Katmandu, 28 March 2019 – Following years of collaboration between the Government of Nepal, the Global Land Tools Network (GLTN) and all its partners, and in close consultation with experts, communities and other stakeholders, the Government of Nepal has adopted the National Land Policy 2019.
“It is a milestone in addressing long-standing problems such as recognition of informal tenure and equitable access to land for landless, small holders and informal settlers in the Nepalese society. This policy will support achievement of the national goal of sustainable development through good land governance,” said the Joint Secretary and Spokesperson from the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation of Nepal, Mr. Janak Raj Josh.
Nepal’s National Land Policy comes at a time when the country is implementing a federal governance restructuring programme and recovering from a decade-long armed conflict (1996-2006). Parts of Nepal are still struggling to recover and re-build following the devastation caused by the 2015 earthquake which affected millions of Nepalese citizens and destroyed nearly one million homes.
Drawing on the 2015 Constitution to strengthen development and ensure that consideration is given to key global and regional frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGTs) and the New Urban Agenda (NUA), the National Land Policy provides a strong foundation for good land governance. UN-Habitat, GLTN and its partner organizations, the Community Self-Reliance Centre (CSRC), the Government of Nepal and national experts drafted the policy and undertook studies on land and tenure to inform it.
It addresses land administration and land management reforms under six key pillars – security of tenure; access to land; land use; land valuation; taxation and land market; land acquisition; and modernization of land administration services.
The National Land Policy is underpinned by an inclusive agenda that covers the land rights of women and vulnerable groups, including rehabilitation of the landless, squatters and informal tenure-holders for improved housing; access to land and security of tenure; tenure security for landless peasants for farming; women’s access to land ownership; and the optimum use of land for sustainable housing. It is forward looking and considers key environmental challenges related to food security, infrastructure development and the application of fit-for-purpose techniques in land administration.
Over the last seven years, GLTN and its partners have been sharing knowledge, building capacity on international best practices, and providing avenues for consultation and discussion with key stakeholders in different provinces and municipalities. Numerous learning events critical in the development of new, inclusive approaches to tenure security and land management, understanding various stakeholders’ needs, and ensuring a common understanding of the policy’s scope have been held.
To implement the National Land Policy, Nepal will now focus on dialogue and capacity building with multiple stakeholders at provincial and local levels on the benefits of the land policy; building capacity in the use of GLTN tools such as the Fit-For-Purpose approach and how this can be used to address outstanding land administration challenges in line with federal restructuring; and Identification, Verification and Recordation (IVR) of informal tenure-holders covering approximately 25 per cent arable land.
Additional areas of focus will be amendment and enactment of land legislation at the federal, provincial and local levels in line with the provisions of the new land policy; training and implementation of Land Use Planning at the municipal levels; and collaboration with national agencies, development partners and civil society organizations to fill the financial and technical gaps required to implement the policy.