News in 2013

UN-Habitat Expert Group Meeting

Modernising Land Agencies Budgetary Approach:
Costing and Financing of Land Administration Services in Developing Countries

Gävle, Sweden, 14 - 15, October 2013

A second Expert Group Meeting (EGM) hosted by Lantmäteriet at its premises in Gävle, Sweden on 14-15 October 2013 was originally convened to validate the tool, however the process to get to tool development has taken longer than planned and the workshop was used to further validate the
process, the scope and the key elements of tools. Tool validation and piloting will occur after the tool has been developed and delivered to Global Land Tool Network (GLTN). The EGM included 20 participants, representatives from Lantmateriet (Sweden), Kadaster International and University of Twente/ITC (The Netherlands), Danish Geodata (Denmark), Statkart (Norway), GIZ, University of Florida, independent consultant, Albanian Property Registry and Lesotho Land Authority, GLTN CoFLAS Activity Consultant, Land Equity International (Australia), Global Land Tool Network and FIG. It must be noted that participation on this initiative extends also to contributors from Georgia, New Zealand, Peru, and Thailand.

Participants at the 2nd UN-Habitat Expert Group Meeting, photo by Peter Wasström

The Costing and Financing of Land Administration Services Initiative

The 1st objective of the project is to develop a useful and practical tool whereby the costing and
financing of land administration services in developing countries can be reformed and modernized
with a view to enabling the agencies provide cost effective, efficient, sustainable and affordable
services. The methodology, where appropriate and through incremental process, ought to lead to
some kind of cost recovery, but without compromising quality of services provided and limiting
access to services especially of the poor and vulnerable.

The 2nd objective of the CoFLAS project is to organize and lead a process of peer reviewing and
validation of the tool through an expert group meeting (EGM) to be jointly organized by the GLTN
and the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG). The goal of  the workshop in Sweden was update all
stakeholders on the status of the CoFLAS tool development exercise and to get further expert
guidance on the way forward.

GLTN and UN-Habitat are moving to country level work and this requires robust technical resources
with hands-on country experience and innovative tools like CoFLAS to facilitate discussions.

In regard to methodology, we are pursuing a two-pronged approach:
1. Documenting the experience of developing countries as a basis to develop the tool
2. Learning from the experience of developed countries to facilitate knowledge transfer by
    documenting and sharing relevant and good practices.

Trends and Key Comments from Country Presentations

There was not a clear definition of what represents a transaction and therefore the reporting on
number of transactions which was then used to infer a cost per transaction indicator was distorted in
some cases. New Zealand reported more than 13 million transactions with a population of over 4.3
million, while Denmark reported only 2 million transactions for a population of 5.5 million. This
needs to be further refined and clarified before lessons and conclusions can be made. For example, is
supplying information a ‘transaction’ or is it only transfers, mortgage discharges etc.

There was a question on whether future costs for operating and future investment in technologies
could also be captured, and this will be considered in the tool development.
There was a need to also clarify what is considered a land administration servicing office, because
there are complex arrangements for how these can be established and what sort of access points at
various levels are considered part of the costing and financing. Municipal level and one-stop-shop
access points also provide land administration services. Some offices provide full registration
services, while a secondary service may only be providing registration information.
Based on the presentations it would appear that it is only possible to start costing a system once it is
digitised. How then can we support countries that are manual and incomplete? This re-iterates the
need to obtain information from Thailand that is a complete and manual system that has been
successfully reformed over a long period.

Methodology and Tool Development

The status of the study was summarised:

  • Desk review – inception report, completed
  • Rotterdam EGM - refined scope, refined questionnaire, pilot countries selected, completed (read report)
  • Questionnaire Pilots in EU - Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, completed
  • Questionnaire refined – land use planning removed
  • Case Study Questionnaire - Albania, Georgia, Lesotho, completed
  • Also added New Zealand, completed
  • Peru and Thailand ongoing
  • Initial data analysed, feedback requested and responded
  • Preliminary tool proposed, completed
  • Gävle EGM – confirms questionnaire findings, refine tool, and discuss constraints

Discussion on clarifying what CoFLAS is aiming at

CoFLAS must be able to propose costed strategies of approximately 4 key technical processes for
land administration intervention strategies that would be adopted by a developing country. This tool
will need to be able to provide cost elements on the archetypical interventions of pro-poor (low cost
and incremental approaches) as well as describing risk elements, some intervention options:

    1. Undertaking first registration or completing
    2. Establishing a land registration system
    3. Establishing an LIS
    4. Computerisation / digitization (Armenia example, US$1 million)
    5. Creating spatial frameworks / establishing a cadastre
    6. Institutional strengthening and capacity building
    7. Post disaster (study does not have to consider this)
    8. Upgrading or improving geodetic framework

Key to the technical options, is also ensuring there is strong management, leadership and political will - as has been frequently identified this can be the tipping point in a project. Furthermore, knowledge, skills and attitude are critical for considering how this tool can be best implemented and used.


There were some key concluding statements made by participants.

  • The workshop has shown the need for the tool to draw out generic elements from the
    mechanical process.
  • Setting out the questions about what the tool is going to address is very important for sharpening the tool. This should be used to lead in to introducing the tool, i.e. need to clearly outline the conceptual framework.
  • Questionnaires may require in-country facilitation.
  • It is going to be important that participants from this meeting maintain contact so that we can continue to have similar engagement and response as the tool is developed further.


We are at a moment of opportunity to do something. We are a diverse group, with unique
contributions to the process based on all our experiences. We shouldn’t be daunted by the challenge or allow the complexity to paralyse us. We must strive for simplicity. This initiative we are embarking on is crucial, we know it is needed but we do not want to have any mistakes along the way because the consequences would be huge. All the GLTN partners, particularly those from GLTN Professional and International Training and Research Cluster were thanked for their continuing support and contributions. The collaboration is greatly appreciated. by Teo CheeHai, FIG President

Thanked all the attendees for the very open participation. Lantmäteriet were happy to be hosting
the event and continuing to be active partners. Mr Kjellson looks forward to the tool production. by Bengt Kjellson, Lantmäteriet, Host Agency, Sweden

Developed countries may skew the model. Need more volunteers from developing countries to make sure model picks up variables and be a more robust tool. Conceptual framework needs to be revised to reflect more than just a cost cantered approach and also to be less comparative between countries. The tool needs to focus more on cost elements, typology, prioritisation and then also more than operating cost, with some discussion on development costs. by Clarissa Augustinus, UNHabitat

There is more work to be done in the future on developing the business case, and the ‘elevator
pitch’. It is most likely that the piloting will take place in DRC for the CoFLAS tool. Validation is to be review process, and this tool must be validated along this interpretation. The aim is to present at the 2014 FIG Congress, it may still however be in developmental stage. Investments from other countries has helped GLTN/FIG get to this point, and further investments for 3 years will provide some future.

10 Dec. 2013