On Friday, February 13, 2015 USAID sponsored a panel discussion on the topic: Land Tenure and Disasters. The event highlighted the important linkages that exist between land tenure and disaster planning and recovery. Among the key takeaways from the event were the importance of proactively addressing land tenure as a part of disaster risk reduction activities (for example by supporting community enumerations to record property claims); the need to pay greater attention to the tenure rights of women and other vulnerable groups (which are too easily overlooked in post-disaster reconstruction efforts); and, the difficulties of helping people rebuild in environments where land governance is weak. By drawing on their personal experiences in Haiti, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia the panelists underscored the message that addressing land tenure concerns before and after disasters is critical for building resilience and reducing the human and social costs associated with disaster relief.
Panelists included Dr. Cynthia Caron of Clark University (co-author of USAID’s Land Tenure and Disasters Issue Brief), Ms. Adriana Navarro-Sertich of the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS), and Independent Contractor Mr. Bharat Pathak (formerly of Mercy Corps). Mr. Tim Fella, Land Tenure and Conflict Advisor in USAID’s Land Tenure and Resource Management Office moderated the discussion, which included nearly 100 in-person and on-line participants.