Mapping team explaining boundary mapping to Mahila Milan leaders in Orissa, India. SPARC.
As part of what is called Grassroots Mechanism, the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) partnering with Huairou Commission, International Land Coalition and Slum/Shack Dwellers International is providing support to four grassroots-led projects in India, Peru, Tanzania and the Philippines.
Project selection followed an open call for proposals and was led by a Selection Committee of four grassroots representatives. Each project entails a trial scaling-up of a community-based approach to land policy implementation. The aim in each case is to help achieve the mainstreaming of the approach and establish a grassroots-government partnership for implementation at scale.
With funds transferred from Norway and Sweden to grassroots organisations, and work already begun on the ground, GLTN is now launching the process of providing technical assistance and political support to the projects.
In India, there is increasing government interest in community-led enumerations as a way of facilitating city-wide slum-upgrading. The project implemented by Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC), the National Federation of Slum-Dwellers and Mahila Milan in Cuttack and other cities in Orissa, will test out a methodology for digital, city-wide settlement mapping and for working with local authorities to secure federal subsidies for up-grading. The support is focusing on technical aspects such as spatial data management, and helping to evaluate methodologies for bridging the gap between communities and planners. A key strategic aim is to help embed the approach within the up-coming Rajeev Awas Yojana federal slum-upgrading programme.
In Lima-Callao, many informal settlements are highly vulnerable to natural hazards such as landslides. Government programmes for disaster mitigation exist, yet implementation is hindered by a top-down process, reliant on expensive technical surveys. As an alternative, Mujeres Unidas and Estrategia have trained a network of community groups to carry out their own community hazard assessments and to initiate community-led planning, winning support and financing from government agencies. Now these agencies have expressed an interest in adopting and replicating this approach at a larger scale.
UN-HABITAT will provide technical and political support as Mujeres Unidas and Estrategia test out their approach in new communities and liaise with government agencies on developing a partnership approach and on new urban tenure-related legislation. Up-coming elections could provide a critical window of opportunity in 2010.
Tanzania's Village Land Act allows communities to secure customary land and seeks to secure the tenure rights of women and their role in decision-making. But it has been hard to make this law work for Maasai pastoralists with no tradition of owning land parcels. The Maasai Women's Development Organisation (MWEDO) has developed an approach for supporting communities to use the Act through training and support for women's groups, achieving more gender-responsive certification at the village and individual level. UN-HABITAT will be providing technical assistance to MWEDO on how this can be developed into a replicable and up-scalable tool, that can be used in liaison with local authorities.
In the Philippines, Indigenous Peoples' claims to ancestral territories have focused on the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT). But processing CADT applications has been blocked by complex procedures, expensive surveying requirements and budget constraints. As an interim alternative, Task Force Mapalad is working with indigenous community-based organisations and government agencies to secure Community-Based Forest Management Agreements that provide security of tenure for up to 50 years through a lease without prejudicing CADT claims. The agency’s technical assistance will focus on independent evaluation of this approach with the aim of assessing its value, identifying best practices, and helping to strengthen partnerships with the relevant government agencies.