Urban Legislation, Land and Governance Branch UN-Habitat

Cyprian Selebalo

Mr. Selebalo holds a Masters Degree of Science in Land Surveying specialising in Land Information Systems and Land Management. He has over 30 years experience in the field of land management, land administration and land policy. He also has expertise in the area of technical advice, policy development, land reform, human settlements whilst working within a cross-cultural and multinational spectrum of partners and stakeholders including Governments, development partners and NGOs. He has undertaken coordination of multi-donor funded projects in land reforms in countries such as Lesotho and Cambodia. He has major interest in innovative approaches for tenure security in informal settlements prior to or without formal titling.

Prior to joining UN-HABITAT, Mr. Selebalo worked with the World Bank in Cambodia from 2007-2010, where he provided technical contribution and policy advise to all land related project support to Cambodian Government and other stakeholders. Previously he headed the National Mapping Agency in Lesotho from 1995-2007 where he was involved in internal coordination to facilitate land registration processes, physical planning and land use planning activities; inter-ministerial coordination with all government ministries and agencies on their mapping requirements; and coordination with all users within and outside the country to meet their data requirements. He supported land reform activities under a multi-donor funded (DFID, GTZ, WB) project as a Project Coordinator on secondment to GTZ (2000-2004); and facilitated the development the land component of Lesotho compact project supported by the Millennium Challenges Cooperation (MCC) during 2005 to 2007.

Mr. Selebalo works as the Technical Advisor within Land and Global Land Tool Network Unit of UN-Habitat supporting member countries on land related policies and technical land management issues.

Land and GLTN Unit
Urban Legislation, Land and Governance Branch


The relevance of land readjustment as a tool to deliver better community engagement, fix-up informal land systems, and improve the supply of serviced urban land in developing countries

Land readjustment is one of the oldest land management instruments that local governments and countries at large have employed to improve the availability of serviced urban land in and around cities. It has proven to be exceptionally useful in countries like Germany, Japan, Spain, South Korea, Turkey, Thailand and Colombia. In some of these countries, a third of the built-up environment is created or recreated using land readjustment.

In recognition of its potential to rationalize land allocation and use in and around cities of developing countries, land readjustment is one of the eighteen tools that the GLTN identified for further research and innovation with a view to making it attuned and respond to complex realities of informal urbanization.  Very recently, land readjustment has gained considerable currency as a tool that will help reduce informality by changing discourse and engagement with communities in and around informal settlements, improving the availability of land through negotiated processes, providing pathways that may allow mobilization of financial resources (for example through land value sharing or land based financing) within and around communities that land readjustment projects are likely to affect.

Among other things, land readjustment typically requires a reasonably functioning land administration and land and property valuation systems. These systems don’t exist in the informal settlements of developing countries or in disrepair. The potential use and success of land readjustment in such contexts therefore is contingent upon the creation and revitalization of such systems through pro-poor, affordable, fir-for-purpose, inclusive, etc process and approaches. These processes and approaches very much underpin GLTN’s work and most recently reflect UN-Habitat’s thinking following the  identification of Participatory and Inclusive Land Readjustments (PILaR) as the Agency’s flagship project .

This presentation outlines opportunities, challenges and risks associated with the afore-mentioned thinking and more importantly the emerging practice. It presents the promise that LR in general and PILaR in particular hold in realizing the goals of the New Urban Agenda with emphasis on managing informality. In so doing, the contribution does not only aim to sensitize the geospatial communities, but also to engage them with a view to soliciting their feedback and input on the subject.

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