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Policy Papers - October 15, 2005

Housing, Land, Property and Conflict Management: Identifying Policy Options for Rule of Law Programming

Agnes Hurwitz, Kaysie Studdard, and Rhodri Williams

 

 

Housing, land and property (HLP) policies should, as far as possible, be addressed in conjunction to ensure that residential and land rights are dealt with more comprehensively by domestic and international actors. Recent policy research and field practice have highlighted the need to consistently address HLP disputes in order to help break cyclical conflict and provide better conditions for social and economic development. As stated in the UN Secretary-General’s report, issues surrounding the transparent, equitable and efficient implementation of rights to housing, land and property repeatedly come to the fore as key rule of law concerns. Yet, capacity to assess and respond effectively still lags behind and does not receive systematic attention in the planning and implementation of international development and peacebuilding programs, especially within the UN system. Addressing this issue requires greater institutional attention through improved planning for HLP contingencies in development and postconflict settings and appropriate resource allocation.


Against this backdrop, IPI convened an Experts’ Workshop on Land, Property and Conflict Management, on December 2-3, 2004, organized by the rule of law project within the Security-Development Nexus Program. The Experts’ Workshop brought together scholars, policy-makers and practitioners from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to: a) discuss the importance of land and property disputes as they relate to violent conflict; b) contribute to a better understanding of the nature of land and property disputes and of their impact on past and potential conflict; and c) identify a set of policy recommendations and operational tools that are available to ensure the peaceful settlement of property and land disputes, and the establishment of legally secure property regimes.



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