security of tenure) and the right
to adequate food, clothing and housing”.
The right to housing should be
seen as the right to live somewhere in
security, peace and dignity. Also, womeńs
access to land needs first and foremost
to be seen as a universal human right,
independently of any other arguments
in favour of it. Obviously human rights
and land governance are closely linked.
Human rights are fundamental and
should be encouraged and promoted
through building adequate systems of
land governance and administration that
are relevant and accessible for people
living in poverty.
Climate and Disasters
One of the elements in achieving
climate-resilient urban development and
sustainable rural land use is the degree
to which climate change adaptation
and disaster risk management are
mainstreamed into two major components
of land governance, namely: securing
and safeguarding of land rights; and
the planning and control of land use. In
this regard, responsible land governance
should be underpinned by Fit-For-Purpose
(FFP) land administration systems that
include security of tenure rights as well as
effective land-use planning and control.
Urbanisation is a major change that is
taking place globally. The tipping point
was reached in 2007 when over half the
world́s population was living in urban
areas and projections indicate that the
urban population will reach 60% by
2030. This incredibly rapid growth of
megacities causes severe ecological,
economic and social problems. It is
increasingly difficult to manage this
growth in a sustainable way.
It is recognised that over 70% of the
growth currently happens outside of the
formal planning process and that 30%
of urban populations in less developed
countries are living in slums or informal
settlements, i.e. where vacant state-owned
or private land is occupied illegally and
used for slum dwellings. In Sub-Sahara
Africa, 90% of all new urban settlements
are taking the form of slums.
Solutions to the overall global land issues
relate to alleviation of poverty, social
inclusion and stability, investments
and economic development, as well as
environmental protection and natural
"Land governance is now placed at the very
top of the global agenda."
Left: Figure 1. The Sustainable
Development Goals where Goal
1,2,5,11 15 and 16 are land related.
Below: Figure 2. The Wider Global
Agenda includes a range of land
related issues and agendas.
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