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Press release

24 JUL 2019

Strengthening land rights at the heart of tackling extreme inequality

Better land governance will help the world address climate change, rapid urbanisation and food, water and resource scarcity, according to Neil Shah, Managing Director at RICS.

Speaking on July 19 to the High-Level Segment of the 2019 United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the Political Forum on Sustainable Development Goals at UN Headquarters in New York City, Shah said the International Land Measurement Standards (ILMS) are key to delivering inclusiveness and equality and reaching sustainable development goals.

"As the world's leading body for standards in the land, construction, real estate and infrastructure sectors, the UN recognised the role of RICS in influencing global land administration for the public good," said Shah. "Ensuring that governments, companies and professional organisations rigorously apply due diligence and high ethical standards in inclusivity and equality is essential to social and environmental sustainability, as well as long-term economic health."

Held on an annual basis, the High-Level Segment represents the culmination of ECOSOC's annual cycle of work and brings together a diverse group of high-level representatives from government, the private sector, civil society and academia. This year's theme was Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality. RICS was invited to speak on the importance of International Land Measurement Standards in delivering inclusiveness and equality. RICS' professionals are ideally placed to establish transparency through ILMS in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Speaking to the UN on behalf of RICS shines a light on the important work qualified professionals do to advance transparency, integrity and consistency in land administration.

Ensuring that governments, companies and professional organisations rigorously apply due diligence and high ethical standards in inclusivity and equality is essential to social and environmental sustainability, as well as long-term economic health.

Neil Shah
Managing Director, RICS

Using the UN's Sustainable Development Goals as a marker, the UN, RICS and ILMS coalition see the International Land Measurement Standard as a tool for due diligence for land professionals working in acquisition and transfers. They can raise the status of land tenure and property rights through robust transfer standards and enforcement, land registration and secure, ethical lending.

In the statement, Shah noted: "the strengthening of land rights must be at the heart of tackling extreme inequality and of creating resilient and more inclusive societies."

Establishing efficient land markets through the adoption of industry standards will help stimulate the development of infrastructure and services and facilitate the use of the land as investment security for loans, fostering economic empowerment and growth in underserved markets and communities."