3 October 2016, Kabul – During a ceremony at the Presidential Palace earlier this month, H.E President Ashraf Ghani handed over the first 10 occupancy certificates to women and men of District 1 in the Kabul municipality, as part of a new initiative to increase security of tenure in Kabul. In his address, the President emphasized the Government’s commitment to protect the property of Kabul citizens, especially those living in informal settlements. “This program will ensure that the property of Kabul residents is secure, and this will improve security in Kabul and in the nation” he said.
The ceremony was organized by the Afghanistan’s Independent Land Authority (ARAZI) and supported by the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MUDH), Independent Directorate of Local Governance (IDLG), and Kabul Municipality (KM). In his speech, Hon. Jawad Peikar, CEO of ARAZI said “This government will implement what was promised to Afghans many years ago. The issuance of occupancy certificates is a first step towards obtaining a deed for the 70% (urban) and 80% (rural) of citizens who do not have legal documents for the land that they occupy.”
The certification process is part of a program that aims to recognize and regularize the various forms of tenure that exist outside the formal register among urban poor communities including in informal settlements in Kabul city. This will not only provide the incentive for residents to invest in the improvement of their living conditions, but it also helps bring such settlements into the formal system of land management making it easier for the municipality to improve infrastructure and provide basic services to those communities. The goal is to improve land tenure security for approximately 330,000 urban households and 100,000 non-residential property owners in Kabul over the next four years. The program is funded by USAID.
Millions of people in Afghan cities, including in Kabul, are faced with extremely low level of tenure security, living in fear of eviction and with limited access to basic services such as water, sewerage, and electricity. To address this challenge, the Government of Afghanistan with technical support from UN-Habitat has adopted an incremental approach to strengthening tenure security. This involves gradually upgrading the land and property rights of urban households through the issuance of occupancy certificates and improving the quality of community infrastructure and provision of basic services. The improvement of tenure security is a cornerstone for social and economic development of Afghan cities.