HLP: Demystifying 'Tenure' for Humanitarian Practitioners 2021

The primary audience of this note is CCCM practitioners or other thematic specialists that rely on the use of buildings, land, property, and natural resources.

The purpose of this guidance document is to 1) clarify the concept of tenure, 2) outline how tenure can be used by humanitarian actors to analyze, understand, and engage with relationships within conflict-affected communities, 3) provide teams with tools and best practices to improve tenure interventions and prevent conflicts, and 4) establish an outline for future training.

The first section on clarifying the concept of tenure includes useful information on what tenure agreements are and how they work and the different types of tenure legal systems. It also includes a concise breakdown of the components of a tenure agreement. A chart is provided outlining different rights and responsibilities (bundle of rights and responsibilities) that can be combined and considerations to find a balance between them so humanitarian practitioners can help facilitate participatory discussions about rights and responsibilities related to tenure agreements. The chart is categorized by access, use or benefit, exclusion, transfer, management, due process and compensation with best practices and responsibilities provided for each category. Women’s rights and responsibilities over HLP and natural resources are highlighted.

The guidance document includes a section explaining how securing tenure improves relationships and prevents conflicts. A chart is provided detailing best practices for keeping records and working with third parties to assist in dispute resolution. A scenario is included that provides a snapshot of how multiple relationships to HLP and natural resources overlap and the different rights, responsibilities, and power dynamics that are at play. The scenario includes themes such as customary land boundaries, natural resources, burial sites, multiple claimants to a parcel, and informal rental arrangements. A set of practice-based questions that should be considered when addressing this HLP and tenure context is also provided.