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ONLINE workshop "Formalizing the Informal to Protect Residents in Informal Settlements"

17 June 2020 14:30 - 17:00
Hosted at Geneva Switzerland
banner for the UNECE-FIG online workshop 2020

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries requested their citizen to ‘stay at home’ to stay safe. Not for everyone home is actually a safe place. Housing conditions and density of informal settlements often do not allow residents to follow basic hygienic measures or to keep the minimum social distance to reduce spreading the virus.

This joint UNECE - FIG online workshop looked at the situation of informal settlements in the pan-European region and ways to formalize informal developments. The Guidelines for the Formalization of Informal Constructions, illustrated by case studies from the region, was launched during the workshop. The publication was developed jointly by the UNECE Working Party on Land Administration (WPLA) and the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG). It is a brief, practical and easy-to-read guide, explaining how to structure a programme for the formalization of informal constructions.

As countries are preparing for post-COVID recovery, these Guidelines may be of particular interest. Benefits from formalizing informal settlements could contribute to economic recovery by integrating them into land markets, with clear ownership titles and registration. Security of tenure, right to ownership of land and property provides access to credit and environmental, planning, construction, and utility-provision improvements can be initiated to a standard where people can live in adequate and healthy homes.

The publication was planned to be launched at the FIG Working Week 2020 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands at a special joint UNECE - FIG session. As the Working Week was cancelled, the launch has been converted into this online workshop.


Provisional agenda (as of 15 June)

Opening remarks and presentations

Opening remarks

Doris Andoni, Chair, UNECE Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management

Rudolf Staiger, President, FIG


Formalization of Informal Constructions to Protect and Empower Residents
Prof Chryssy Potsiou, Honorary FIG President and WPLA Vice-Chair

Formalization of Informal Constructions as a Tool for Poverty Alleviation and Security
Steven Nystrom, NewStream Companies

Case studies

Republic of North Macedonia
Ms. Sonja Dimova, State Advisor for geomatics, Republic of North Macedonia

Doris Andoni, Head, Housing Policy, Ministry of Finance and Economy
 of Albania

Prof Chryssy Potsiou, Honorary FIG President and WPLA Vice-Chair

Ms. Nadiia Yeremenko, UNECE Housing and Land Management

Q&A portion

Click here to see questions related to the topic of the workshop and answers from Mr. Steven Nystrom

Video recording of the workshop

Watch it in YouTube

Good to know

Based on a survey conducted simultaneously with the workshop: 

1- From which country are you joining?

2- How likely will you use or consult the "Guidelines for the formalization of informal constructions" in practice?

3- What could support implementation of these guidelines in practice?