Habitat International Coalition- Housing and Land Rights Network In Cooperation with:
Land Forum II
Middle East/ North Africa
“HUMAN RIGHTS, PEOPLE AND THE LAND”
Ain Shams University Guest House, Cairo, Egypt, 23–25 October 2010
The “Regional Land Forum II” is the second round of an ongoing program of Habitat International Coalition’s Housing and Land Rights Network in the Middle East and North Africa. In line with HIC-HLRN’s mission goals and Member services, the Land Forum’s primary purpose is to develop the knowledge and capacity of Member organizations and civil society, in general, to address the pressing issues related to land and land administration in the region within the framework of human rights treaty obligations. That greater knowledge and capacity is intended to aid Member organizations and civil society generally to achieve their own local objectives through their programmed activities, ranging from monitoring and research to negotiating policy with national authorities. The Land Forum is designed to provide an opportunity, therefore, for participants to:
· Address the issues of land and land administration within the human rights framework and methodology,
· Develop a regional sense of mutuality and reciprocity to face shared challenges,
· Exchange expertise within a method of comparative analysis,
· Deepen needed specialization in the field of land and housing rights,
· Generate alternative solutions to problems related to land administration,
· Explore the opportunities available to develop the human rights dimensions of land and natural resource tenure norms at the local and international levels,
· Encourage civil cooperation and coordination across organizations and borders through joint and collective actions.
Therefore, the ultimate goal in convening each round of the Land Forum is to refine and develop these aspects and to produce a common set of priorities for action: e.g., monitoring, research, advocacy, development interventions, etc. The indicator of that convergence will be a common calendar of events, opportunities, activities and campaigns for the coming two years, which subsequent Land Forums will adjust, refine and develop further. In the interim periods, HIC-HLRN provides its services toward these ends with methods and tools such as the HLRN Violation Database, the Landpedia, MENA website News and documentation, Urgent Actions system and support for participation in related public forums.
The subject of land as it relates to human rights in the MENA region is vast and multifaceted, and HLRN seeks to involve a diversity of specialists and specializations to cover the gamut. However, the themes of each round of the Land Forum arise from the presentations proposed by the participants; and, this year, they will be clustered into four:
1. Land in Conflict, Occupation and War Situations;
2. Land Reform and Land Tenure in Reform Processes (land administration as it relates to broader reform processes);
3. Land and Natural Resources: The Human Right to Water
4. Civil Society and International Land-related Norms and Policy Processes (civil involvement in the monitoring and development of international land-related norms and policies; e.g., cooperation with FAO, UN Habitat, UN Human Rights System).
While this Land Forum is regional in nature, it also considers the parallel tracks of local (national) policy processes in the participants’ respective countries, as well as the related human rights monitoring and policy formulation at the international level. A constant consideration and an underlying subject under each theme also are the bundle of human rights issues and criteria related women and workers and land.
HLRN’s Regional Land Forum pursues its objectives within these themes first in a general and theoretical segment (presentations of cases studies from the region, organized by themes, with ensuing discussion), followed by a specific action-oriented and practical segment (small-group planning sessions to develop collective principles, priorities and a strategic plan along each of the four emerging themes).
This year also, four special and timely opportunities present themselves: (1) cooperation with two other tracks in a broader and complementary forum on health and environment; (2) preparations for the upcoming World Social Forum, in particular its working theme No. 3 on “the rights to land, food sovereignty, health, education, decent work, cultural and political expression; (3) coincidence with the civil society input to the process of drafting the new FAO Voluntary Guidelines on Good Governance in Land and Natural Resource Tenure; and (4) the recent launch of a new Right to Food Watch consortium with a special focus on global land grabbing.
The Land Forum is taking place as an integral part of the “Health, Environment and Land Forum,” co-organized in the same venue with AHED, DSC, PHRM and Joussour. The three-day HE&L Forum will involve a morning plenary for participants in all three specialized tracks to address common themes and objectives shared among them and the three often inter-related fields of human rights and the environment, the right to health and public health (the social determiners of health) and human rights to housing and land. The third day of the Forum is dedicated to bringing the planning results and commitments of each specialized track (health, environment and land) into a broader vision, two year plan and mutually supportive actions, including campaigns. The result is intended, therefore, to create a value greater than the sum of its three parts.