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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS CAUCUS CSD-8, 1 MAY. 2000:
THE PRESENT SITUATION OF LAND TENURE
A vast number of the poor, indigenous people, and pastoral- nomadic people live in uncertainty and anger over the fact that they have no secure land tenure or adequate shelter. "Security of tenure and elimination of violent forced evictions have been identified as key elements for reducing poverty. Secure tenure improves access of the poor, especially women, to affordable shelter, access to basic services, as well as to informal and formal employment opportunities and direct political representation.". (PrepCom for the Habitat Agenda, Nairobi, 8-12 May, 2000)
DIFFERENT TYPES OF LAND TENURE
We ask that there be a thorough discussion of the various types of land tenure, referred to in paragraph 10 of E/CN.17/2000/11 (Report of the Inter-sessional Ad Hoc Working Group on Integrated Planning and Management of Land Resources; and on Agriculture). We especially ask that the phrase "according to their respective culture and traditions" be preserved in the text, and that there be an explanation of different types of land tenure, that is, private ownership brought to many countries by colonial powers, public ownership, community and traditional types of ownership. There must be appropriate legislation for land tenure enacted so that the poor, the indigenous and the pastoral-nomadic people will have long-term security .'
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND LAND TENURE
We think this issue is critical to bring about sustainable development and the real peace wanted by all citizens, because there has been a tendency for certain elites to grab huge tracts of the best farming land. Thus, there may be the need for redistribution of land and land reform so that there will be a sense of tranquillity and confidence in the government. However, we want to protect the right to traditional ownership of land of indigenous peoples. Furthermore, we ask that there be enabling legislation passed so that the poor and marginalized peoples can organize themselves without interference or fear to demand their rights. Recent UN statements have emphasized that there will never be an eradication of poverty without the poor being empowered, which means that they must know their rights and be organized to able to demand their rights.
The definition of poverty needs to be reviewed and rephrased so as not to include any value judgements. Let us not define poverty in a far flung rainforest in comparison with 'poverty' in rich countries. Is 'poverty' to refer only to material or spiritual poverty? Perhaps the definition needs area specificity.