Background

The Arab region is undergoing a decade of profound change, where noticeable progress and positive transformation in some countries is clouded by the spiraling into social unrest and violent conflict of other countries. There is an increasing realisation that the way land is accessed, used and controlled is a key element of sustainable social and economic development, peace and stability, and realisation of human rights.

Good land governance is an important area of attention for the Arab region. The increase in armed conflicts and social unrest witnessed in the past decade is rooted in various issues, including land. Land administration in the Arab countries is still largely using conventional approaches hence the need to introduce the concept of “fit-for-purpose land administration” in order to meet the needs of people and their relationship to land, to support security of tenure for all and to sustainably manage land use and natural resources.

Women in the Arab region (especially those affected by conflict, displacement and migration) are widely acknowledged to be lagging behind their access to land and property rights. Desertification, land degradation, drought, and water scarcity are historical land-based resources challenges in the region, now being made more severe because of climate change and increased population pressure. Following the global trends, large scale land based investments are an increasingly appearing issue on the land governance landscape of the region, leading to inequity in distribution of benefits amongst all stakeholders, including the urban poor.

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