In the final two years of her mandate, the UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing Raquel Rolnik is engaged in a global study on security of tenure, in order to provide states with guidelines on land administration toward full realization of the human right to adequate housing. In 2012, the Special Rapporteur “mapped” legal guidance, policies and practices with respect to tenure security as a key element of the right to adequate housing, identifying a number of challenges and gaps. In March 2013, she presented a first report [Arabic] on these issues to the UN Human Rights Council (A/HRC/22/46), and states encouraged her to follow-up on these issues work towards more-specific guidance.

On 27–28 May 2013, she convened a regional consultation with the support of Ford Foundation and OHCHR on “security of tenure for the urban poor, including the question of informal settlements,” in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Africa-wide consultation gathered some 25 experts from diverse fields of work, such as human rights defenders and litigators, urban planning and housing policy specialists, including from government, and members of community-based organizations. The organizers invited experts from countries to make presentations on practices and policies that have developed and implemented over years. The MENA region was represented by Yahya Shawkat (EIPR), Kareem Ibrahim (Takween and Tadamun), from Egypt, and Joseph Schechla, representing HIC-MENA.

The expert consultation sought to:

1. Assess the effectiveness and validity of policies and practices that have been implemented or developed to ensure and/or strengthen tenure security for urban poor, particularly informal settlements dwellers, at both national and local levels;

2. Identify key challenges in ensuring tenure security for urban poor, particularly for informal settlements dwellers; and

3. Posed key recommendations of policies, practices, and legislation, which have proved effective in addressing these above challenges.

The outcome of the consultation, incorporating also the results of foregoing such consultations, is a draft set of guidelines that the Special Rapporteur will present to the Human Rights Council in the fall of 2013.