Quito, 23 May 2016 – Equador’s National Assembly of Ecuador has approved a bill on land use and land management. The bill is the result of a long process that started in 2011 under the leadership of the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing of Ecuador (MIDUVI) with support from UN-Habitat, the Municipality of Quito, GIZ, SIDA and the European Union amongst other partners. “The law is an important milestone for territorial development and land management strategies,” said Monica Quintana Molina, a national urban expert and former UN-Habitat programme manager in Ecuador who has been involved in the project since its beginnings in 2011.

“Ecuador will finally have a toolbox of national regulations to support urban planning and urban investments,” she added. The law will provide municipalities a set of legal tools to complement their efforts towards sustainable urban development. It will offer a clear normative framework related to land tenure, land value, land use and land development. The new tools will guide municipalities to optimize their land use, fostering urban compactness and mixed-use development. The law also aims at easing private investments for new developments or redevelopments. In addition, municipalities will be able to secure and transfer the rights on land.

“The challenge now lies on building institutional capacity to assure proper implementation of the regulations,” said Ms. Molina, stressing that this will be key to achieving sound urban development. The post-earthquake recovery process opens a window of opportunities for the implementation of the regulations, especially in the “Zero Zones,” the areas that got entirely destroyed.

“Ecuador now has the opportunity to rebuild the affected areas with new urban visions and concepts backed by a strong national legal framework,” declared Elkin Velasquez, regional director of UN-Habitat in Latin America and the Caribbean. UN-Habitat was involved in the preparation of the bill since its inception in 2011, offering technical, financial and organizational support, as well as facilitating the exchange of international experts and Ecuadorian civil servants, all instrumental in the design of the new land management law.