Syrian refugees, IDPs and local communities to enjoy formal and informal HLP rights
United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat)
Technical support for initiatives promoting secure housing, land, and property rights for forcibly displaced persons.
The protracted conflict that erupted in Syria in 2011 continues has caused the largest population displacement in the world, with 6.6 million Syrian refugees worldwide, 5.6 millions of whom are hosted in countries near Syria and another 6.7 million people displaced within Syria. A result of the conflict a number of new HLP issues emerged and old ones aggravated: damage to housing and production assets, proliferation of informal settlements, deterioration of HLP services and loss of land registries.
With the continuous decline of the economy, the Syrian Pound lost more than 95% of its pre-conflict value. All these factors have led to a situation where options for adequate housing have diminished for the majority of the Syrian people, including and above all those the internally displaced persons. Since 2017, UN-Habitat has been providing support to the local population in several Syrian cities for them to enjoy their HLP rights as part of UN-Habitat’s contribution to peace and reconciliation. This includes but not limited to analyzing the institutional and legal HLP framework, promoting local housing recovery schemes, supporting the recovery of HLP services and addressing the issue of lost/destroyed cadastral registries. UN-Habitat Syria commits to continue technical support for the Syrian IDPs, host communities and (indirectly) refugees to have better access to their HLP rights with special focus on women and children by:
Improve access to HLP documentation and services by repairing and equipping the damaged service hubs and building the institutional capacity to provide quality service to those who are in need;
Improve safety of land records by (1) creating digital and searchable archives and (2) supporting the restoration of lost/damaged land records;
Promote recognition of informal HLP rights through the recordation of HLP right claims of slums and informal neighbourhoods in the official land registry. This will take place by: (1) establishing service centres along with the necessary equipment, software and trained personnel to receive rightsholders applications and register and process their claims, (2) supporting the implementation of national laws requiring the registration of informal properties in the official land registry system;
Promote inclusive and participatory urban development practices in Syrian cities by developing and advocating proposals for land development that guarantee the inclusion of the less privileged categories and prevent development schemes that cause gentrification and loss of HLP rights. This will take place by a mix of legislative reform proposals, guidance notes, advocacy, capacity building of urban planners and university students and small pilots; and
Promote community-led local housing recovery practices in the conflict-affected neighbourhoods by developing and piloting a local housing recovery approach using the Urban Recovery Framework (URF) and community engagement approaches (both developed and/or adapted by UN-Habitat Syria) which allow for the concerned stakeholders to mobilize their resources while the affected able to make decisions and take action. This response will require extensive advocacy, awareness raising and capacity-building activities targeting the concerned stakeholders as well as targeted pilots aiming at experimenting and adjusting the approach.