The world has changed in the year and a half since Habitat for Humanity closed Solid Ground, a 4-year global advocacy campaign to increase access to land for shelter. The significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout are still unfolding. The Solid Ground campaign helped to change policies and systems to improve access to land for shelter for over 12 million people. This session shared the lessons learned from Solid Ground including details of the transformative impact of land and housing against the background of shocks and stressors, using a case in point from Nepal.
The global pandemic has increased the urgency and push for better quality and more hygiene, especially in the urban reality. It also exposed how fragile the position of land-owners is when there is no strong safety net from the government. During this panel the speakers emphasized the following key takeaways:
- Engagement with governments is key in successful access to land for shelter.
- We need to look beyond the traditional debates and embed the debate within broader industries and city-making practices.
- There is a huge need for data and evidence-based engagement which will help to find these more creative solutions.
- From a field perspective, in Nepal we see that -aside from government support- community engagement is key in raising awareness and public support.
- There is need for a balance between the terms of rights and responsibilities within the area of land for shelter and to reach this we need to really focus on system and policy changes through long term goals and short term action.