Uncharted territory: land, conflict and humanitarian action
Sara Pantuliano and Samir Elhawary | Overseas Development Institute | 2009
Land issues, particularly its access, ownership and use, are often central to understanding the dynamics of conflict and post-conflict settings, particularly in contexts of large scale displacement. The issues affect both the choice to return and the prospects for recovery, yet an understanding of these issues is minimal amongst the humanitarian community.
There are, however, signs of increasing aware-ness of the importance of land issues in humanitarian crises. In 2005, the Humanitarian Response Review identified land and property as a major gap in the humanitarian response system, and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) subsequently launched various initiatives aimed at improving prepared-ness and contingency planning around land issues. Guidelines are also being developed by UN-Habitat for the Cluster Working Group on Early Recovery.
This HPG Policy Brief seeks to inform and build upon these various initiatives. Humanitarian action is understood here in its broader form, extending beyond mere relief to include advocacy, protection and attention to livelihoods and early recovery.