From the demonstrated political will and commitment of Member States, inter-governmental platforms, regional frameworks, UN system partners, and multilateral financial institutions in fostering conditions for safe and dignified returns, local integration, and other local solutions, to the broad-based peacebuilding efforts of said actors in addressing the root causes of displacement – complemented by grassroots-level conflict-sensitive, HDP nexus programming – we acknowledge the progress made towards preventing and resolving forced displacement and the resultant impact on both countries of origin and asylum, mindful that there is yet much ground to be covered.
To this end, the 2021 High Level Officials Meeting (HLOM) – mandated by the General Assembly, as per the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) – called for increased resources and enhanced planning and programme implementation in support of voluntary returns, and improved capacities and cooperation among key actors for addressing the root causes of forced displacement in countries of origin.
Building on the promising practices and opportunities for scaled-up engagement on safe and dignified voluntary returns and addressing the root causes of forced displacement – with an outlook to GRF 2023 – a multi-stakeholder pledge, framed against recommendations 18 through 20 of the 2021 HLOM and contributing to GCR Objective 4, has been formulated to leverage the current momentum around area-based initiatives with strong operative linkages to security of tenure in housing, land and property in countries of origin.
This pledge also brings into sharp focus, recommendations 9 through 11 of the 2021 HLOM – in relation to GCR Objective 1 on '[Easing] pressures on host countries'. Accordingly, this pledge further seeks to leverage new and emerging financial instruments, funding windows and other platforms that promote equitable burden and responsibility sharing, increased development financing, and more flexible, predictable, and multi-year funding for refugee responses.
Prospective pledging entities – including Member States, multi-lateral financial institutions, development cooperation and foreign aid agencies, refugee-led, civil society and humanitarian organizations – with a vested interest in supporting conditions in countries of origin for safe and dignified returns, while promoting local integration and other local solutions are hereby invited to offer consideration towards the following.
HOUSING, LAND AND PROPERTY
This pledge follows the theme ‘Advancing Durable Solutions through Secure Housing, Land and Property Rights’ – which effectively promotes sustainable reintegration, local integration, and other local solutions, and thereby contributes to Objectives 1 and 4 of the GCR (to ease pressures on host countries and support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity).
It seeks to consolidate and build upon the many promising practices at the national and sub-national levels that reinforce adequate housing as a human right, and secure access to land as a cross-cutting imperative for durable solutions and long-term development outcomes.
Informed by a series of regional consultations, country missions and desk reviews – covering 4 key 'Areas of Focus’ – this pledge is geared towards defining a more predictable, equitable and sustainable system of response to the housing, land and property challenges facing refugees, returnees and their host communities.
Importantly, this pledge is firmly established in the ideals of good land governance – characterized by accessible, transparent processes that enable forcibly displaced persons to participate in decision-making on how land is used, managed, and developed, ultimately contributing to the overall recovery from conflict, peace-building and bringing displacement to an end – and is therefore framed squarely against recommendations 18 through 20, backed by recommendations 9 through 11 of the 2021 High Level Officials Meeting.
It is furthermore understood that secure access to land plays a critical role in facilitating access to a range of human rights – as prescribed under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights – including the right to food, shelter, water, sanitation, health, work, security, and freedom of movement, just to mention a few.
Access to land has therefore been identified in some of the UN System’s most authoritative guiding documents – including ECOSOC’s ‘General Comment No. 26 (2022) on land and economic, social and cultural rights’ UNCCD’s ‘Global Land Outlook (Second Edition) – Land Restoration for Recovery and Resilience’ – as a key factor and operative link between global trends such as climate change, disaster risk, land degradation, desertification, food insecurity, biodiversity loss, and the consequent escalation of tensions over access to and use of land and natural resources and forced displacement.
The impact of climate change alone on access to and use of productive land across many of our operations has been most evident. In coastal zones, sea level rise continues to impact housing and livelihoods, while changing patterns of precipitation and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events such as droughts and floods are increasingly affecting access to land across various geographical and climatic zones.
This pledge has therefore been formulated on the premise that any effort to effectively increase the proportion of forcibly displaced men, women and children with secure access to housing and land, must be underscored by greater burden- and responsibility sharing among a wide cross-section of actors.
Member States and other prospective pledging entities – including multi-lateral financial institutions, development cooperation and foreign aid agencies, refugee-led, civil society and humanitarian organizations – are hereby encouraged to facilitate and/or promote:
Provisions for restitution: State actors in countries of origin commit to undertaking and/or initiating activities and accommodating international and/or local support (as required) toward facilitating restitution of housing, land and property for returnee men and women - including by way of shaping the requisite policy, legal and regulatory frameworks, and provision of material and/or in-kind support for restitution processes and programming – as per the 'Right to Adequate Housing' and in accordance with International Law.
Formally-recognized documentation of tenure in the allocation/ provision of housing and/or land: State actors commit to undertaking and/or initiating activities and accommodating international and/or local support (as required) toward the provision of formal documentation of tenure and improved perceptions of tenure security for refugee and returnee men, women and children as a central facet of housing and/or land allocation programmes.
Material support for initiatives promoting adequate housing and/or land allocation – underpinned by secure tenure – for forcibly displaced persons: Donor States and other development actors commit to supporting refugee hosting states and countries of origin – by way resource mobilization (via earmarked financial instruments and technical assistance) and other forms of material support – in addressing the barriers to secure access to adequate and affordable housing and/or land for forcibly displaced men, women and children.
In-kind support for initiatives promoting adequate housing and/or land allocation – underpinned by secure tenure – for forcibly displaced persons: Donor States and other development actors commit to supporting refugee hosting States and countries of origin – by way of technical assistance and other forms of in-kind support (including via development cooperation programming) – in addressing the barriers to secure tenure for forcibly displaced men, women and children.
Supplementary to the above, this pledge further encourages the engagement of development actors in support of capacity-building for National Statistical Offices (NSOs) – via methodological guidance, technical assistance, and/or earmarked financing – toward the inclusion of forcibly displaced population types in the monitoring of SDG indicator 1.4.2 (on tenure security) for forcibly displaced men and women as accounted for under the Multistakeholder Pledge on Inclusion of Forcibly Displaced and Stateless Persons in National Statistical Systems and Surveys.
We are proud to work with a diverse group of partners who share our commitment to promoting peace, security, and sustainable development. Our partners include government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and local communities. Together, we are working towards a brighter future for conflict-affected regions around the world.