Urban LandMark is coming to the end of the first phase of its operations. Since 2006 the programme has received sustained core and project funding from UKaid. During these last seven years the programme has achieved a great deal in its purpose of building an evidence base to understand and then intervene to improve access to land and property markets for poor urban people. In a context of good land governance and a clear rights base, this remains central to achieving resilience for the majority of people living in slums in rapidly urbanising cities and towns. The work has attracted a sizeable user group to our website, with a sustained average of over 3,500 unique visitors a month.
Over the last three years, Urban LandMark has broadened its funding base and its geographic focus. We have taken on funded policy and research projects with state departments, the World Bank around the national Land Governance Assessment Framework, and regional work funded by Cities Alliance to set up a resource base to support the achievement of tenure security in real situations in the region (including Angola, Mozambique, Malawi and SA).
At the end of March, we will be moving to "Phase 2" of our operations as a programme. Over the last three months we have looked at different business models which would allow us to continue the work off a broad funding support base. What this investigation has led to is a decision that to survive and grow we should move the programme to a new hosting institution. We're in discussion with several organisations to explore the basis for that next phase. More news will be forthcoming on this.
We are committed to making sure that the evidence base remains available to our user group and to taking the mandate forwards in one form or another.
At this point, I would like to thank the staff, the theme area coordinators, our advisory and management committees, our client and interest base, and the many research and advocacy consultants and NGOs for their devotion and commitment to taking forward this agenda over the last seven years. A particular thanks to the UK Department for International Development and to their advisors, who over the years have encouraged, supported and guided the work.
Our annual conference happens on 13th and 14th March, where we will reflect on the impacts that the range of organisations active in our sector is having on the continent. We would value your participation in this discussion and reflection, especially in shaping the next phase of the work.
Finally, as a legacy project flowing out of this phase of the programme, we're busy writing a short book on what we have collectively learnt about making urban land markets more accessible to poor people and communities. This should be available towards the end of April.
Urban LandMark remains committed to its original objective of improving the resilience and ability of poor people in urban areas to create wealth through access to property rights, well located land and functional urban land markets and governance systems. Phase Two of the programme will build on the work undertaken in the first seven years and will strengthen the evidence base that has already been developed and the broad-based partnerships that have been created.
Mark Napier, March 2013