New Technology for a New Century
International Conference 
FIG Working Week 2001, Seoul, Korea 611 May 2001



Willi ZIMMERMANN, Team Leader, 
Cambodian-German Land Management Project, Cambodia

Key words: Land Policy, Land Administration, Multilateral and Bilateral Co-operation, Sustainable Development.


The land question is currently being reappraised worldwide and greater importance is being attached to land issues in international co-operation. Fair access to land, secure land rights and proper management of land are fundamental keys to future social and economic development. It is becoming more and more obvious that Land Policy, Land Tenure and Land Administration play a crucial role on economic efficiency and the social balance of the development process.

Functioning land tenure arrangements can be considered as enabling socio-economic and socio-legal infrastructure for development. But experience all over the world also shows very dramatically that badly functioning land tenure arrangements can lead to (often violent) land conflicts, land grabbing and corruption, increase of informal settlements, loss of government revenue and lack of productive investments.

Several lessons have been learned. Sustainable development and right-based development are just two sides of the same coin. We have learned in many development programs and projects that land administration is only fully contributing to sustainability in an environment of good governance, rule of law and accountability. This calls for complementary strategies and agreements with the donor community and civil society.

GTZ is more and more negotiating with partner countries the move from supporting projects to supporting programs. In Cambodia the Land Management/Land Administration project is providing and receiving significant synergies by building bridges and signing agreements with projects on rural development, projects on decentralization, on coastal zone management, on gender related projects, on forest management, on irrigation, and on demobilization/de-mining to add value and to generate wider economic and social impacts.

More attention should be paid to formal but also to "out of court" mechanisms for the resolution of land conflicts as an integral element of Land Administration projects. In Cambodia GTZ will join forces with OXFAM and other NGO's to strengthen the capacities of the newly established provincial commissions for the resolution of land conflicts.

The role of Multilateral and Bilateral Co-operation in Land Matters is clearly defined but poorly coordinated. There are significant synergies possible between the approaches by different multilateral and bilateral agencies. If each of them were to focus on its comparative advantages and complementary strength new models for coordinated intervention are visible. A multilateral/bilateral donor coordination group on land policy has been established last year as one option to create consensus on central aspects of land policy in development co-operation.

Land tenure issues are closely linked with related resource tenure categories like water rights, forest law, fishery rights and environmental legislation. Land rights cannot be discussed in isolation where people use different resources according to the crop calendar and season. In Cambodia a Multilateral/Bilateral "Donor Working Group on Natural Resource Management" has been established last year to discuss with partner institutions initiatives and linkages between Land, Forest, Fishery and Nature Conservation.

In recent years GTZ has develop and applied new strategies for partnerships in development co-operation. Joining forces with Multilateral Partners (FAO, WB, EU, HABITAT, IFAD, Bilateral Partners (FINNIDA, DFID), NGO's (FIG, OXFAM) and Private Sector Associations is contributing to an significantly improved impact in the interest of our partner-countries.

International Professional Associations like FIG and National Associations for Surveying are essential partners in development. They have the crucial task to advise governments in professional standards, in code of conducts, in professional training and education. GTZ is providing support to a number of national professional organisations in developing countries for FIG-membership or other relevant memberships.


Willi Zimmermann
Team Leader of the Land Management Project MLMUPC / GTZ
Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction of the Kingdom of Cambodia
P.O. Box 2291
Phnom Penh 3
Tel. + 855 23 213 817

22 March 2001

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