Terms of Reference
Legal Consultant on Land and Gender Issues
Deadline to submit application
25 April 2022
The United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) is the United Nations Agency for Human Settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. UN-Habitat's Governing Council adopted by consensus resolution 19/18 calling on UN-Habitat to establish a Special Human Settlements Programme in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). During the 23rd Governing Council (GC) (now Assembly), UN-Habitat's mandate in the oPt was strengthened by two resolutions (GC 23/2 and 26/9 in 2011, and 2017, respectively) accentuating on the importance of the continuation of the programme support to the Palestinian people under the two-state framework with focus on spatial planning, land management, and housing.
Palestinian people, especially in the Israeli controlled Area C are faced with many restrictions when it comes to access to land ownership mechanisms and lack representation in the decision- and policy-making processes at the local level. The Israeli Military Order No. 291 of 1968 suspended land registration in the West Bank, leaving at most 30 per cent of land formally registered at the time. This lack of representation is exacerbated by the operational environment in Area C that restricts the work of the Palestinian Authority (PA), especially for remote Palestinian communities in Area C, coupled with the lack of capacity, experience, and skills in land tenure security. Despite this, the Land and Water Settlement Commission succeeded in surveying around 1.3 million dunums in the West Bank, approximately 60 per cent of which are in Area C. Nonetheless, these efforts still need to be realized within the many strenuous challenges faced in the process of fostering land tenure security for vulnerable groups, including women, youth, and people with disabilities, viz. (i) relative lack of acceptance of women and other groups’ rights to owning and managing of land by some groups as a result of the social and cultural norms; (ii) male-dominated processes and forums that impede women’s economic and social empowerment and reduce their possibility of accessing land and natural resources; (iii) difficulties for women to access or make decisions in regards to their registered properties, particularly plots with large areas, characterised with joint ownership by relative and non-relative males and females.
Under the UN-Habitat Country Programme Document in Palestine 2018-2022, UN-Habitat is leading the implementation of a 4-year project "Achieving Planning and Land Rights in Area C, West Bank, Palestine" in partnership with the Land and Water Settlement Commission (LWSC) and funded by the European Union (EU). Within the ambit of this project, in 2021, UN-Habitat developed an awareness-raising strategy to plan for a comprehensive approach for raising people’s awareness on land administration, their rights to land and the political, economic and social benefits of land ownership. The strategy also set forth the plan to develop a policy paper identifying gender gaps and highlighting the main issues constraining different group’s access to land rights. This is with the acknowledgment that women often suffer poorer tenure than men leading to the feminisation of poverty; taking into consideration that although current laws and policies do not discriminate against women, but they are not implemented properly, further marginalising women. Furthermore, it is recognized that women’s ownership doesn’t automatically translate to right to access and use their lands, despite women’s large role in agricultural production and others. Hence, this policy paper was identified in the development of the awareness raising strategy as important in order to build on LWSC’s ongoing work to register land to women by requiring irrefutable documentation, ensuring the consent of women to selling or giving away of their land irrelevant of their family status and life stage, and safeguarding the rights of absent owners due to the conflict.
These efforts are in alignment and in efforts to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Palestine, specifically Goal 5 on gender equality, including enhancing women’s tenure security, and Goal 11 on sustainability cities and communities, including improving access to housing and real estate to all groups. This is also in alignment with the New Urban Agenda (NUA), where land is a central component where transparent, inclusive, participatory spatial planning and creating tenure security for all segments of society are pre-requisites for almost all if not all issues of the agenda. Furthermore, this activity comes in fulfilment of: (i) the Roadmap for Reforming the Palestinian Land Sector (2017) which emphasizes the focus on mapping of land rights in Area C, and (ii) the Land Sector Strategy (2021-2023), led by the Palestinian Land Authority (PLA), and which prioritizes preparing a Gender Action Plan for land settlement which takes into consideration the gender-specific challenges of women’s access to land and tenure rights.
Functions / Key Results Expected/ Responsibilities
The Special Human Settlements Programme for the Palestinian People (SHSPPP/UN-Habitat, Palestine), in partnership with LWSC, the PLA and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA), is seeking to hire a candidate for a consultancy-based position, under the direct supervision of the Sr. Urban Programme Officer of UN-Habitat. The purpose of this assignment is to conduct a review of the existing legal and policy framework in Palestine related to land and women’s property rights in compliance with Palestine’s commitments to human rights, including women’s rights. The project deploys the Gender Evaluation Criteria (GEC) tool which was developed by the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) in mainstreaming gender issues, and it is proposed to use the GEC tool in this assignment as well. The assignment aims to identify the gaps in terms of enhancing women’s access to land and/or property and how they can be addressed in line with international conventions. Specifically, the incumbent will be expected to deliver the following tasks:
- Conduct a desk review of the current policy and legal framework related to land (including land settlement and registration laws) and associated laws (such as basic and inheritance laws and the penal code) in relation to women’s land rights in Palestine, as well as existing literature on the subject, including an exploration of the tools and procedures that have proved successful in increasing women’s access to land from a select number of countries, regionally and globally, including the GLTN’s recent study in 2018 on Women and Land in the Muslim World and the Islamic Principles and Land.
- Prepare an inception report highlighting the main results of the desk review, including: (i) a mapping of the laws and procedures that will be studied, both formal written laws and informal practiced procedures, and the government agency that is responsible, (ii) the initial information gaps and (iii) stakeholder mapping to complete the assignment.
- Interview national and local authorities and experts working in the land sector and women’s economic rights field to gather relevant information.
- Organize focus group meetings with women living in the 12 communities targeted by the project to capture the main impediments that they are facing in terms of accessing their land rights.
- Conduct a GEC assessment of the land-related procedures, policies and legislations (including all land-related laws, including the LWSC’s forms and data collection, storage and production practices), in order to identify gaps that inhibit women’s access to land/property, provide recommendations to close gaps between laws and legal practice, and identify tools, procedures and policies that can be adopted to support women’s access to land.
- Draft report setting out the current framework, the key stakeholders involved in the sector, the existing gaps and articulating key provisions and recommended procedural changes and mechanisms for enhancing women’s access to land/property rights.
- Present to the Land Management and Administration Sector Working Group (LMA SWG) the key findings and recommendations.
The incumbent is expected to contribute to knowledge management and capacity development activities in and outside the UN System and to ensure efficient and effective substantive coordination support to work activities while ensuring adherence to organizational policies and procedures.
- Inception report (1 month after signing the agreement)
- Mapping of the land-related laws and policies that will be reviewed
- Key findings from the desk review
- Stakeholder mapping
- Draft report (2 months after signing the agreement)
- Findings of GEC assessment and related stakeholder meetings (main legal weaknesses in written laws and practiced procedures)
- Suggested tools/mechanisms/adjusted procedures, including those that have been successfully adopted in other countries with similar context
- Recommendations for implementation (including stakeholders’ responsibilities, timeframe, and estimated budget)
- Final report (four months after signing the agreement)
- Revised version (after revision from the relevant stakeholders)
- Presentation to LMA SWG (at the end of the agreement)
- Minimum of a Masters’ degree in law, gender and/or other related fields.
- Minimum of 7 years’ experience in the field of legal and gender analysis.
- Minimum of 3 previous assignments of similar nature to the proposed tasks.
- Solid professional experience in writing policy papers and legal and gender analysis reports.
- Knowledge of international laws, policies or regulations related to women’s rights.
- Proficiency in spoken and written English and Arabic.
- Strong analytical skills with success in recommending strategies.
- Ability to schedule work efficiently and meet deadlines, including as part of a virtual team.
- Excellent communication skills with ability to explain complex concepts in an accessible way for international public audiences.
- Excellent public speaking and presentation skills.
- Proven ability to build networks among diverse constituencies and find common ground.
- Excellent writing and reporting skills.
- Excellent problem-solving skills, with ability to envision creative solutions.
- Demonstrated ability to work under pressure in a multinational environment.
- Familiarity with oPt issues and humanitarian priority areas is an asset.
You are cordially invited to submit your application until 25 April 2022 (Midnight, Jerusalem Time) to the following e-mail address: email@example.com.
Interested individual consultant must submit the following documents/information:
- A personal CV including all qualifications and experience in similar projects
- A cover letter explaining why you are the most suitable for the work and confirming availability for the period indicated (max. 1 page)
- A short methodology proposal highlighting main tools and methods you propose to employ to roll-out the legal and gendered analysis of the land sector In Palestine (max. 2 pages)
- A brief workplan of the proposed assignment and its related tasks, including timeframe (number of working days)
- At least two (2) up-to-date recommendation letters
- Financial proposal in USD, per working day
Terms of payment
The remuneration of the above will be paid in two instalments upon satisfactory delivery of all assignments and submission of all deliverables as per the table below:
30 per cent
Upon successful completion of the inception report, to be approved by UN-Habitat, LWSC, and other interlocutors.
70 per cent
Upon successful completion of the remaining tasks and submission of final report to be approved by UN-Habitat, LWSC and other interlocuters, and to be presented to the LMA SWG.
The assignment will be supervised by the Sr. Urban Programme Officer at UN-Habitat. The Individual Consultant will work closely with the project team and partners throughout the assignment.
Confidentiality and non-Disclosure
All associated materials, data, deliverables, etc. that have been generated under this consultancy are the property of LWSC or UN-Habitat and must be submitted to the designated focal point at LWSC and the Sr. Urban Programme Officer at UN-Habitat.
UN-Habitat will examine the proposals to determine whether they are complete, and whether they are substantially responsive to the minimum requirements in terms of qualifications and experience. Any proposal that does not meet the minimum requirements will be rejected by UN-Habitat and may not subsequently be made responsive by the Applicant by correction of the non-conformity.
A two-stage process is utilized in evaluating the proposals, with evaluation of the technical proposals prior to any financial proposal being considered and compared.
The technical proposal is evaluated based on its responsiveness to the Terms of Reference and carries a weight of 70 per cent of the evaluation score.
The financial proposal shall specify a lump-sum and will carry a weight of 30 per cent of the evaluation score. The rate shall be all-inclusive and shall take into account various expenses incurred by the Consultant during the contract period and shall form the amount of the resulted contract between the selected Consultant and UN-Habitat. No other entitlements will be considered after the submission of financial proposal.
Candidates not attaining the minimum technical score of 70 per cent will be considered technically non-compliant and disqualified. Financial proposals will only be considered if the technical proposal attains the required minimum score.
UN-Habitat will award the Individual Contract to the candidate with the highest combined technical and financial score, subject to a satisfactory interview with the evaluation committee.
UN-Habitat is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality, and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.
Technical Evaluation Criteria
Minimum of a Masters’ degree in law, gender and/or other related fields.
(No post-graduate degree= disqualified; Master’s degree= 10 points; multiple post-graduate diplomas and/or PhD= 20 points)
Minimum of 7 years’ experience in the field of legal and gender analysis.
(Less than 7 years= disqualified; 7-10 years= 10 points; >10 years= 15 points)
Minimum of 3 previous assignments of similar nature to the proposed tasks.
(Less than 3 assignments= disqualified; 3-5 assignments= 5 points; 5 - 10 assignments= 10 points, >10 assignments= 15 points)
Proposed Methodology: To what degree does the applicant understand the task? Have the important aspects of the task been addressed? Is the scope of task well defined and does it correspond to the ToR?
Workplan: Is the workplan realistic? Does it achieve all of the assignments’ objectives?
 Experts to be interviewed should include national experts from the Land Management and Administration Sector Working Group as well as international experts from GLTN.