The Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) is a dynamic and multisectoral alliance of international partners committed to increasing access to land and tenure security for all, with a focus on the poor and women. The Network’s partners include international civil society organizations, research and training institutions, bilateral and multilateral organizations, and international professional bodies.

The Network develops, disseminates and implements pro-poor and gender-responsive Land Tools. These tools and approaches contribute to land reform, good land governance, inclusive land administration, sustainable land management, and functional land sector coordination.

Conventional approaches to land administration often fail to deliver the systemic and inclusive change urgently required, especially for the poor and vulnerable. It is estimated that the conventional land governance systems in many developing countries cover only about 30% of land – which is only a small proportion of the population, leaving out the often poorer majority. GLTN advocates for the recognition of a broader range of land rights and relationships to land including tenure security. These include individual, informal, customary, or group rights. Recognition of this important reality is at the heart of our work.

News and Stories

We welcome this exercise with both hands…this will ensure that all land disputes will be lessened

Resident, Chamuka Chiefdom Zambia

villages had their data collected, capturing 578 parcels and 3,584 people, in the Chamuka Chiefdom, central Zambia. 409 Certificates of Customary Occupancy have been issued, with 209 allocated to female-headed households.
More than
households had their data collected, capturing more than 12,000 households in Kanyama settlement, in partnership with Lusaka City Council, the capital of Zambia. 33 Certificates of Occupancy have been issued, others will be issued in phases in the next year.
Yazidi households in Sinjar district, northern Iraq received Certificates of Occupancy after mapping and profiling with GLTN tools. This promoted sustainable and resilient towns for returnees as both beneficiaries and rightful occupants, and the rehabilitation of housing and infrastructure.

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Leaving no one and no place behind

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GLTN’s underpinning values and operational principles have human rights at their core. Our values are social justice and equity, strength in diversity, reciprocity, and transparency.

The Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) develops tools that benefit all, with special attention to the poor, the women and disadvantaged people. Land tools are pro-poor and gender responsive if they have the following features:

  • Affordable – The overall cost of the tools should be affordable for both the poor (if they are required to pay user and maintenance fees) and the government or other bodies that manage the tool.
  • Equitable and gender-responsive – The land tools should address everyone’s needs fairly while paying particular attention to inequalities faced by women in comparison to men.
  • Pro-poor – The tools should aim to reduce poverty; they should take the situation and needs of poor people into account and give them a voice in decisions.
  • Sustainable – It should be possible to implement the tool in the future without large-scale external inputs. Where possible, they should be self-financing through fees or taxes.
  • Systematic, large-scale -The land tools should be usable at a large scale, be it city-wide or across a whole country, and not just have a one-off, localized use. That means they must be flexible enough to deal with a wide range of situations and can be replicated easily at a minimal cost.
  • Governance – The process of tool development and implementation should take into account how decisions are made regarding access to and use of land, how those decisions are implemented, and how conflicting interests in land are reconciled. Key elements of this include decision-making conflict resolution, with an emphasis on the process and outcomes.
  • Subsidiarity – Land tools must be sensitive to local situations and needs, and applicable at the lowest appropriate level of authority, whether by the community or at the lowest level of local government.


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GLTN’s gender agenda was adopted at a Roundtable at the World Urban Forum in 2006. The agenda serves as a framework of methodologies and strategies for developing land tools that promote equal tenure security for women and men. The agenda underscores the need to ensure gender-responsiveness in all stages of tool development and implementation. GLTN has so far evaluated land issues and tools from a gender perspective, developed capacity on gender and land issues, and studied the tenure rights of women and legal reforms that affect them. GLTN is now in the process of developing an updated gender strategy that responds to new and emerging opportunities and challenges for interventions of the Network in anticipation of Phase 3 of GLTN work.

It will also inform GLTN’s strategic response to the implementation of the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda (Habitat III) in addition to re-aligning its priorities and key interventions on the gender and land dimension. The strategy development will be a collaboration with GLTN partners with a view to updating the body of knowledge on gender and land.

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There are over 1.2 billion young people aged between 15 and 24 in the world today. They are increasingly demonstrating their presence and are making contributions across a variety of development sectors, particularly in response to political developments, climate change, and natural disasters, and they are having a huge impact. To date, however, this has not been visible in the land sector.

The needs of today’s youth with regard to land are different from those of previous generations and are influenced by changes around the world, including globalization, urbanization, migration, climate change, and technology advancement amongst other issues. Development agendas and changes to national land policies need to take into account the needs and perspectives of the growing youth population in order to not only support this demographic but also to derive the greatest possible benefit from its potential.

The Youth and Land Responsiveness Criteria (YLRC) is a tool developed by GLTN partners with a purpose to assess land programmes and policies objectively to ensure that youth and land issues are equitably addressed in order to achieve tenure security for all. The tool can be used to evaluate existing land tools in terms of their responsiveness to youth and to identify where and how they can be more responsive to youth’s needs and concerns for land. It also provides strong opportunities to involve youth actively in the process and to get first-hand knowledge on the experiences of youth in relation to land issues.

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Sustainable urban development can only be achieved if persons with disabilities are included meaningfully in decision-making and are able to access their rights. UN-Habitat partners with representative groups and individual rights holders, as well as national and local governments, relevant UN bodies and civil society to maximize impact and to meaningfully ensure that the rights including accessibility and universal design of persons with disabilities are promoted, respected and protected. 

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Donors and partners

The success of the Global Land Tool Network has been its investment in and commitment to multi-stakeholder collaboration and partnership development. Through GLTN, UN-Habitat has been able to reach out to a diverse group of stakeholders at global, regional and country levels including local communities to undertake projects and events related to tenure security. GLTN is able to work alongside UN-Habitat to connect with national and local level implementing partners from a diverse background and also has a track record of engaging traditional leaders.