GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON ACCESS TO LAND
AND SECURITY OF TENURE AS A CONDITION FOR SUSTAINABLE
SHELTER AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
New Delhi, India 17-19 January, 1996
The Government of India (Ministry of Urban Affairs
Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO)
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS)
Urban Management Programme, (UNDP, World Bank,
Development Planning Unit (DPU, University College,
In collaboration with
International Federation of Surveyors (FIG)
Habitat International Coalition (HIC)
International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI)
National Housing Bank (India)
The Governments of France, The Netherlands, Norway,
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
The Commonwealth Foundation USAID (India)
NEW DELHI DECLARATION
GLOBAL PLATFORM ON
ACCESS TO LAND
AND SECURITY OF TENURE
CONDITION FOR SUSTAINABLE
AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
NEW DELHI DECLARATION
We, the participants in the Global Conference on Access to Land and
Security of Tenure as a Condition for Sustainable Shelter and Urban Development,
held in New Delhi, India, 17-19 January, 1996, have prepared this consolidated
platform on land issues in support of the implementation of Habitat II's
Global Plan of Action which will be adopted at the second United Nations
Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), scheduled to take place in
Istanbul, Turkey, in June this year.
Habitat II will address the need for "land and shelter for all and land
policies for sustainable human settlements in an urbanizing world". However,
to do this it needs to draw upon experiences of the public sector and the
informal and formal private sectors (business and community sectors) from
developed and developing countries alike. Of particular importance to this
process are contributions from political leaders, government officials,
local authorities and other representatives of civic society.
The three-day conference has based its deliberations on the results
of a series of five regional consultations and two thematic consultations
on land, held respectively as follows :
|Africa and the Arab States
||Abidjan, Côte d' Ivoire
||(24-25 March, 1995)
|Asia and the Pacific
||(28-30 August, 1995)
|Latin America and the
||Belo Horizonte, Brazil
||(11-15 September, 1995)
||San José, Costa Rica
||(11-13 September, 1995)
|Western and Eastern Europe
||Various UNECE meetings
|International Seminar on "Women's
Access Land and Property"
||(9-11 October, 1995)
The Specific Issue of "Access to Land and Resolution of Land Conflicts"
highlighted at the International Seminar on Urban Security held in La Reunion,
13-15 December 1995, contributed to the background information for the
New Delhi Global Conference.
The overview of regional and thematic deliberations outlines six key
elements of urban land reform:
Presentations from the regions emphasized specific recommendations as follows:
Security of tenure, with governments taking positive steps regarding land
Access to land, especially the reduction of legal and bureaucratic restrictions;
Management of public land as a valuable resource;
Benefits to the poor by enhancing their access to land and strengthening
participation in land-policy formulation and project implementation;
Equity for women by providing legal rights, enforcing their implementation
and removing cultural and socio-economic barriers;
Concern for sustainable urban development.
From Africa and the Arab States:
From Asia and the Pacific:
to review laws, norms and regulations in order to reduce women's exclusion
from and improve their access to secure land tenure and housing;
to strengthen the role of local authorities in land management, including
the operation of land-information systems, land taxation, programmes to
strengthen land tenure, etc.
to mobilize international financial resources which can reduce the burden
imposed on the poor as the result of structural adjustment programmes;
From Latin America and the Caribbean:
to develop equitable and efficient urban land management systems;
to create an inspiring environment for effective partnership between governments
at the central and local levels with the private sector (business and community
to promote a people-oriented approach to land management;
to address the root causes of poverty and segregation at the macro level;
to adopt norms and standards affordable to the full range of socio-economic
to extend the recognition of the right to land by implementing regularization
for the Island countries of the Caribbean region, to pursue land reform
protecting the interests of the poor and traditional communities, and reducing
environmental degradation by natural disasters.
Countries in Transition
to promote a new land-administration system which accepts a simplified
registration system as a condition for title, security and credit;
to monitor the performance of the land and property market;
to monitor land use, land taxation and the environmental impact of urban
to cover all land and property with legislation, including urban and rural
areas, State and private land.
General Issue on Women's Legal Access to Land and Property:
to mitigate the negative social effects of a free land market;
to acknowledge the shortage of affordable housing coupled with joblessness;
homelessness and an inequitable distribution of wealth;
to strengthen the role and responsibilities of local authorities in providing
social housing solutions.
INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW DELHI DECLARATION
to use as a guiding principle: "Men and women shall have full and equal
access to economic resources, including the right to inheritance and ownership
of land and property...." (Beijing Platform for Action, paragraph 63 b);
to ensure consistency between international economic policies and the United
Nations Conventions on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against
to create an enabling environment at the national level which ensures that
women and men have equal access to land and property rights;
to review, modify, and clarify existing legislation;
to develop mechanisms to implement and enforce equitable laws, including
the promotion of education, training, information dissemination, counselling
and local legal-aid local centres.
Human settlements have essential functions which must be performed,
and a new sense of responsibility has arisen to ensure that these functions
are performed and performed well. The efforts of all kinds of institutions,
organizations, communities and individuals to shape life in human settlements
provides a rich source of knowledge of successes and failures. Much of
this experience has been systematically observed, recorded, and analyzed
in order that further attempts can be guided by the results of the past.
This calls for a cross analysis of the most innovative aspects of human
settlements management. Major barriers to satisfactory urban management
are not merely the result of a lack of resources. They are also to be found
in the inadequate capacity of the actors involved to cooperate and coordinate.
From the lessons of experience, we have learned that land management
can be improved through better performance of the public sector, and the
involvement of a greater diversity of actors, both formal and informal,
in the urban development process.
In this context, land emerges as one of the key factors in improving
the management of human settlements. Over the last decade, major programmes
for developing and servicing urban land have been called into question,
due to the sustained high rate of increase in the price of land and to
the development of diversification and increased commercialization of irregular
systems of land and housing production and management, characterized by
insecure tenure and the lack of infrastructure and services.
The extent of informal or irregular settlements varies from country
to country, comprising 20 per cent to 80 per cent of urban growth and affecting
15 percent to 70 percent of the urban populations of developing countries.
Informal areas are important economic and social components of a city.
These neighbourhoods are not recognized and are therefore deprived of facilities.
Women and children suffer the most, and environmental problems are substantial.
This situation hampers the social and economic integration of low-income
urban households, makes access to credit for housing harder, and reduces
people's capacity to develop productive activities. In addition, such situations
do not encourage community participation in the planning, management, and
maintenance of neighbourhood physical and social services and infrastructure
at the city level. Accordingly, equitable access to land and security of
tenure are considered major challenges Governments will have to face in
the forthcoming years.
Our deliberations have drawn from the wealth of experiences brought
to Delhi in the reports of recent conferences noted in the Preamble, as
well as in the extensive professional histories of those taking part, gathered
from around the world. It was intended that this meeting would concern
itself with improvements in access to land and to security of tenure. However,
this meeting like others before it, has chosen in the event to take a wider
scope and to challenge obstacles to sustainable, productive, and equitable
urban development. Consequently our deliberations were conducted around
five topics, chosen because of the place they hold in the forefront of
concerns about urban land. These topics head the individual sections of
the Declaration which follows. The dual matters of security of tenure and
access to land cut through all of these sections.
1. DECENTRALIZATION AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Nearly all countries are in the process of decentralizing and redefining
the role of the State, partly due to the fact that so many central land
management policies did not meet expectations.
Decentralization of land management, functions, resources and powers
will consequently improve access to land. By decentralization, we mean
the devolution of powers, functions and the administration of programmes
from central government to regional/local authorities and even to lower
tiers at the community levels.
Greater decentralization can overcome obstacles to action arising from
the political preoccupations of central government and weak political will
at the national level. It can permit the use of procedures which are more
sensitive to local conditions, more accountable, and more transparent because
they are more open to public scrutiny and amendment.
Local government is the most appropriate level of government to handle
land management in favour of the local populations. This would demand a
modification of its present role.
Democratization of the political process enhances decentralization .
By democratization, we mean elected representation and popular participation
in the decision-making process. Empowerment of local authorities and local
communities is essential in improving access to land and resolving land
disputes. They have to be invested with powers and financial resources
corresponding to their new responsibilities.
Local government policies should aim for social and gender equity, which
implies preferential access for women and low income groups.
There are many central government activities which could benefit by
being decentralized, but this is not necessarily true of all aspects of
land administration and planning.
2. INFORMAL LAND DEVELOPMENT
The transfer of appropriate land management responsibilities to local government
is a priority. It should be organized and executed in accord with the specific
characteristics of a country. The roles and functions which are decentralized
should be formally identified, perhaps in legislation.
Changes induced by the transfer of land management responsibilities have
to be reflected not only in legislation but also in the formulation of
land-use regulations and the allocation to local government of the required
Local governments should be involved in the planning, design, implementation
and supervision of programmes of action. They should play a major role
in land regularization. They should also have the power to appropriate
land. Central governments should define and formulate national policies
and provide of institutional and legal frameworks for decentralization.
Decentralization will allow the creation of better vertical coordination
between "bottom up" information and local interest and "top-down" information
and policy guidance which can harmonize overall national development policy
with local programmes. By giving power to local authorities, decentralization
enables the empowerment of communities. Governments at both levels must
manage public land for the good of their people. Land in public ownership
must be seen as the immensely valuable resource for social and economic
development which it is.
Resolutions of land disputes should be quick, clear and simplified. The
conflicts should be first resolved at the community level through land
tribunals or other such special legal bodies to speed up the settlement
of disputes. Each individual should have the right to appeal to an appropriate
legal institution. Mechanisms should assure that associations and other
collective organizations should have the right of appeal so that social
interests can be safeguarded.
Municipal land policies should anticipate future development in order to
carry out long-term strategies. They should establish land-delivery mechanisms,
including the use of land banks and the demarcation of communal land reserves.
Local governments should develop land-use guidelines and building regulations,
taking into account a diversity of uses for land.
Municipal land policies should give priority to social and gender equity.
People's participation should be encouraged to empower the poor and the
weaker sections of the society. Processing land records at the local level
will facilitate access to land by the poor, particularly women. The allocation
of public land should ensure a good mix among various income groups.
Local governments should make information on land more accessible by setting
up and managing a system of land records which is open to the public. Local
governments should estimate the demand and supply of land and indicate
mechanisms by which available land can be accessed.
Local governments should utilize contractual relations with the State,
community-based and non-governmental organizations (CBOs and NGOs), and
other public and private actors to help provide infrastructure and services.
Cooperation between municipalities should be encouraged.
Land taxation is the most important potential tool for financing land development
and for providing local services. Local governments should use this tool
and do so with efficiency. Central governments should devolve property
taxation powers to local authorities.
Central governments must ensure that local authorities have adequate resources
to finance urban land programmes, including the possibility for local governments
to have access to loans.
Where local governments lack capacity, personnel in charge of land management
should be given urgent training, and additional capacity should be sought
from national governments and the private sector.
Unions of elected officials, professional associations, and associations
of local authorities should be strengthened in order to increase the effectiveness
of local elected authorities and managers.
Local governments should take advantage of the possibilities offered by
international cooperation. The international community should support the
efforts of local authorities by promoting the mobilization of international
cooperation on land policy issues. The access of local authorities to international
mechanisms to finance urban land programmes and to facilitate innovative
systems should be improved.
Both negative and positive aspects of irregular land development should
be realistically recognized. Although informal land development generates
access to land and unserviced settlements, such development does not offer
sufficient security of tenure, may have poor infrastructure, and may be
exploitative. However, it offers a wide range of access to land opportunities
for the urban poor, in a context where neither the public nor the formal
private sector can cope with the demand.
As such, the informal land development sector is to be recognized as
a key element in the social and economic viability of the city. There is
a relationship of mutual dependence between formal and informal land development.
Accordingly, rather than be immobilized by the illegality of situations,
governments should undertake positive actions to transform existing uncertain
claims and unauthorized uses into rights to land which are recognized by
society and law.
A diversity of land-delivery systems and land-development actors which
includes those which are informal should be recognized as an asset, not
as a liability.
Conventional planning approaches and land policies should be revised
in order to fit situations in which most shelter supply is the result of
informal land development. Security of tenure should be given to inhabitants
of irregular settlements. Relocation within or off a site should be negotiated
in exchange for improvements to tenure where it is in the public interest
to free land for other purposes.
Claims to land rights arising from unofficial allocations by traditional
land-management systems should be recognized wherever these claims are
feasible and equitable in terms of the public interest.
These principles aim to generate new investment in urban land by current
users, to avoid substantial hardship for populations already disadvantaged,
and to increase the fairness with which the benefits of land are distributed.
3. COMMUNITY-SECTOR PARTICIPATION IN TENURE
REGULARIZATION AND LAND DEVELOPMENT
A base should be provided for improving or making more efficient relationships
between the formal and informal sectors by :
obtaining and updating a profile of the informal sector such as who is
included, in what number, pursuing what occupations, and with what capacities.
This calls for different approaches and support such as resettlement, improvement,
securing information on how this market works to generate proper interventions.
The mode of public intervention in land development should be drastically
changed, rather than continuing to impose rules which cannot be implemented.
Public authorities should guide and assist informal development, giving
due consideration to environmental criteria. Replication of innovative
experiments in guided land- development schemes, in which a wide diversity
of development both formal and informal are encouraged to produce unserviced
sites, should be promoted.
Unrealistic legal restrictions on land use should be drastically revised
in order to reduce the illegal use of land in the future as well as to
undertake the tenure regularization process in existing informal settlements.
In existing irregular settlements, legal tenure regularization should not
be considered as a prerequisite for delivery or improvement of infrastructure
and services, and the range of options which are available for tenure security
should be utilized. These include occupancy rights, various forms of leasehold
and collective ownership, as well as individual land titles. Intermediate
forms of improved tenure can be provided where full tenure or legalization
is confronted by major difficulties, is too costly, or will take too long.
Basic infrastructure services (namely water, sanitation and access to roads)
should be provided by public facilities, as should provision of social
infrastructure which is children- and gender-sensitive. The use of land
taxation should be encouraged to finance public facilities.
In order to guide informal land development, an incremental approach to
the provision of tenure should be adopted. There is a wide spectrum of
tenure arrangements, starting from the lowest (whether perceived or actual)
to the highest (ownership). There can be a gradation of steps moving from
mere occupancy to leasehold to ownership. The appropriate form of tenure
will depend on the type of occupants of the informal land, their expectations
and the arrangements they have entered into with the owner of the land,
whether government or private.
Mechanisms such as channels of access to credit for women and the poor
should be established which allow informal land development to be improved
Community participation is a vital instrument in achieving sustainable
shelter for the urban poor and landless.
The overall aim of community participation should be to facilitate increased
access by all citizens, especially the urban poor, to affordable and appropriately-located
land with security of tenure and development rights ensuring access to
safe and secure habitat including essential services, especially to women
and children, restricted only by essential environmental, public health,
and public-safety regulations.
Policies, institutions and administrative instruments which provide
for the distribution and management of urban land should be based on the
principles of equity, efficiency, flexibility and participation -- especially
by the urban poor with special emphasis on women and children.
Participatory approaches will :
When the need for basic services is acknowledged as a right and not a welfare
measure by government, the process of community participation and provision
of services is facilitated. This allows integration of government programmes
with the community's felt needs, and promotes their sustainability.
lead to clear and more relevant objectives;
create a feeling of ownership by the community of policies and strategies;
utilize people's extensive knowledge of their own conditions;
promote public awareness which can help strengthen and enforce political
will and generate local initiatives and power in exercising rights as citizens;
promote transparency and accountability in the planning and implementation
of policies and programmes.
4. FORMAL PRIVATE SECTOR PARTICIPATION INCLUDING PUBLIC-PRIVATE
Community planning of land use, infrastructure upgrading and maintenance
should be encouraged as components of community land management. To achieve
this, the organizational and technical capability of the community needs
to be enhanced by training and technical assistance.
Communities should be encouraged and empowered to address the relationship
between transportation and land use by promoting multifunctional settlements
and multiple site uses which reduce mobility requirements.
Communities should not only be involved in the development planning and
land management of their own settlements, but should have inputs into broader
planning activities that impact upon them, such as the city-wide provision
of infrastructure and services.
Community, collective, or cooperative land ownership can provide a permanent
or intermediate form of secure tenure. Within such a community-controlled
and managed land, a range of tenure arrangements suitable to community
needs can be accommodated including rental, short- and long-term tenure.
All people living within communities should be recognized as eligible for
local participation regardless of their formal status, including tenants
and squatters. Men and women should be treated equally whether they live
alone or are members of a family, and measures should be taken to ensure
that children's needs are included.
The poor, women and other special groups, which in fact constitute the
majority in most societies, should be considered as citizens with rights
and responsibilities and not only as target or vulnerable groups. The present
land and building regulatory framework, which serves the needs of minorities
in the population, needs to be made relevant to the majority's needs; customary
and legal restrictions on women and other minority groups to own land and
buildings should be eradicated. This should in no way defract from the
rights assured to women and children under the Conventions on the Elimination
of all Discrimination against Women and Convention on the Rights of the
It is not enough for Governments to be neutral in addressing the land needs
of various and competing interests. The State should actively seek the
interests of the poor and those with insecure tenure. Where there is a
history of exclusionary land-holding systems, the State should undertake
urban land reform to correct the resultant imbalances.
Governments should not only facilitate the community land management process
by providing the appropriate statutory and institutional environment, but
also ensure that it takes place.
More governments must attempt to replicate the success of strategies that
negotiate infrastructure funding and/or construction by land developers,
that utilize community labour and other community resources, and that provide
additional public revenues for infrastructure construction.
Traditional systems of community land management should be encouraged to
facilitate convergence of equitable traditional land-allocation processes
with land- market mechanisms.
NGOs and CBOs should be utilized as links between local or municipal government
and the community with respect to the dissemination of land-related information,
mobilization of resources and participation in the planning and urban-management
To facilitate an enhanced role by CBOs there should be institutional strengthening
and technical assistance that does not compromise their independence as
advocates of their communities. Financial mechanisms will be required which
give community associations independent access to credit and funding.
Communities should be seen as equal partners with local and municipal authorities
in land-management so that adjoining open and "waste" lands can be incorporated
within their jurisdiction and managed as public space. The participation
entailed in much informal land development should be recognized.
Community-based land management practice must itself be flexible and be
allowed the appropriate scope to include innovative and best practices.
The creation of local community groups should be actively supported, as
it is a necessity for the interaction between neighborhoods and the local
authorities, land-owners, etc. NGOs should be encouraged to play an important
role in assisting neighborhoods to create community groups, as well as
assisting them in their interaction with the authorities.
Public-private partnerships based on principles of equity, economy,
efficiency, flexibility and participation can lead to better land management
and greater access to land and security of tenure.
Effective partnerships between government, private business, and land-owning
sectors need to be fostered through facilitating access to land and its
development by these actors.
In current forms of such partnerships, redistribution of value-added
benefits is inequitable and to the advantage of speculators/brokers; this
inequity must be addressed.
The government's role should be to inspire, enable and facilitate formal
private sector initiatives through an appropriate policy framework, rather
than to directly involve itself in project implementation and execution.
The "formal private sector " is not a homogenous group, but includes
the private business sector, the community-based private sector (such as
cooperatives) and the land-owning sector (such as customary land-owners
in Africa). Likewise "partnerships" include private-public partnerships
and private-public joint ventures in relation to development programmes,
rather than individual private purchases on the open market. Furthermore,
a distinction can be made between private- sector involvement in "retroactive"
situations (such as urban re-development) and pro-active ones.
5. NORMS, STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES FOR FACILITATING IMPLEMENTATION
The government sector should foster within itself attitudes conducive to
supporting private-public partnership and awareness for making choices
retraining public servants and raising their awareness and that of their
political masters so that they will favour a pro-active approach which
activates and inspires the private and community sectors as well as various
levels of government, as an alternative to the essentially passive approach
of land-use regulation.
acquiring knowledge of land markets which is adequate to negotiate successful
participation of the private sector in land development which satisfies
the public interest.
Efforts should be initiated by governments, possibly with the involvement
of associations/federations of private sector actors to :
enhance awareness of the private business sector, CBOs and NGOs in relation
to the processes, practices and procedures of effective partnerships in
urban land management;
educate firms about good urban land management and, sometimes, about good
subdivision and layout practices, so that they more effectively and responsibly
take part in land development.
Innovative mechanisms of consumer consciousness such as consumer forums,
consumer watches, etc., should replace conventional accountability systems
such as audits and legislative controls.
Acknowledging the diversity of the formal private sector, there should
be differentiated approaches to private-public partnerships as well as
clarity on the relative positions of different private- sector actors vis
vis Governments. In particular:
different actors affecting urban land should be guided and stimulated with
appropriate information, advice, financial and land incentives, and regulated
through differentiated partnership arrangements or contracts;
whenever a selection has to be made between private business and the community-based
private sector, priority should be accorded to the latter;
There should be clarity of responsibilities and transparency in relationships
in private-public partnerships so as to create a conducive framework and
conditions for efficient private-sector participation, as well as for improving
access to land for the disadvantaged and for public facilities.
In order to ensure the primacy of the public good, mechanisms for formal
private- sector participation should be designed to ensure that they include
access to land for the urban poor and other disadvantaged groups. Public-private
partnerships should also take cognizance of any impediments affecting women
or particular population sectors. In particular:
provision of some low-cost plots should be negotiated with land-owners
and companies seeking permission to build or subdivide. Small but significant
supplies of land to the sub-markets of the poorer households are being
achieved in this way;
government partnerships with the private and community sectors should be
used to cross-subsidize the provision of affordable plots;
the rights of women and children in the management of land resources in
public-private partnerships should be ensured by generating value-added
benefits especially for them, ensuring their access to land through appropriate
financial and credit mechanisms, and creating appropriate forms of tenure;
a degree of control should be maintained in order to safeguard essential
environmental conditions and standards of public safety and health;
the contribution of service infrastructure by public authorities should
be used as a means to negotiate or motivate actions which are in the public
interest by residents, land-owners, and companies alike;
the government should maintain the ultimate right to refuse land development
so that it is possible to negotiate a fair degree of public benefit from
private land use.
In view of the variety of motivations that drive the actions of various
players in land markets, effective mediation by NGOs, development consultants
etc. can help in bridging the interests of community, government and private
sector actors. In particular:
the involvement of intermediaries (such as NGOs, individuals and consultants)
in articulating positions for negotiation in public-private partnership
arrangements should be promoted; and
institutions for redressing issues of conflict in negotiated agreements
should be set up.
In situations where land markets are not fully developed or the private
sector's role is not fully articulated, the emergence and growth of private-sector
institutions, such as real estate developers and cooperatives, as partners
should be encouraged by facilitating their access to land and to other
inputs on terms that promote the provision of affordable shelter.
Urban land management should strive to achieve sustainable cities. The
regulatory framework, through norms, standards and controls, should be
guided by the enabling shelter strategy with its accent on realistic needs
and resource limitations. It should aim to be simple, equitable, efficient,
flexible and at the same time transparent. The review of norms should adopt
a participatory approach. The regulatory regime should adequately respond
to emerging dynamic changes. The outmoded, archaic specification driven
approach should give way to multi-functional performance orientation, integration
of house-cum-work areas, with positive mixed-use development. The planning
standards, development-control rules, building regulations and codes should
provide for innovative planning/design and incremental approaches with
sustainable transportation modes, efficient and optimum utilization of
Often the existing procedures and regulations inhibit implementation
of land access related initiatives. These impediments should be removed
and the procedure for land titling/registration should be reformulated
to provide increasing access to land and security of tenure. Further, the
existing lack of financial access by low-income households, due to lack
of formal security of land tenure and to unaffordability, needs to be especially
addressed. The linkage of access to land and shelter, with work needs and
with basic social and physical infrastructure and services, should be recognized.
Existing unrealistic and irrelevant building regulations also come in the
way of getting finance for land/shelter. Innovative financing strategies
for the acquisition/development of land should be introduced, keeping in
mind equity and viability. Means of acquiring land/shelter finance must
be secured on a more constant basis, while funding sources should be diversified.
Land as a resource should be innovatively harnessed to provide access to
the needy at affordable prices.
Every Government must show a commitment to ensuring the provision of an
adequate supply of land for sustainable shelter through a comprehensive
The development of the land market has to be supported by effective legislative
arrangements. This task relies on central governments, which have to develop
flexible and varied mechanisms aimed at mobilizing land with diverse legal
statuses and should be implemented as appropriate at the local level. The
development of the land market requires dissemination of information for
fiscal purposes and for facilitating credit for land acquisition and servicing
under different forms of tenure: rent, lease, concessionary, etc.
The aim of the actions recommended here should be to increase the supply
of urban land offered for sale or lease which is affordable by those particular
socio-economic groups which experience substantial difficulty in obtaining
land rights. The following measures can be successful in this way:
reduce legal restrictions arising from land policies which determine the
amounts of land for particular uses and intensities of use, which fix their
locations, and which prohibit multiple uses;
reduce the bureaucratic procedures required by land-regulation systems
which add to land prices the significant cost of official and illegal payments
and delays, thereby removing the land from markets in which low-income
improve the ability of cadastral, land-registration and land-information
systems to clear titles and formally define parcels so that impediments
to efficient market operations are removed. Inappropriate, inefficient,
slow and expensive cadastral, land-registration and land-information systems
should be reformed because they are essential to well-functioning land
markets, to the provision of secure tenure, and to the guarantee of land
rights. Inefficient land markets have constricted land supplies, reducing
access to land. Confused and unrecorded claims to rights of use are a major
cause of weak tenure;
use incentives and penalties (e.g. taxes) on suitable vacant land to bring
it onto the market.
Legal and customary barriers to the ownership of land arising from gender,
racial or ethnic biases should be removed. Priority should be given to
women who are heads of households in programmes and projects which allocate,
or enhance, the benefits of land rights.
The legal rights to land and property for women should be reformed so that
they have equal access to land and they receive the benefits of steps to
improve tenure. Customary and legal restrictions on their abilities to
own land should be removed.
The existing regulatory framework pertaining to land should be streamlined
and simplified, especially to implement regularization by locating bottlenecks
in regulatory procedures, in order that effective reforms can be made,
making legal procedures easily accessible and easily understandable to
Specific legal procedures should be established for urban land tenure regularization
through specialized branches of the judiciary to handle urban land issues
when cases move beyond community-level bodies for conflict resolution.
This is necessary to promote speedier conflict resolution, reduce costs
and streamline transactions such as property registration, that are seen
as some of the worst bottlenecks of regularization processes. Moreover,
it is necessary to establish external mechanisms for public control of
In land regularization and the upgrading of informal settlements, the existing
specific features of the local built environment, appropriate norms and
standards, and the life-styles of the people must be respected to the extent
that is possible without compromising the health, safety and environmental
well-being of the occupants; planning regulations should provide for the
Land-use zones requiring the use of specific planning standards which favour
the poor should be created, thereby improving the access to urban land
by excluded low-income households, who need it for houses and supplementary
The informal sector supplies a substantial portion of land for shelter.
Therefore realistic planning standards, development-control rules and building
regulations that are acceptable, affordable and achievable should be evolved
and applied .
Appropriate standards should be used when designing infrastructure in order
to increase the supply of land which is affordable to low-income households
and to reduce the cost of regularization schemes in which upgrading plays
Norms and standards should be made transparent, that is, they should be
easy to understand and apply, and the processes by which the norms and
standards are determined should be open to substantial participation. Participation
should be employed in efforts which are associated with land-development
regulations, land-use policies and programmes of public infrastructure
installation to increase access to land.
Community organizations, NGOs and representatives of business and professions
should be involved to :
assist in a bottom-up approach to deregulation which identifies the controls
essential for the pursuit of set objectives;
improve the appropriateness of policies which limit the amount of land
on which particular uses are permitted;
help direct the extension of appropriate services for which people pay
and settle acceptable standards of provision in ways of which respond realistically
to demands for land and people's abilities to pay.
Governments should create an enabling environment for financial institutions
to improve access to credit and develop strategies for integrating with
subsidies, incentives, and cooperative financing to support the disadvantaged
and special target groups.
Access of credit to women, especially women heads of household, should
be increased and simplified, with the integration of income-generation
activities, work-area development and the provision of services.
The modes of providing security for access to finance to land and shelter
development should use innovative alternatives to traditional mortgage
instruments, especially for the marginalized, disadvantaged and needy where
land rights and security of tenure for land are difficult to obtain.
The participants identified specific areas of recommendations in the New
Delhi Declaration which could be brought to the attention of the Secretary-General
of Habitat II with a view to influence the Habitat II draft GPA to be discussed
in New York in February at the third substantive session of the Preparatory
Committee and further at Istanbul. The following were specifically referred
The Conference decided to disseminate the New Delhi Declaration widely,
particularly through their National Habitat II Committees and their country
delegations to Prepcom III and Habitat II. The Declaration will also be
disseminated to all participants in the regional consultations and special
meetings on land.
Further it has also been decided to convey a request to the Secretary-General,
Habitat II, to get advice both in New York and Istanbul from a committee
composed of delegations represented in New Delhi, and who will advise on
the nature of changes proposed by the New Delhi Global Conference.
The role of local authorities;
Decentralization, including at local level, with the emergence of new administrative
actions undertaken closer to communities;
Concern for land-dispute resolution;
Delivery mechanisms of informal land development;
Women's legal access to land and property;
Committing national governments to enacting and implementing land- management
New Delhi, India
19 January, 1996