The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the Netherlands embassy in Bagdad (EKN) and the Netherlands Enterprise and Development Agency (RVO) are delighted to announce a LAND-at-scale project in Iraq. Over the coming three years, the project will work to initiate policy dialogue on the land legal framework reform and work to secure tenure rights for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and returnees in Iraq.
Iraq has experienced several waves of mass displacement over the last forty years that have caused an intricate land and property situation. Land and property challenges have further been complicated by multiple causes of property loss, including expropriation by the Ba’ath regime, terrorism, sectarian violence, military operations, and economic hardship.
Today, IDPs and returnees, including minorities, face major challenges in proving their ownership or occupancy rights, particularly where there is an absence of cadastral data, registry information, maps delimiting property rights, and a lack of official documents. In many cases, this further results in inheritance disputes coupled with intra-family land grabbing, informal land transactions, weak land governance, and unregistered or outdated land registries/records in Real Estate Registration Offices.
On 25 September 2023, Mr. Ghulam Isaczai, the DSRSG/RC/HC and Ms. Rania Hedeya, the Regional Representative of UN-Habitat Regional office for the Arab States and Mr. Ahmen Jamal Mohammed, the Head of Foreign Relations Department, Ministry of Justice, visited the Embassy of the Netherlands in Baghdad and signed a Contribution Agreement to this work.
In the three year LAND-at-scale project “Policy Dialogue on Legislative Reform to Improve Land Governance and Secure Tenure Rights”, UN-Habitat aims to overcome these pressing issues through conducting a policy dialogue on the land legal framework, improving land governance, building capacity at the local level on HLP rights, contributing to secure tenure and protect HLP rights by registering and resolving land claims for IDPs and returnees in war-affected governorates.
Ultimately, the following two key outcomes are envisioned from the project:
1) Conducting a policy dialogue on the land legal framework.
2) Enhancing the security of tenure and increasing access to HLP rights through registration and resolving HLP claims for IDPs and returnees.
Mr. Jacob Wiersma, Chargé d’Affaires of the Netherlands Embassy in Baghdad highlighted the importance of housing, land and property (HLP) rights for all Iraqi’s, including vulnerable people, as access to these rights contributes to peoples’ security, reintegration and wellbeing. With this new programme the Netherlands, in cooperation UN-Habitat, will be supporting the Government of Iraq in improving land governance and processing land claims by its citizens.
LAND-at-scale is funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by the Netherlands Enterprise and Development Agency (RVO). The project in Iraq is supported with 1,8 million Euros. To stay updated on this LAND-at-scale project and others, please sign up for our quarterly newsletter.