1st July 2018, Jalalabad. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is distributing land occupancy certificates (OCs) to residents of urban informal urban areas. On 1st July 2018, H.E President Muhammad Ashraf Ghani issued land occupancy certificates during a ceremony in the city of Jalalabad. Five hundred households in Jalalabad received the occupancy certificates (OCs) under the auspices of the Office of the President and the Afghanistan Land Authority (ARAZI).
This initiative is part of the City for All (CFA) programme, a government-led programme supported by UN-Habitat. CFA is currently supporting twelve municipalities to survey and register all properties within their municipal boundaries. So far, CFA has surveyed and registered 491,282 urban properties. Preliminary findings indicate that only 14% of the surveyed properties in Kabul (and 17% in other provincial cities) are in possession of a formal title deed. The aim of the CFA programme is to survey and register 1 million properties by 2020.
With a growing urban population, a significant amount of internally displaced people and returning refugees, the role of Afghan cities as catalyzers of economic and social development is crucial. For urban citizens residing in informal settlements, the issuance of occupancy certificates guarantees the right to stay in their homes without a threat of eviction. The formal registration of hitherto informal properties also encourages economic investment, increases property value and promotes economies of agglomeration. The de facto recognition of the contribution of well-planned, regulated and financed urbanization to the prosperity and sustainable development of nations, especially in developing countries, is one of the major novelties enshrined in the United Nations’ New Urban Agenda.
With the financial support of USAID and the EU, and technical assistance of UN-Habitat, ARAZI has opened a new chapter of land reform in Afghanistan by guaranteeing security of tenure to all urban dwellers including women. A newly adopted land regulation calls for occupancy certificates to be issued jointly to heads of households and their spouses for all properties on state owned land. This gender empowerment measure is unprecedented in the history of Afghanistan. At UN-Habitat, we congratulate the Government of Afghanistan for its commitment to sustainable urban development and inclusive, safe and resilient cities for all.