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Establishment of Somaliland Land & Urban Management Institute (LUMI)
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Project description

A decade-long civil war in Somalia in the 1980s pitting government forces and the Somali National Movement (SNM) forces in the north-west and rebel militia in the south culminated in the overthrow of the Siad Barre regime in 1991. On 18 May 1991, SNM proclaimed the independence of Somaliland within the borders of the former British Somaliland Protectorate. In 1993 the SNM handed over power to a civilian government under a transitional charter and in 1997 the transitional charter was replaced by a provisional constitution. In 2001, the provisional constitution was approved by 97% of the votes cast in a national referendum. Since then, three elections have been held successfully for the District Councils (2002), Presidency (2003) and House of Representatives (2005). Since 1991, the Somaliland government has achieved a remarkable level of social and political stability despite the lack of recognition by the international community. The government has also established formal governance structures with limited but growing capacity. This has led the United Nations and international donors to initiate a variety of programmes to support reconstruction and development activities of both the local and central governments.
Location: Hargeisa, Somaliland
- Regional Office for Arab States
Partner: Ministry of Public Works, Housing, and Transport, Ministry of Interior, FAO-SWALIM, Civil Service Institute, local NGO’s
- Slum / human settlements upgrading
- Water Sanitation and Infrastructure
Budget: USD 3,796,569

Focus Area(s)

- FA2: Promotion of participatory urban planning, management and governance
- FA3: Promote pro-poor land and housing
- FA4: Environmentally sound basic urban infrastructure and services


The civil war caused huge displacement of the Somali population. While some fled to neighbouring countries and other safe havens abroad, large sections of the populations remained in the country as internally displaced persons/communities. Protracted war by clan-based militia in the central and south continues to cause major displacements even today. Displaced communities require physical protection and financial assistance to restore livelihoods and for affordable housing. In the urban areas, widespread land grabbing and secondary occupation of abandoned properties (including public properties) took place in the transitional period. The lack of a comprehensive and enforceable land policy and land law, coupled with a weak institutional framework and technical capacity, has made land management very difficult in Somaliland. The loss of land records during and after the war has led to inequitable land distribution and a deterioration of the land administration process. Increasing rates of urbanisation in the main towns due to large numbers of internally displaced communities, returnees and the drift of nomadic rural folk to the towns is a major challenge for urban planning. Land survey and mapping methods are inefficient, while land property registration and taxation systems are incomplete and out of date. As a result, land ownership and land use conflicts are common, often violent and may very well spur fresh conflict. As a result, urban settlements fall significantly short of MDGs related to shelter, water and sanitation. Urban infrastructure and the institutional capacity for urban management is poor.The lack of state control and effective governance led to misuse of natural resources and deforestation mainly in the rural areas causing environmental degradation and water scarcity. The management of communal land and natural resources is largely hampered by a non-effective judiciary system that is compromised by the application of a plural legal system that also features customary and religious law.


  • Improve the capacity of central and local authorities to formulate, develop, implement, and enforce land policy and land law
  • Strengthen the capacity of land management organizations to perform their functions by training their staff on appropriate technical skills
  • Improve access to, and delivery of land administration services by increasing land-based revenues and investing in appropriate technology

Target group

  • This project aims to enhance the ability of relevant departments in central and local governments to formulate land policy and land law, and to deliver improved land administration services to citizens.
  • The direct beneficiaries of the project are Somaliland Ministry of Public Works, Housing & Transport (MoPWHT) and Ministry of Interior (MoI).
  • All citizens that receive improved services from these ministries are indirect beneficiaries.



If you may be interested in funding this project, please contact us: info.rmu@unhabitat.org
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