ROAS Urban Legislation, Land and Governance

Countries in the Arab region often lack efficient legal and institutional capacities to organize the extension of urban space. Inefficient policies and defunct governmental structures resulted in high percentages of informal land, the sprawl of unplanned areas and insecurity of tenure and property rights. These problems are aggravated by often very centralized and rigid administrative processes which left municipalities incapable to manage the dynamics of rapid urbanization in a sustainable way.

At the same time inhabitants and slum dwellers are often not perceived as rights-holders and lack access to local decision making processes. Within this focus area UN-Habitat develops legislation, mechanisms and capacity as needed to make affordable land available at a pace to match urbanization and to strengthen the role of the communities in this process.

Egypt: Participatory Review of Egyptian Planning and Related Urban Development Legislation to Support Sustainable Urban Development Project (January 2014 - March 2015)

Funded by the German Government (through the BMZ), the project assisted the Egyptian Government in reforming its legal framework for sustainable urban development in a pro-poor manner by increasing the range of appropriate tools available to increase access to serviced land and lower the proportion of informal development in the country’s cities.

The project has:

(1) Improved understanding of urban planning and management laws and their relationship to and impact on institutional structures

(2) Initiated the empowerment of national and local authorities and key stakeholders to effectively guide and manage urban development

(3) Mobilized resources for reform of the urban legal system in areas of land management, planned urban expansion, improved supply of affordable serviced land in cities, and a means to generate local revenue through the urbanization process

The knowledge generated in this project was shared through expert group meetings in the Arab region. 

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