Integrating Land Governance into the post-2015 Agenda - The Annual World Banks Conference on Land and Poverty and FIG/World Bank Spatial Innovation and Good Practices in Land Administration Forum, 24-28 March 20142, Washington DC

The 2014 Land and Poverty Conference was attended by over 1,200 participants over four days, and FIG and the Bank jointly and successfully organized a day-long Forum on “Spatial Innovation and Good Practices” on the fifth day. The overall focus was on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda. The Forum witnessed the launch of the joint World Bank and FIG Declaration on Fit-for-Purpose Land Administration providing the framework on getting the right data and information, the right processes and technologies, all for the right purposes.

News in 2014

Integrating Land Governance  into the post-2015 Agenda - The Annual World Banks Conference on Land and Poverty

24-27 March 2014, Washington DC, USA

The Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty brings together representatives from governments, civil society, academia, the private sector and the development community to discuss issues of concern to 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 Bank and FIG has had strong formal partnership since 2007. Over the past two years (2012 and 2013) FIG and the Bank have jointly organized successful spatial tracks for this annual Conference:

  • 2012 – day long forum comprised of parallel sessions to the main conference followed by an evening round-table, with the focus on Spatially Enabling Government and Societies (SEGS).
  • 2013 – nine specifically designated spatial parallel sessions and a post-conference “invitation only” Expert Group Meeting on the theme “Spatially Fit-for-Purpose”.

It should also be noted that the Bank and FIG at the 2010 WB Conference conducted a special parallel spatial session (panel discussion) with the theme “Moving Towards ‘Land Information 2025’: Next Steps”. This session debated on “post Cadastre 2014” and initially raised the notion of “fit-for-purpose” investment in land administration systems.

Within International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), we continue to recognize that Land (and the seas, the natural resources and the structures thereon) remains capable of generating opportunities for the betterment and wellbeing of all. However Land is also finite and our Profession’s sciences and technologies are more than just means and tools, and must extend the utility and usefulness of that sciences, technologies, knowledge and practices, the measurement and mapping, the models and management, towards the betterment of society, environment and economy.

The 2014 Land and Poverty Conference was attended by over 1,200 participants with a program that spread, for the first time, over four days and FIG and the Bank jointly and successfully organized a day-long Forum on “Spatial Innovation and Good Practices” on the fifth day. This year’s Conference had an overall focus on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda and the theme is ‘Integrating Land Governance into the Post-2015 Agenda: Harnessing Synergies for Implementation and Monitoring Impact.” The 2014 conference focused on building a shared understanding of best practices in land governance by providing opportunities to strengthen collaboration between diverse experts. The Conference had seven thematic areas:

  • Securing and protecting land rights from a gender perspective
  • Managing urban landscapes
  • Attracting responsible land-based investment for local benefits and common resource management
  • Maximizing benefits from spatial data
  • Strengthening country level institutions
  • Fostering transparency in land ownership, use, and administration
  • Research on key aspects of land governance

The one-day long Forum, immediately after the 2014 Land and Poverty Conference (March 24 - 27) on 28th March 2014 within the Bank’s premises in Washington DC was open to all registered participants to the Conference. Prior notification of attendance was requested and over 130 responded. The Forum covered a number of themes focusing on the contribution of spatial technologies and practices to support the Post-2015 Development Agenda. These themes include data collection, data management, data access, data and information sharing, analysis and analytics, visualization and presentation and delivery systems and services particularly when considering the challenge in locating, connecting and delivering information with both geographic and temporal context from differing scales and sources to governments and societies.

The Forum witnessed the launch of the joint World Bank and FIG Declaration on Fit-for-Purpose Land Administration providing the framework on getting the right data and information, the right processes and technologies, all for the right purposes. This Declaration is part of the Joint FIG and World Bank Publication on Fit-for-Purpose Land Administration (FIG Publication Number 60) with Prof. Stig Enemark as the lead author and Dr. Keith C Bell (WB), Dr. Christiaan Lemmen and Robin McLaren as his co-authors. (FIG and World Bank Declaration)

At earlier annual World Bank Conferences on Land and Poverty, concerns have been raised from various stakeholders that the procedures and requirements, particularly for surveys, mapping and accuracies in land administration projects were often too cumbersome and expensive and do not necessarily deliver that which is needed by citizens for achieving security of tenure. There were also the issue of operations and maintenance, the overall sustainability of system that was put into place, many an instance challenged to improve services delivery and access to land information. These issues have been debated over the past three years at several sessions, seminars and workshops jointly convened by the Bank and FIG at the annual World Bank conferences on Land and Poverty.

Emerging from these joint events is the concept of “fit-for-purpose” indicating that land administration should be designed to meet the needs of people and their relationship to land in support of security of tenure for all, the sustainable management and use of land and natural resources. This perspective calls for a flexible approach rather than rigid demands that may be unsustainable for jurisdictions dependent on donor funding. Such flexibility allows for land administration systems to be incrementally improved over time should it be found necessary. As such the Declaration and the accompanying joint publication presented such a flexible approach. (The link to the publication: https://www.fig.net/pub/figpub/pub60/figpub60.htm)

FIG/World Bank Spatial Innovation and Good Practices in Land Administration Forum, 28th March 2014, Washington DC

The Forum heard of current and future spatial technological envelope that is co-evolving with other technologies particularly that of mobile computing and communication, enabling and empowering citizens and communities and providing unparalleled possibilities. The Forum heard of good concepts (fit-for-purpose, easy-to-use, leapfrogging), great ideas (global campaign for secure tenure, massive global and spatially enabled private-public-partnerships) and of boldness to borrow from or linking up with playbooks from global public health initiatives, from global media and entertainment reach, from multi-national business, and learning from social phenomena inspired by the likes of Google and Facebook. Changing the paradigm to finally deliver the desired difference.

The one-day Forum observed a move beyond land administration to pervasive spatial integration of society. The partners and participants at the Forum are at the forefront, channelling these developments for progressive global change. Country level experiences shared at the Forum affirmed this good news, as there are good progresses.

At the same time, the Forum recognized the challenge of the “two-speed” world we are in, where in one world, a technology savvy kid can use the marvels of global navigation satellite systems and mobile computing and communication to find the best cup of coffee and in another world, 80% of humanity live below US$10.00 a day or where 75% of humanity do not have clear spatially and legally defined land or property rights and where communities have inadequate access to this global normalized digital maps. We have to accept that there exist this disconnect between spatial technological sophistication that is available today and the outcomes of decades of development initiatives and programs.

The Forum concluded that the barriers to closing this gap are no longer technological, spatial technologies and practices are today pervasive, affordable and accessible, but rather of capacity, institutions and politics. It is now overdue to bring these worlds together. The partners and participants at the Forum have yet to make significant stride in political, institutional and capacity development at scale. This is the bad news!

Is it possible to change the paradigm where the “spatial” is fully integrated into human development and progress to realize “the Future We Want for All”, the world of Post-2015 UN Development Agenda?

CheeHai Teo (FIG)
Malcolm Childress & Keith C Bell (WB)

FIG-World Bank Declaration on Fit-for-Purpose Land Administration . pdf

28 April 2014


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