News in 2013

Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty 2013

“Moving towards transparent Land Governance: Evidence-based next Steps”

Washington DC, United States 8 - 12 April 2013

At the Opening Session on 8th April 2013, in his keynote address, His Excellency Festus Mogae, former President of the Republic of Botswana said “This brings me to the other important aspects of land governance which have been far more difficult to address across the world. This is the requirement of real time data and consolidated and co-ordinated databases on mapping, titles, etc. Good land governance even in multiple tenure and dual administrative systems require that land is mapped out clearly, each piece registered and different uses also recorded and shared across all the key actors. This is where the African Union land project referred to earlier has become so useful with the guidelines that it has generated.“

The Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty each year brings together representatives from governments, civil society, academia, the private sector and the development community to discuss issues of concern to land practitioners and policymakers worldwide. The conference aims to foster dialogue and sharing of good practices by showcasing the diversity of reforms, approaches and experiences that are being implemented in the land sector around the world.

The theme of 2013 edition is “Moving towards transparent land governance: Evidence-based next steps” with six thematic areas:

  • Securing land rights and improving land use at the grassroots;
  • Adjusting laws and institutions to address urban expansion and governance;
  • Innovative approaches towards spatially enabling land administration and management;
  • Supporting a continuum of rights in a decentralized environment;
  • Mobilizing the private sector to improve land governance; and
  • Sharing benefits from exploitation of land-based resources.

As in previous years, FIG is privileged to collaborate with the Bank as the Profession continues to consider its contribution and relevance within society, environment and economy, moving beyond its competencies in measurement and technological sophistication and abilities.

Klaus Deininger,
Lead Economist, Development Research Group, 
The World Bank.
Photograph courtesy of Natallya Makarenko, 2013

Within this year’s conference, FIG again participated in a number of activities and events including the DGF Steering Committee Meeting and a series of Pre-conference workshops on global support to voluntary guidelines implementation; using land governance assessment framework to inspire policy change; improving country level policy and practice; tracking progress on land governance and stakeholder dialogue as well as the closing panel discussion on “taking country platforms to the next level” on 8th April 2013.

Photograph courtesy of Natallya Makarenko, 2013

In collaboration with UN-Habitat, Global Land Tool Network and the World Bank, FIG facilitated a well-attended roundtable on Continuums within the Continuum of Land Rights. The continuum of land rights calls for the recognition and protecting of the range of prevailing possibilities with adequate provisions to navigate and transition through the options. That is, the concept of continuum is at the antipode of ‘one-size-fits-all’ mindset. Hence, continuum rhymes with choice, transition and integration. For instance land rights can range from legitimate to legal, and from documented to non-documented. Recording rights can be on paper or on a most sophisticated and advanced technology support. In all these situations, the continuum approach posits that one can move from one level or gradient to the other depending on needs, purpose, ability and interest. The focus of the roundtable is to contextualize the continuum of land rights and explore its wider implications in the land sector, land technology, land approaches and methods, land measurements, land markets, etc. The scene setting presentation was made by Dr. Clarissa Augustinus, Unit Leader: Land and Global Land Tool Network, Urban Legislation, Land and Governance Branch, UN-Habitat.

FIG knows that collaborative efforts to improve land governance must continue and will require that the Profession does not complicate further that which is already complex. The profession has to bring forth solutions. This requires a change in attitude as well as to continue sustaining efforts to improve land governance through the development of fit-for-purpose tools, approaches and solutions. Tools and approaches with incremental technological sophistication, robustness and accuracies.

Session SPL01 - Spatial Positioning: Innovations and Partnerships chaired by Kevin Barthel of Millennium Challenge Corporation, United States

There was also an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) convened by the World Bank and FIG on the sideline of this annual conference, that brought together representatives of donors, governments, professional bodies, academe and industry to openly discuss “fit-for-purpose” approaches and investment in support of land administration and management. The EGM considered trends and issues, design options, importance of scale, scalability and sustainability as well as evidence from experience. Participants quickly and readily agreed that the Profession is and must remain fit for purposes. Both the Bank and FIG agreed to progress this agenda, initially towards a statement of principles on fit-for-purposes.

CheeHai TEO
April 2013

21 May 2013