Translate: Chinese (simple) | Chinese (traditional) | Dutch | French | German | Greek | Italian | Japanese | Korean | Portuguese | Russian | Spanish
Earth People Logo
Earth Rights Institute -- The Earth Belongs to Everyone
About Us Programs / Projects News & Events Publications Support Us Contact Us

United Nations HABITAT II Agenda -- Section B, 55 & 56

United Nations Habitat II Action Agenda
Section B. 55 & 56
June 15, 1996

B. Adequate Shelter for All

Ensuring access to land

55. Access to land and legal security of tenure are strategic prerequisites for the provision of adequate shelter for all and for the development of sustainable human settlements affecting both urban and rural areas. It is also one way of breaking the vicious circle of poverty. Every Government must show a commitment to promoting the provision of an adequate supply of land in the context of sustainable land-use policies. While recognizing the existence of different national laws and/or systems of land tenure, Governments at the appropriate levels, including local authorities, should nevertheless strive to remove all possible obstacles that may hamper equitable access to land and ensure that equal rights of women and men related to land and property are protected under the law. The failure to adopt, at all levels, appropriate rural and urban land policies and land management practices remains a primary cause of inequity and poverty. It is also the cause of increased living costs, the occupation of hazard-prone land, environmental degradation and the increased vulnerability of urban and rural habitats, affecting all people, especially disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, people living in poverty and low-income people.


56. To ensure an adequate supply of serviceable land, Governments, at the appropriate levels and in accordance with their legal framework, should:

(a) Recognize and legitimize the diversity of land delivery mechanisms;

(b) Decentralize land management responsibilities and provide local capacity-building programmes that recognize the role of key interested parties, where appropriate;

(c) Prepare comprehensive inventories of publicly held land and, where appropriate, develop programmes for making them available for shelter and human settlements development, including, where appropriate, development by non-governmental and community-based organizations;

(d) Apply transparent, comprehensive and equitable fiscal incentive mechanisms, as appropriate, to stimulate the efficient, accessible and environmentally sound use of land, and utilize land-based and other forms of taxation in mobilizing financial resources for service provision by local authorities;

(e) Consider fiscal and other measures, as appropriate, to promote the efficient functioning of the market for vacant land, ensuring the supply of housing and land for shelter development;

(f) Develop and implement land information systems and practices for managing land, including land value assessment, and seek to ensure that such information is readily available;

(g) Make full use of existing infrastructure in urban areas, encouraging optimal density of the occupation of available serviced land in accordance with its carrying capacity, at the same time ensuring the adequate provision of parks, play areas, common spaces and facilities, and plots of land for home gardening, as appropriate;

(h) Consider the adoption of innovative instruments that capture gains in land value and recover public investments;

(i) Consider the adoption of innovative instruments for the efficient and sustainable assembly and development of land, including, where appropriate, land readjustment and consolidation;

(j) Develop appropriate cadastral systems and streamline land registration procedures in order to facilitate the regularization of informal settlements, where appropriate, and simplify land transactions;

(k) Develop land codes and legal framework that define the nature of land and real property and the rights that are formally recognized;

(l) Mobilize local and regional expertise to promote research, the transfer of technology and education programmes to support land administration systems;

(m) Promote comprehensive rural development through such measures as equal access to land, land improvement, economic diversification, the development of small and medium-scale cities in rural areas and, where appropriate, indigenous land settlements;

(n) Ensure simple procedures for the transfer of land and conversion of land use within the context of a comprehensive policy framework, including the protection of arable land and the environment.