New recommendations could have a positive impact for millions of people throughout the world.

Practical manual utilises the IVS Framework to establish a recommended valuation approach for unregistered land.


The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) – a multi-sectoral alliance of international partners committed to increasing access to land and tenure security for all, with a particular focus on the poor, women and youth – has published a manual setting out a practical approach to the valuation of unregistered land. It is designed to aid the implementation of Valuation of Unregistered Lands: A Policy Guide, prepared by the GLTN for UN-Habitat in 2018.

In many developing countries, only 30 per cent of land rights are registered (UN-Habitat/ GLTN and IIRR 2012) and the rest are unregistered lands that may be held by poor people. Yet there is a dire need for governments and individuals to be able to value these lands. Valuation is necessary to improve control over land and property in a way that builds equitable access to financial services and mobilizes resources for economic growth and poverty reduction. Valuation tools are critical to upgrade informal settlements, support the resettlement of displaced people and for investment and development projects. It is vital for improving transparency in non-transparent land markets, which disadvantage the poor. Without a clear approach for valuing their land, poor occupants may lose out on getting the right value for their land and weaken the local community economy and this could entrench poverty even further in their lives.

Building on the Policy Guide, and with a view to supporting its widespread implementation, the GLTN has been working with RICS, FIG, the IVSC and the wider international valuation industry, to develop practical guidance on this issue for policy makers, practitioners and other stakeholders.

Chair of the IVSC Tangible Assets Board, Ben Elder, has been heavily involved in the project and sees an important role for the International Valuation Standards in the advancement of land tenure security in less developed markets:

“This manual and the years of work that have preceded its publication demonstrates that valuation standards can have a positive impact not only in the sophisticated urban markets of this world but also in the less developed areas that may be vulnerable to exploitation. It was clear from the outset that reflecting the IVS was a core objective.  By achieving this, the manual can be readily adopted by the widest range of international stakeholders, from governments and NGOs to investors, lenders and VPOs. The manual is designed to bring consistency in the approach to valuing unregistered land aiding transparency and understanding. It also plays an important role as part of the ESG agenda that so many are wrestling with at this time. Ben Elder, Chair of the IVSC Tangible Assets Board and Chair of FIG Commission 9

Unregistered lands are normally occupied by individuals and communities who face specific challenges, such as poverty, or who are otherwise marginalized in their societies. This is true in both urban and rural settings. Effective land valuation is essential to fair land transactions, including development-related displacement. It is also an important aspect of other processes, such as land registration, the recognition of occupancy, and in achieving a regional and national balance in economic and social development. Land valuation is part of putting people and places on the administrative and market map. Robert Lewis-Lettington, Chief, Land, Housing and Shelter Section, UN-Habitat

You can find out more about the work of the GLTN, and download the manual here.