UN-HABITAT and the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN), in cooperation with the International Institute for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) have held a three-day expert group meeting on Transparency in Land administration at the UN headquarters in Nairobi , Kenya on 29-31 January 2007.
Land remains a highly complex and contentious issue, UN-HABITAT said in a statement. “It is a critical element in achieving target 11 of the Millennium Development Goals on “Cities without slums”. It is also a critical element in the wider development agenda. There is a clear and urgent gap between the vast demand for skills in this area, and the capacity to deliver at different levels.
The statement cited transparency as a critical component of a functioning land administration, given the paucity of clear and credible information on land availability and transactions, and the poor dissemination of public information on land rights and policies. The risk of corruption and inequalities are very real in land allocation and management. The consequences to the poor often takes the form of difficult access to land assets, unawareness of land policies and legal frameworks, ignorance about land transactions and prices, misallocation of land rights, land grabbing and abuse.
Transparency can encourage civic engagement and accountability by rendering the public decision making arena more accessible. This in turn strengthens confidence in governments and public agencies, and has a positive economic impact, also on GDP, the statement said.
UN-HABITAT and ITC have agreed on a joint venture to enhance transparency capacity in land administration through the design and conduct of training programmes. The collaboration falls within the framework of the Global Land Tool Network which identifies land management/administration as one of five key thematic focuses for attention and land tool development.
The meeting sought to identify priorities and create a road map for enhancing capacity by devising new training programmes. It brought together approximately 40 participants from Sub-Saharan Africa and internationally. The participants represented experiences from land, governance and training and capacity building, drawing from international academic and professional expertise, while focusing specifically on the realities in Sub-Saharan Africa.
UN-HABITAT and ITC will now translate the identified needs from the EGM into course topics and develop training materials for future courses on the subject. The next phase will be the joint execution of courses, together with regional training and capacity building institutions, targeted mainly towards policy makers, during 2007 and 2008. The first course will be piloted in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the intention to hold further courses in other regions.
The Global Land Tool Network was created by UN-HABITAT to promote the development of innovative tools, and adopt a more multidisciplinary approach to land. The UNU-ITC School for Land Administration Studies aims to promote the role of land administration worldwide for socio-economic development in the Least Developed Countries based on the principles of good governance.
The Final Report of the EGM, including the identified training needs, will soon be available on this webpage.