Land Policy and Administration - 28/06/2010
The importance of good land governance to strengthen women's land rights, facilitate land-related investment, transfer land to better uses, use it as collateral and allow effective decentralisation through collection of property taxes has long been recognised. The challenges posed by recent global developments, especially urbanisation, higher and more volatile food prices, and climate change have raised the profile of land and the need for appropriate national land policies. However, efforts to improve country-level land governance are often frustrated by technical complexities, institutional fragmentation, vested interests and lack of a shared vision on how to move towards good land governance and measure progress in concrete settings.
Recent initiatives have highlighted the important challenges raised here, and the need for partners to act in a collaborative and coordinated fashion to address them. Awareness needs to be raised regarding the successful implementation of innovative approaches which can help not only improve land governance, but also through this channel contribute to the wellbeing of the poorest and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
To this end, a follow-up to the conference held in March 2009 organised jointly between World Bank and FIG took place at World Bank headquarters in Washington DC on 26th and 27th April 2010, the basic premise being a need for the World Bank and its partners, such as FIG, to act in a collaborative and coordinated fashion to take forward the land-governance agenda. Both FIG president Stig Enemark and vice-president Matt Higgins attended the recent conference, which was organised around three themes: ‘Large-scale Agricultural Investments', ‘Land Governance' and ‘Research and Capacity Building'.
The Land Governance section included a presentation by Stig Enemark entitled ‘From Cadastre to Land Governance: The Role of Land Professionals and FIG'. Vice-president Matt Higgins addressed the audience on the subject of global positioning infrastructures and their relevance to building sustainable land administration systems, while FIG Commission 7 chair-elect Daniel Roberge spoke about ‘Reconstruction in Haiti', elaborating ‘a land rights infrastructure to support its sustainable development'. There was also a presentation on standardisation in the Land Administration Domain, with special attention for the Social Tenure Domain Model.
Three hundred invited experts attended from throughout the world, selecting from about 25 sessions with around a hundred presentations. The conference included a book launch session that covered a new joint WB/FIG/GLTN/FAO publication, Innovations in Land Rights Recognition, Administration and Governance, which draws on papers presented mainly at the joint FIG/WB conference in March 2009 and is available online from the WB website below. Also launched was Land Administration for Sustainable Development by Williamson, Enemark, Wallace, and Rajabifard; ISBN: 9781589480414, ESRI Press, 2009, 512 pages; no royalties to the authors. A review of the latter is under preparation for publication in GIM International.