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08-03: Improving Access to Land for Returnees and IDPs
Improving Access to State Land for Returnees and IDPs in Afghanistan
1UN-Habitat Afghanistan; 2United Nations Mission in South Sudan; 3CEO of Afghanistan Independent Land Authority (Arazi)
This report focuses on a new legal framework recently developed in Afghanistan to allocate suitable state land to the displaced population. The finalisation, adoption, and implementation of this new legal framework is crucial to ensure that the most vulnerable and landless members of Afghanistan’s displaced population receive durable and sustainable land and housing options. This report provides an overview of Afghanistan’s previous land allocation framework and explains the events that led to the Government’s development of a new and improved framework. It also examines the procedure to assess and allocate land anticipated by the new framework and underscores important innovations. Finally, the report provides recommendations on how, once finalised and hopefully adopted, the Government could operationalise the legal framework to ensure that the carefully crafted provisions translate into actual assessments of suitable land and the allocation of land parcels to Afghanistan’s most vulnerable returnees and IDPs.
Preparing the ground for property restitution in the Syrian Arab Republic
Norwegian Refugee Council, Syria Response Office
Given the sheer scale of displacement and destruction, an eventual, sustainable return to Syria will only be possible if returnees are able to integrate at a location of their choice, where physical security, access to livelihoods and basic services have been restored and where, importantly, housing, land and property (HLP) restitution processes have been established. The millions who eventually choose to return will face housing shortages, disputes over ownership and usage rights, the emergence of conflicts related to a significant reduction in usable land and the lack of HLP documentation.
Based on extensive research and interviews with over 2000 Syrian internally displaced people and refugees, this paper provides recommendations to policymakers and practitioners on how to prepare for the immense challenges that lie ahead. It explains the need for clear mechanisms for property restitution and compensation that include particular measures to support claims from displaced women.
Using Geospatial Data to Track Land Tenure Security in Syria
The World Bank, United States of America
Violent conflict often undermines land tenure security, especially for vulnerable persons such as the poor, women, displaced persons and minorities. Loss of tenure security in turn can translate into increased poverty and exclusion in post-conflict settings. The impact of conflict on land tenure security needs to be understood to develop effective transitional justice and post-conflict land administrative processes. Land tenure security in Syria has been impacted by forced displacement, destruction of property, confiscation of property and fraudulent land transfers. This paper uses geospatial data to analyze the channels through which land tenure security has been undermined during and after periods of conflict in Homs Governorate. The geospatial data utilized includes commercial optical and visible infrared (VIIRS) imagery, publicly available social media posts, YouTube videos and recorded statements. The data was then combined with administrative data to develop a Land Confiscation Risk Index for neighborhoods of the urban area of Homs.