I2UD attends its first GLTN Partners’ Meeting

Maren Larsen attended the Global Land Tool Network Partner’s Meeting in the Hague from November 11th – 15th where she represented I2UD in the International Training/Research Institution Cluster.

Photo courtesy of UN-Habitat/GLTN


Having joined the Global Land Tool Network in early 2013, the GLTN 5th Partner’s Meeting held at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs was the first opportunity for I2UD to meet the network and learn about synergies between the Institute’s work in urban land policy and administration around the world and the dynamic work plan of the GLTN. One of the key objectives of the meeting  was to strengthen partnerships to build a more sound network. Kees de Zeeuw of Kadaster International aptly pointed out in the opening plenary that the word “partners” is often just a professional term for “friends.” If that is the case, the GLTN meeting allowed I2UD to reconnect with old friends, and make several new ones while advancing the land tool development and implementation agenda.

Land tools are essentially operational approaches that allow partners working on land issues to overcome various land challenges. The GLTN has identified 18 different land tools backed by pro-poor, gender sensitive, affordable, and sustainable values, among others. While major gains have been achieved in the roll out of these various tools, partners were kept busy focusing on country-level implementation and coordination while strengthening policy frameworks and improving global knowledge integration. While significant work time was dedicated to formulating work plans within each cluster, time was also allocated to collaborate on a cross-cluster basis based on tool themes and regional specificities. I2UD chose to actively participate in debates in the African context and around land-based financing, land readjustment and city-wide slum upgrading tools, areas in which the Institute has significant project experience and where it can contribute to best practice development and knowledge sharing.

Photo courtesy of UN-Habitat/GLTN

Day 1 was spent in organizational clusters where I2UD and partner training and research institutions debated the role of the cluster and how to best contribute to the overall work of the network as academics and scholars. Building evidence, developing curricula, and deepening and framing the land tool discourse were cited as potential areas where the cluster could have ‘value-added’ in the network. I2UD was made aware of several partner resources that we are happy to share with our blog readers below.

The morning of Day 2 was spent working towards drafts of country level implementation plans. With several new partners active in Africa, work concentrated on familiarizing participants of all the activities being carried out in the land domain on the continent by GLTN partners. I2UD highlighted its past and ongoing projects both in South Africa and Tanzania as experiences that could contribute to the eventual workplan. The afternoon was spent with De Gebouwengids or “The Building Guide” who organised an architectural/social housing learning tour of Rotterdam that highlighted different models of housing development with interventions from a representative of Woonstad Rotterdam (a social housing agency responsible for housing for 1/6 of Rotterdam’s population), the innovative, DIY collective Urbannerdam initiative, along with various architects involved in individual home projects and entire social housing complexes. The tour gave great perspective on various ways of housing the urban population and the development/gentrification  dynamics at play in Rotterdam.

Lastly, Day 3 concentrated on identifying and advancing work on land tools across clusters. Partners from various clusters met to discuss land readjustment, land-based financing and city-wide slum upgrading and carried out a thoughtful debate about specific tools such as taxation, accountability, local government negotiating capacity, the premise of equity, urgency of tools, and incorporating civil society in upgrading programs.

Photo courtesy of UN-Habitat/GLTN

The GLTN 5th Partners Meeting was an engaging and highly-participatory conference. I2UD is excited to be counted as a new member of this dynamic group of experts and institutions and looks forward to identifying more concrete ways to participate and contribute.

- Maren Larsen, Research Associate, I2UD


Post-conference report from GLTN’s websiteThe Land Portal. This web resource hosts an abundance of information on land related issues and is supported by a wide coalition of partners, including GLTN Partner IALTA.

Land Administration for Sustainable Development. 2009. Ian Williamson, Stig Enemark (from GLTN Partner Aalborg University), Jude Wallace, and Abbas Rajabifard. E-book downloadable for free here!

Trading Places: Accessing Land in African Cities. 2013. Mark Napier (Programme Director of GLTN Partner – Urban LandMark), Stephen Berrisford, Caroline Wanjiku Kihato, Rob McGaffin, and Lauren Royston. The full book is available for download  here!