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Development Account Projects

Strengthening the Capacities of ICGLR Member States in the Great Lakes Region to Address the Land and Property Issues of IDPs and Refugees, with a Specific Emphasis on Women's Land and Property Rights


The presence of armed conflict is one of the most fundamental threats to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). During conflict, land and property rights of internally-displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and refugees – particularly women – are at risk. Without access to land and security of tenure, vulnerable groups cannot meet their basic needs related to food security, poverty reduction, nutrition and health. In short, conflict-affected societies stand little chance of achieving their MDGs.

Through this project UN-Habitat will collaborate with the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Secretariat and the African Union (AU) / Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) to increase the capacity of Governments and practitioners to understand and address the land and property issues related to IDPs, returnees and refugees, with a particular focus on the specific needs of women. The project will build on UN-Habitat’s on-going engagement with the AU/ECA/African Development Bank (AfDB) Africa Land Policy Initiative, as well as on-going support for the ICGLR, and proposes to strengthen the capacity of the ICGLR Secretariat in Bujumbura (Burundi), and from there work with four pilot ICGLR Member States out of the following six: (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, South Sudan, Central African Republic (CAR), and Uganda). The Project will also collaborate with, inter alia, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), European Union (EU), Swiss Development Cooperation, as well as with key national and international NGOs (e.g. Norwegian Refugee Council).

With decades of displacement and return, within and between Member States of the Great Lakes region, there is a clear need to strengthen regional approaches to address land and property issues in a comprehensive and holistic manner. There is political will to tackle the issue as well as national land expertise in the region. However, the gap remains in 1) the technical expertise of government officials and practitioners to adapt the Protocol on Property Rights for IDPs and Refugees into national frameworks and 2) knowledge and awareness of governments and practitioners on how to effectively respond specifically to the land and property issues of IDPs and refugees, and women in particular.


Increased Government and practitioner capacity to address the land and property issues of displaced persons and refugees, with particular focus on their relationship to peace and development objectives as well as the impact of insecure tenure on women, in selected Great Lakes States

Expected accomplishments:

  • Strengthened capacity of the ICGLR Secretariat to guide its Member States on the land and property rights of IDPs and refugees
  • Increased knowledge, awareness, and understanding by ICGLR Member States and practitioners on the land and property rights of IDPs and refugees
  • Increased ICGLR Member States and practitioner capacity to adapt the Protocol on Property Rights for IDPs and Refugees into national legal and institutional frameworks, including specific clauses relating to the land and property rights of women

Implementation status:

In progress.