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A group of experts reviews the guidelines to increase access to land for the realization of peace, development and human rights

Beirut, 2 and 3 May 2017 : A group of twenty international experts on land and tenure security, human rights and gender has met on from the  2-3 May in Beirut to validate a new set of guidelines to increase women access to land and property rights in the Muslim world. Participants representing ten countries and eleven organisations including UN agencies, NGOs, academia and professionals’ associations gathered in the Arab Union of Surveyors’ office for a rich exchange on practical approaches to advance the condition of women through their land rights.

A lot has been written about the importance on women access to land and tenure security. Social and economic development of communities and societies cannot take place in a sustainable manner without the full contribution of women, and access to land is a key element that allows women and men to fully play their role in building peaceful, stable and prosperous societies and enjoy the full range of human rights. Tenure security is particularly essential for women affected by conflict, displacement and migration, whose - and whose children – survival, protection from physical violence and capacity to recover from the conflict are closely dependent on access to land and housing.

A new ground breaking document has been under preparation by the Global Land Tool Network Partners. Led by the University of East London, the Union of Arab Surveyors, UN-Habitat and the Urban Training and Studies Institute, this work sheds light on what has proven to be the most effective in securing women’s land and property rights in the Muslim world.

The work builds on global frameworks, international and national laws, Islamic land principles and customary practices. It analyses key avenues that women have to access land, provides information on how land administration more gender responsive, and draws the attention on inheritance, strengthening user rights and marital contracts as pivotal tools for the realization of women land rights. Country case studies and focus on women affected by conflict and displacement are also a key focus of the document.

At the event, participants reviewed the body of knowledge that was put together through consultations, desk reviews and research. They provided final inputs and comments for the document’s finalization and further use.  The lead authors committed to the incorporation of the guidance received, striving for the publication and launch of the Guidelines by the end of 2017.

One of the highlights of the event was the courtesy visit paid by the event participants to H.E. Aoun, the President of Lebanon, which was an opportunity to raise the profile of gender and tenure security issues in the country. The President extended his support to the initiative and renewed its commitment to gender equality and the elimination of gender based violence in the country.