Tag Archives: property rights

Bridging the Gap in Access to Justice: Lessons learned from Afghanistan’s Paktika Province

Disputes over property, such as land and cattle, and other matters are still settled by tribal leaders in many parts of Afghanistan. Huquq activities in Paktika may serve as a model for other communities and pave the way to a more formalized system of justice.

Despite substantial efforts by coalition forces and international donors to strengthen Afghanistan’s formal justice sector, many Afghans remain unaware or highly suspicious of the formal system. The system is considered highly corrupt, with decisions often made in the favor of the highest bidder. In contrast, public trust in informal justice mechanisms, primarily in traditional dispute resolution (TDR), remains high, according to a recent Asia Foundation report entitled “Afghanistan in 2017: A Survey of the Afghan People.” Afghans continue to prefer that tribal elders and local shuras (Arabic for religious councils) settle local disputes. Without improving access to more formalized justice systems or addressing the fragile state of legal reform, stabilization initiatives aimed at reviving the country’s economy will continue to have limited impact. Rather than create new parallel justice systems, often viewed as foreign and imposing, efforts to support and reform existing institutions have a far better chance of being locally accepted, effective, and sustainable.

Residents of Paktika Province are among those who continue to rely on traditional mechanisms to resolve disputes, primarily in the form of mediation shuras led by local tribal elders. Based on my experience in Afghanistan, Paktika provides an interesting case study regarding possible paths to strengthen the nation’s formal justice system. Unlike in other areas of war-torn Afghanistan, Paktika’s tribal system of governance has remained relatively intact, and ordinary citizens continue to resolve conflicts through locally accepted and readily available TDR. Understanding and regular use of the formal justice system by citizens of Paktika is likely, at least, a generation away. However, there is a way to begin closing the gap between the informal and formal systems. The key to improving the country’s justice system is finding the middle ground between the informal and formal systems and to begin knitting together the two systems. The Department of Huquq, which falls under Afghanistan’s Ministry of Justice, is the place to begin.

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Democracy that Delivers #95: Cadasta’s Frank Pichel Explains How Land Rights Impact Modern Economies

From left: guest host Anna Kompanek, podcast guest Frank Pichel, and host Ken Jaques

It is estimated that more than 70 percent of land in emerging economies is held informally, meaning without proper documentation. In this new podcast, Cadasta Foundation  Interim CEO Frank Pichel explains the vital role of land rights within modern economies and how Cadasta is leveraging new technology to strengthen and formalize land tenure systems in developing nations. Pichel, who co-founded the non-profit organization just two over years ago, says Cadasta now works with partners in Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.

CIPE Global Programs Director Anna Kompanek shares additional insight and describes other key projects aimed at addressing property rights issues, as well as related infrastructure or institutions such as access to finance and dispute resolution. CIPE has partnered with the International Real Property Foundation to create the International Property Markets Scorecard. The scorecard maps out the ecosystem of property markets in more than 30 countries to highlight strengths, weaknesses, and possible areas for future reform efforts.

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Democracy that Delivers #67: How Property Rights Are Key to Sustainable Economic Growth

From Left: moderator Anna Kompanek, with panelists Sylvia Luchini, Bill Endsley, Dr. Jolyne Sanjak, and Jane Katz

On the Democracy that Delivers podcast this week, we are sharing the recording of an event CIPE recently co-hosted with the International Real Property Foundation on the topic The Role of Property Rights and Property Markets in Sustainable Urbanization and Economic Growth. Listen to experts discuss how property rights and the institutions that support them –ranging from appropriate regulation to transparent financial markets– are key to sustainable development. Robust private property markets promote social stability, strengthen democratic institutions, and promote economic growth.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for equal rights, in particular by the poor and the vulnerable, to ownership and control over land and other forms of property. The SDGs also call for inclusive and sustainable urbanization, an imperative echoed at the recent United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (HABITAT III). Important progress has been made. Yet, billions of people around the world today still remain without access to secure property rights and the means to build sustainable settlements and economies.

This event took place on the sidelines of the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty.

Panelists: 

  • Bill Endsley, Secretary General, International Real Estate Federation – US Chapter
  • Jane Katz, Director of International Affairs and Programs, Habitat for Humanity International
  • Sylvia Luchini, Managing Director, International Real Property Foundation
  • Dr. Jolyne Sanjak, Chief Program Officer, Landesa
  • Anna Kompanek, Director for Multiregional Programs, CIPE (discussion moderator)

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on your Android device.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #54: Bill Endsley on How Property Rights Are Essential for Business Development and Economic Growth

Podcast guest Bill Endsley

On this week’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, Secretary General of the International Real Estate Federation – USA, Bill Endsley, discusses the importance of property rights for economic growth and prosperity.

Endsley talks about how a lack of property rights, or inadequate access to information on property rights, can undermine markets and impede business development. He highlights trends in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and explains how – even in markets where there is thriving real estate development – poorly functioning property markets can undermine the health and sustainability of the economy. He discusses lessons the rest of the world can learn from the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis.

Endsley also talks about the property markets scorecard project that has mapped out the ecosystems of property markets in 30 countries so far. He highlights resources available through the project and discusses reforms that have been identified as a result of the scorecards. Learn more about the scorecards at www.propertymarketsscorecard.com

International Real Estate Federation – USA: www.fiabci-usa.com

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Kenneth Arrow: Directions of Research in the Coasean Tradition

Marginal Revolution blogger and George Mason University Professor Tyler Cowen moderates a panel on the future of economic research, featuring Nobel laureate Kenneth Arrow.

Marginal Revolution blogger and George Mason University Professor Tyler Cowen moderates a panel on the future of economic research, featuring Nobel laureate Kenneth Arrow.

Last year, CIPE and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Ronald Coase Institute to host a conference that celebrated the legacy of Ronald Coase and review research inspired by his work. Ronald Coase is perhaps best known for his explanation of the importance of transaction costs, property rights, and institutions to the functioning of an economy. A primary thought leader for new institutional economics, he received the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1991.

To recognize the anniversary of the conference, “The Next Generation of Discovery: Research and Policy Change Inspired by Ronald Coase,” CIPE focused this month’s Economic Reform Feature Service article on remarks given by Nobel Laureate and Professor of Economics Emeritus at Stanford University Kenneth Arrow.

To quote Arrow in his opening remarks, Ronald Coase’s work was “provocative, so undriven by fads.” In taking his own independent course, Coase challenged assumptions and norms, and left behind a wealth of insights that continue to influence today’s economic research agenda in a range of fields.

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Russia’s Plan for Economic Recovery: Demolish Small Businesses

With shocking disregard for property rights, due process and the rule of law, overnight on February 9 the Moscow city government set out around city to raze hundreds of small businesses. The demolition took place in spite of the fact that many of these businesses had the proper paperwork to operate a business in that location, and in some cases court orders staying any proposed demolition. While the Moscow city government can rely on revenue from other sources, these kiosks and mini-malls supported hundreds of small shops that provided employment for over 2,000 Moscow residents according to the city’s own estimates.

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Property Rights are Human Rights: How Land Titles Support Self-Determination for Indigenous People

(Photo: Darryl Dyck, The Canadian Press)

(Photo: Darryl Dyck, The Canadian Press)

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Okanagan Aboriginal Leader and President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, was photographed with a broad smile on his face the day of the unanimous Canadian Supreme Court ruling granting the Tsilhqot’in First Nation in Canada title to 1,700-square-kilometer area of their traditional land. To the Grand Chief, the decision enables his community to “participate in the economic future of this province as equal partners.” Chief Roger William of the Xeni Gwet’in, one of the six groups of the Tsilhqot’in, echoed Steward’s enthusiasm, saying “This case is about us regaining our independence to be able to govern our own nation and rely on the natural resources of our land.”

The Canadian Supreme Court gives the Tsilhqot’in full rights to negotiate land use with corporations interested in mining, logging or developing their traditional territory.  Although the impetus for the Tsilhqot’in bringing the court case was a logging license issued by the government, the community is amenable to negotiating with business and developing portions of the Tsilhqot’in land. “The goal is to have proponents actually come through the door of the Tsilhqot’in Nation,” Chief Russell Myers-Ross of Yunesit’in said.

The Tsilihgot’in are among the few indigenous peoples that have full control over the use and development of their traditional land. Partially because of the Tsilihgot’in Nation’s unique history of never having signed land treaties with European settlers, two decades of court cases have paved the way for this land entitlement victory.

Although indigenous people around the world are granted rights to occupy land, these rights rarely extend to ability to manage the economic development of their land, which is generally managed by the government. This means that when businesses are interested in developing these territories they are legally obligated to negotiate use of the land with the government and not the local population.

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