Land, women empowerment and socio-economic development – Union of Agricultural Work Committees, Palestine, Jordan

Overview of the areas of collaboration between GLTN and UAWC

UAWC and UN-Habitat / GLTN will collaborate in the following five areas of work:

  • Study on “evidence-based linkages between access to land and socio-economic development and empowerment, especially for women”.
  • Organise an Expert Group Meeting on Women’s access to Land.
  • Two training events on Women’s access to Land;

In addition, through the activities implemented in this contract, UAWC and UN-Habitat / GLTN will collaborate on:

  • Expanding the network of experts and institutions part of the Arab Land Initiative. Throughout the conduct of the different activities, UAWC will link up with new partners and develop new relationships with organisations and institutions – including the partners carrying out the other Agreements of cooperation.
  • Undertaking communication and visibility initiatives, ensuring that the content being developed, and the key activities undertaken as part of the project and the overall Arab Land Initiative will have a good media coverage and visibility (websites, media and social media, presentations at events, etc.)

Background on the content

Equal access to land and enhanced tenure security are crucial for poverty reduction, e.g. by provoding access to financial and economic resources, by increasing food security, by enabling people in both rural and urban areas to invest in improved homes and livelihoods, by providing access to loans, which can be reinvested in business etc. Thus, access to and control over land by both women and men can trigger broader social and economic development. Land ownership, increased knowledge about the economic value of land as well as a secure access to land administration and land related services (surveying, planning, registering, etc.) are key factors for empowering people in both rural and urban settings. Access to land, especially by the most vulnerable, can rebalance power relationships within the family, the community and the society. Access to and control over productive resources, including land, and independent income strengthens the land holder’s autonomy and brings about long-term benefits for society. Land owners become managers of economic assets, control financial resources and undertake their own economic activities. This economic independence is particularly important in conflict- and post-conflict settings, where the trheat of forced eviction is diminished.  Furthermore, owners of land rights with land documents and access to land administration become involved in local decision-making processes more easily, which are – especially in rural areas – often related to the use of and the control over land. Previous interventions and studies have shown that secure access to land rights and ownership lead to increased civic engagement and public participation.[1] The capacities and willingness to negotiate are increased.

The main goal of the study is to identify and analyze the linkages between land access and control and socio-economic empowerment – especially of the most vulnerable – in different countries of the Arab region. To what extent does land tenure impact economic and political participation and empowerment of different social groups? Several variables should be defined and used in order to measure the correlation between land tenure security and socio-economic development.

On the basis of the work done by GLTN on gender, such as the Gender Evaluation Criteria and the study on Women and Land in the Muslim World (more info on www.gltn.net), an Expert Group Meeting will be organized, bringing together experts with different professional backgrounds (academic, civil society, government, etc.) in order to debate on and share empirical evidence about women’s access to and control over land in different countries of the Arab region, to what extent the land tenure security correlates with different aspects of their empowerment (political, economic, social, etc.), also on conflict- and post-conflict situations, and what priority action should be undertaken by different land actors to improve women’s situation with regard to housing, land and property rights.

The two training events have several aims, such as: an increased understanding of the importance of women’s land rights and tenure security in national policy making and land reform, more particularly; an improved knowledge of the different channels for women in the Arab region to access land; as well as the familiarization with approaches and tools promoted by GLTN, promoting land tenure security for all, and especially for the most vulnerable, such as women (e.g. the fit-for-purpose land administration approach, the continuum of land rights as well as the Islamic land principles).

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