Rwanda Land Management and Use Authority (RLMUA) has recently issued fresh guidelines to address the issue of emerging formal settlements by putting in place mechanisms to turn them into well-planned habitats. This Participatory Land Readjustment, the first of its kind, will bank on community participation to ensure the over 61 per cent of the country’s population currently living in an informal settlements relocated to better abodes. Land Readjustment (LR) is an approach introduced to promote optimal use of land through a participatory and inclusive planning process where landowners of the given site voluntarily consolidate their plots for proper infrastructure and public space servicing with technical support of government authorities. The New Times mapped out 10 things you need to know about these new guidelines. 1. Overall LR process design According to the new guidelines, the LR project will bring together input lands from irregular shape of plots that are poorly accessible, inadequate urban infrastructure and living facilities, and suitable site for urban development. After emerging, they will be turned into road networks, utilities and social facilities, and land reallocated to landowners for construction and sale. 2. Target users These new guidelines are to be used by technical staff in charge of land use planning and development at district and national level and local authorities in charge of economic development. Others are civil society organisations in the sector of land development, academicians, and investors in the field of land use, and land owners’ communities in urban neighborhoods as well as the general public. 3. Initiators the land readjustment project The guidelines indicate that the project may be initiated by either landowners or the City of Kigali or District. However, a private investor who may be interested in this project can also initiate it through and under conditions prescribed in consent with the City of Kigali or District. The project initiator has to prepare and select three representatives to sign an application file addressed to the City of Kigali or district authorities which will be responded to within 30 days. 4. Community engagement Upon project approval, applicants will work with the villages, cells, and sector authorities to mobilize landowners in the concerned site via at least three awareness campaign meetings, with signed minutes and attendance lists. Those landowners shall elect a site Committee, respecting gender balance and electors should at least be 70 per cent of site landowners. In case of absence of a landowner, he or she can delegate. No one can be a member of site committee if he or she doesn’t own land in the concerned site. 5. Land input and reallocation Landowners committed to the project shall submit input land ownership documents to the site committee which will be sent to the Sector office for merging, re-plotting and re-registration purposes. Prior to the merging of input land parcels, all land rights shall be provisionally transferred to the Government. The reallocation of land will be according to land registry procedures and the City of Kigali or District professionals shall produce new updated land ownership documents, bearing new UPIs from correlation of initial UPI information with reference to the approved land reallocation plan. On the other hand, Land reallocated for public facilities shall be provisionally registered as Government land. 6. Land contribution procedure The guidelines say that each landowner shall deliberately sign an agreement allowing contribution of a certain fixed percentage determined by the study report for public facilities and site reserve land. The calculation of land contribution will be based on real plot size as per the survey report, however, if there is an existing public facility on the site, it will be deducted from the input land of the project. However, a landowner to whom no portion of land area surrendered for public user area, shall pay a monetary value for land contribution. 7. Funding mechanisms and management RLMUA provided that the project costs will be covered by landowners in contribution of a predefined fee per every reallocated standard plot or for the whole project. On top of that, additional funding from the government or stakeholders can be mobilized. It is highlighted that each site shall have a bank account on which the project fund is managed. The site bank account shall be opened in the names of Site President, with Site Vice President, Site Accountant and Site secretary as signatories, and three of the four signatures are mandatory for every withdrawal amount from the bank account. 8. Implementation of guidelines The implementation of the present guidelines will be based on active collaboration between all concerned stakeholders; namely, government entities, private sector, financial institutions, developers and partners; and communities. 9. Implication of guidelines With these new guidelines, it is expected that the volume of serviced plots will be increased in a limited time and reduce the cost for access to basic facilities. It will also lead to economic growth via optimum land utilization and diversification of income generation system through the efficient use of available resources. Including also; quick standardization of living conditions, and increase of social inclusion and support enforcement of land use and building regulations, among others. 10. Faults and sanctions RLMUA provides that any staff who deviates from the approved planning documents, when running an activity or delivering a service will be liable, following relevant rules governing him/her at work. Adding that a consultant who deviates from the approved planning documents, he or she will be liable for any financial loss, linked to that deviation.