Legal Instruments

1 week

Identify the necessary amendments to laws at different levels of government, and existing regulations at the national level, that will enable the implementation of the plan. Similarly, this activity aims to identify any complementary legislation and/or legal instruments that will need to be developed and brought into force to enable the implementation of the plan.

  • Identification of improvements to the existing regulatory framework

  • Proposals for complementary legislation


Land development requires regulatory frameworks and legal principles to support urban planning and design initiatives. Urban legislation is often one of the biggest obstacles to decision-making, as many urban legal systems - laws and regulations - are out of step with the prevailing urban reality (UN-Habitat, 2012). In this sense, well-formulated, evidence-based urban legislation in line with urban plans and projects is necessary for the implementation of policies and programmes aimed at sustainable urbanisation. 

Naturally, the instruments will determine clear rules to establish the implementation of the plan, and should therefore be contemplated in the national or municipal legal framework. If this is not the case, as a complement to the proposal for land management, financing and governance instruments, the necessary adaptations, modifications or updates to legislation should be proposed to guarantee the feasibility of their implementation, within a coherent legal framework.

Thus, changes in legislation that are considered relevant, such as criminal and administrative sanctions for those who contravene the instrument in any way, or particular rules to achieve land mobilisation and capital gains capture, should be raised in this activity, together with the case that the legislation does not allow its implementation in accordance with the project that has been proposed.

For this activity, the team should carry out two components. The first is the identification of improvements to the regulatory framework. This involves identifying the strengths and weaknesses that exist in laws, regulations, and norms at the national and municipal levels, in order to establish regulatory frameworks that allow for the application of the financial and management instruments and projects previously identified. The second component consists of making a proposal for complementary regulations in which the team proposes particular rules to complement or replace existing management instruments. 

As a starting point, the technical team will identify gaps in current regulations. This involves conducting a comprehensive review of the existing legal framework, identifying areas for improvement at national, regional and municipal levels. It will use the results of the Legal Framework Review (Activity 2). The objective here is to identify gaps in critical areas such as demographics, access to housing, access to services, urban precariousness, risk to natural phenomena, informal settlements, among others.

In addition, the laws and/or regulations to be developed, improved, adapted or adjusted in the context of the strategic project portfolio (Development of Strategic Project Sheets (Activity 41)), and initiatives identified in the plan developed in Phase 2. For this, the team will list the policy instruments to be modified, and detail the area of improvement in each. 
Finally, as part of the proposal for complementary standards, the team will develop an approach for particular standards to complement or replace existing management instruments, according to categories of scope, impact and feasibility in the context of the strategies and initiatives, as well as the strategic project portfolio. 

In addition, lessons that were learned during the planning process can generate a list of recommendations and best practices that will support and facilitate the development of other plans within the country. This will improve the new plans and also unblock some of the challenges faced in previous experiences.

  1. Identify gaps in existing regulations, using the Legal Framework Review (Activity 2).  
  2. Use the T51 Regulatory Instruments Guide to identify gaps in laws and regulations to be improved that apply to the strategies and initiatives, and to the strategic project portfolio.
  3. In the context of the prioritised projects and initiatives, develop an approach for particular rules to complement or replace existing management instruments, according to the categories of scope, impact and feasibility.