Without security of tenure, millions are at risk of dispossession, crime and corruption. How is the problem being addressed?
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that land, as a resource, is central to almost every part of life. It’s the basis for all development and a vital resource we need for human survival and growth. It is fundamental to human geography, identity, history and nationality… and all the complexities these entail.
In the built environment, land represents both the beginning and the end of the sectoral lifecycle.
It is, therefore, no accident that land is one of the central themes in a set of universal goals crafted by the United Nations to address the most pressing political, environmental and economic challenges facing the world. Known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), these 17 interdependent global goals have been agreed to by all UN members states as part of the UN’s Agenda 2030. The SDGs include areas such as poverty, hunger, health, education, global warming, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanisation, environment and social justice.
Within the context of the SDGs, land connects to most of the areas listed above. But because of the informal processes involving much of the developing world’s land and real estate, this enormous and valuable resource cannot be effectively utilised for the benefit of society and in the fight against poverty.
As we develop the International Land Measurement Standard (ILMS) with a coalition of international organisations, we are determined to ensure that these standards support the wider social agenda. With the demand for land rising, the intensified competition is having a ripple effect across societies – from triggering conflicts, to preventing some of the most vulnerable population groups, such as women, from accessing this resource.
Strengthening land rights is central to ending poverty and fostering resilient societies that enable efficient land markets to help provide infrastructure and services. Secure land rights create a framework of multiple benefits that extend from food security to economic advancement, ie. having the ability to use the land as investment security for loans.
ILMS, as a set of high-level standards, aims to address the minimum requirements for securing legal rights to land. It also aims to facilitate the efficient land transactions and more secure lands transfers. The coalition has agreed that ILMS will offer strong, principled standards in the public interest and focus on key land information to make the process of transactions easier and less risky while strengthening land rights, tenure security, investment, government revenue and economic development.
As part of developing this first-of-its-kind, internationally benchmarked set of standards, we’d like you to share your expertise as a land professional, investor, government agency or any other stakeholder with an interest in the issue of land. You can help shape these land standards that align to the broader global development agenda to eradicate poverty and correct economic imbalances in communities around the world.
James Kavanagh MRICS
Director RICS Land Group
James is the Director of RICS Land Group, which encompasses the environment, geomatics (land and hydrographic survey), minerals and waste management, rural, telecoms and planning and development areas of practice. This is a global and diverse grouping of over 26,000 members, with strong links to policy, economics and practice issues.