Key findings: Land administration in developing countries often fails to be pro-active, service-oriented, inclusive and pro-poor. These failures can lead to a range of issues including corruption, fraud, extortion and human rights violations. Several countries are currently reforming land policies and introducing new approaches to land administration. These efforts generally involve providing legal recognition to tenure rights that are considered legitimate but are currently not protected by law. A second step may involve promoting more transparent and effective land certification and registration systems.
This report provides some examples of land administration programmes that have attempted to improve transparency. It describes the key features of these programmes, challenges faced and how these have been overcome. The report finds that the programmes vary considerably in their design, addressing transparency in a variety of ways – for example, by conducting awareness raising programmes (Cambodia, Burkina Faso, Senegal), publishing new maps or databases online (India, Indonesia) or decentralising registration processes (Ghana). These programmes typically involved a range of components – for example, providing legal support to government land reform efforts, supporting computerisation, awareness-raising and building capacity.
Examples of pilot programmes to establish a National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) or a National Land Information System (NLIS) are also identified in this report. In most cases these involved the use of regional or local pilots. No documents of the costs associated with developing a public and open land database were identified. Moreover, most of the cases identified did not mention establishing ‘online land registers’, though they did involve the digitisation of land data.