48% of the Filipinos Feel Insecure About property rights.
We know that every day, people around the world are being evicted from
their homes and pushed off their land.
An even higher number of people live in fear that, sometime soon, they
may be forced out.
The global pandemic has added additional pressure while making the need for a
stable place to live all the more urgent.
Having to worry about leaving your home or land is detrimental to the wellbeing and livelihoods of individuals and households forced to contend with the insecurity. It is also detrimental to society as well as the economy as a whole. Without confidence that rights
will be protected, people will shy away from making productive and sustainable investments in their land, homes, and businesses. Improving the security of
property rights also has a significant positive effect on wellbeing, stimulating improvements in quality of life.
In 2015, land and property rights were recognized as an important pathway for reducing poverty and empowering women when they were placed at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Despite the recognition of how important secure land and property rights are to global development, we have not had a reliable picture of where and how they are lacking. Until now.
Between 2018 and 2020, Prindex, a joint initiative of the Overseas Development
Institute (ODI) and Global Land Alliance (GLA), carried out a nationally representative survey of adults in 140 countries. The result is that, for the first time, a global
dataset that quantifies land and property insecurity and allows comparability between countries is now available.
The findings are sobering.
Nearly 1 billion people around the world consider it likely or very likely that
they will be evicted from their land or property in the next five years. This represents nearly 1 in 5 adults in the 140 countries surveyed. Within certain countries
and regions, and among certain groups, insecurity is even higher.
Insecurity is a global problem. Rates of perceived insecurity are lowest in Europe and Central Asia (12%), North America (14%) and East Asia and the Pacific (15%), and highest in sub-Saharan Africa (26%), and the Middle East and North Africa (28%). Rates in Latin
America and the Caribbean (21%) lie in between these two poles.
When interpreting these averages, regional population matters. East Asia and Pacific, with 275 million people, and South Asia, with 269 million people, jointly account
for around 56% of global population and are together home to 57% of those who perceive their property rights to be insecure. Policy interventions targeting
these regions could have a high development impact and facilitate progress toward achieving SDG 1.4.2 and other global development goals.
Four groups, however, stand out as being particularly vulnerable:
1. Women in sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly one in two (48%) women in sub-Saharan Africa feel insecure about their land and property rights when faced with the prospect of widowhood or divorce.
2. Urban dwellers in sub-Saharan Africa and the Philippines. People living in cities experience higher levels of insecurity than those living in rural areas (18% vs. 16%). The difference between levels of insecurity among urban and rural respondents
is widest in sub-Saharan Africa (27% vs. 22%).
Insecurity among urban citizens is also a major driver of insecurity in many Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines (49% vs. 44%).
3. Young people, especially those with basic levels of education or low incomes in high-income countries. Overall, 24% of young people aged 18-25 felt insecure
compared to just 11% of people aged above 65.
4. Renters, especially in the Middle East. A higher proportion of renters feel insecure than owners (34% vs. 9%) across all regions. Nearly half of renters in
the Middle East and North Africa (45%) feel insecure about their property rights.
CASE STUDY : INSECURITY IN CITIES IN THE PHILIPPINES
As of 2020, the Philippines is projected to have nearly 49 million people living in towns and cities, rising to over 59 million by 2030; over half of these will live in Mega-Manila, an area that covers five provinces centring around Metro Manila.
About 20 million of the Philippines’ urban population live in slums. Many lack adequate access to water, housing, sanitation, education, health, and employment.
Of the adult respondents living in towns and cities in the Philippines, 49% report themselves as tenure insecure. This is equivalent to 24 million people who expect, along with their children, to be forced off their land and out of their property over the next five years. This figure could rise to nearly 30 million if current rates of tenure insecurity persist.
Unless this changes, these people could struggle to plan for the future or have a stable base for finding employment. Risk of eviction can loom large, with those living in informal settlements being relocated to new locations by the government.