Special Issue "Fit-for-Purpose Land Administration-Providing Secure Land Rights at Scale"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Stig Enemark
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Professor Emeritus of Land Management, Department of Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark
FIG Honorary President (President 2007-10)
Interests: land governance; land administration; land tenure; cadastre; land use planning; spatial information management; capacity development
Dr. Robin McLaren
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Director of the Independent Consulting Company Know Edge Ltd. Honorary Doctorate of Science from University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
Interests: land reform programmes; integrated geospatial information frameworks (IGIF); crowd sourcing methodologies; space-data-driven innovations
Prof. Dr. Christiaan Lemmen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Professor of Land Information Modelling, University of Twente; Senior Geodetic Advisor at Kadaster International, The Netherlands
Interests: land administration; cadastre; land information systems and modelling; pro-poor land recordation
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Land administration systems provide countries with an infrastructure for implementation of land policies and land management strategies in support of sustainable development. In many developed countries, these systems are well developed and provide a kind of backbone in society in support of efficient land markets and effective land-use management. In most developing countries, however, up to 90 per cent of the land and people are outside of the formal systems, which serve mainly the elite.

The majority of these people outside the system are the poor and most vulnerable. This lack of secure tenure creates significant instabilities and inequalities in society and severely limits citizens’ ability to participate in social and economic development. It also undermines better land use and environmental stewardship and deters responsible private investment due to the associated land risk.  

 Attempts to introduce conventional (western style) land administration solutions to close the security of tenure gap have lacked success. New innovative solutions are required to build affordable, pro-poor, scalable, and sustainable systems to identify the way all land is occupied and used. The fit-for-purpose (FFP) approach to land administration has emerged as an opportunity for developing countries in this regard. It offers a viable, practical solution to quickly and affordably provide security of tenure for all and to enable control of the use of all land.

 In this issue, we invite papers focusing on designing and building cost-effective land administration systems that provide secure tenure for all using an attainable, participatory, and flexible approach. The focus of the papers may be on—but not limited to—the following themes:

  • Discussion and assessment of the FFP approach and the embedded spatial, legal or institutional aspects within country-specific contexts;
  • The key drivers, such as innovative technology development and the Global Agenda 2030;
  • Experiences of pro-poor land recordation and lessons learnt related to pilot projects or especially full-scale country implementation, including approaches to maintenance;
  • Spatial, legal, and institutional issues related to covering rural villages and land use, customary tenure areas, and urban or peri-urban informal settlements;
  • Policy and strategy development processes at governmental level;
  • Approaches to service provision at scale, including the bundling of land administration services with other services to citizens and communities, related to, e.g., land-based financing, agricultural production, and co-operative capacity development;
  • Cost-effective approaches to ensure availability, accessibility, and integration of land-based data from different sources;
  • Land registration and dispute management in conflict-affected settings;
  • Capacity development activities at societal, institutional and individual levels, including the private sector, to ensure that projects are sustainable; and
  • Constraints related to lack of political will or vested interests of various kinds of stakeholders.

Prof. Stig Enemark
Dr. Robin McLaren
Prof. Dr. Christiaan Lemmen
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Fit-for-purpose land administration
  • Spatial, legal, and institutional frameworks
  • Land tenure security
  • Pro-poor land recordation
  • Land governance reform
  • Poverty reduction
  • Capacity development
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Sustainability
  • Innovative technology

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Quality Assurance for Spatial Data Collected in Fit-For-Purpose Land Administration Approaches in Colombia
by , and
Land 2021, 10(5), 496; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10050496 - 07 May 2021
Abstract
The Fit-For-Purpose Land Administration (FFPLA) approach uses flexible techniques under basic regulations, avoiding complicated systems and aiming to fulfill the objective of land tenure security for all. In addition, a land administration system should evolve, starting as a simple system in rural areas [...] Read more.
The Fit-For-Purpose Land Administration (FFPLA) approach uses flexible techniques under basic regulations, avoiding complicated systems and aiming to fulfill the objective of land tenure security for all. In addition, a land administration system should evolve, starting as a simple system in rural areas and gradually evolving into a more complex system in more populated areas where requirements and quality increase progressively. The system can develop to a precision system. Implementing the FFPLA methodology in Colombia has allowed processes to be developed for data capture in the field using real-time technology and efficient methods for information management. These processes are under quality control by applying technical specifications in alignment with the FFPLA principles. This article presents the results of creating a FFPLA quality assurance model, which includes the application of the ISO 19100 family of technical standards based on the product’s life cycle and quality model concepts. Furthermore, the article documents essential aspects for controlling the quality of the parcel boundary data collected in the field, using direct and indirect methods to measure the applicable spatial data quality elements (logical consistency and positional accuracy) preserving FFPLA principles. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Do Design Science Research and Design Thinking Processes Improve the ‘Fit’ of the Fit-For-Purpose Approach to Securing Land Tenure for All in South Africa?
Land 2021, 10(5), 484; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10050484 - 04 May 2021
Viewed by 253
Abstract
In South Africa, land tenure security is a challenge for 60% or more of the population who hold interests in land outside of the formal system of registered title. There is a need for the cadastral and land administration systems to be reshaped, [...] Read more.
In South Africa, land tenure security is a challenge for 60% or more of the population who hold interests in land outside of the formal system of registered title. There is a need for the cadastral and land administration systems to be reshaped, and for new land tenure forms to be developed to record all land rights and interests so as to improve land tenure security for all. In this paper, we undertake a reflective retrospective of the processes of land administrative reform in South Africa using a thematic framework that includes fit-for-purpose, design science research, and design thinking processes. Literary sources are coded using the thematic framework to identify potential contributions of foregrounding design science research and design thinking in fit-for-purpose land administration (FFP LA) approaches. Design science research paired with tools of behavioral science add value in understanding the context, problems, needs, and objectives and in communicating the results of critical reflection. The design thinking process has much to offer in capitalizing on the human abilities of empathy, deep understanding, and challenging assumptions, setting the scene for unconstrained creative thinking. Design science research and design thinking within FFP LA may promote innovations in land administration systems reform initiatives that deliver restorative justice in the South African land sector. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fit-for-Purpose Land Administration from Theory to Practice: Three Demonstrative Case Studies of Local Land Administration Initiatives in Africa
Land 2021, 10(5), 476; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10050476 - 02 May 2021
Viewed by 434
Abstract
Land is a critical factor of production for improving the living conditions of people everywhere. The search for tools (or approaches or strategies or methods) for ensuring that land challenges are resolved in ways that quickly respond to local realities is what led [...] Read more.
Land is a critical factor of production for improving the living conditions of people everywhere. The search for tools (or approaches or strategies or methods) for ensuring that land challenges are resolved in ways that quickly respond to local realities is what led to the development of the fit-for-purpose land administration. This article provides evidence that the fit-for-purpose land administration—as a land-based instrument for development—represents an unprecedented opportunity to provide tenure security in Africa. The article presents case studies from three sub-Saharan African countries on local-level experiences in the applications of fit-for-purpose guidelines as an enabler for engaging in tenure security generating activities in communities. These case studies, drawn from Ghana, Kenya, and Namibia, are based on hands-on local land administration projects that demonstrate how the features of the fit-for-purpose guideline were adopted. Two of the case studies are based on demonstrative projects directly conducted by the researchers (Ghana and Kenya), while the other (Namibia) is based on their engagement in an institutional project in which the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) and other local partners were involved. This work is relevant because it paves a path for land administration practitioners to identify the core features necessary for land-based projects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Application of FFPLA to Achieve Economically Beneficial Outcomes Post Disaster in the Caribbean
Land 2021, 10(5), 475; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10050475 - 02 May 2021
Viewed by 165
Abstract
Fit-for-purpose mechanisms for developing land administration systems have been posited to be especially effective in resource strapped economies since these mechanisms quickly create the settings for economic as well as social and environmental development. Competition for depleted resources in the face of recent [...] Read more.
Fit-for-purpose mechanisms for developing land administration systems have been posited to be especially effective in resource strapped economies since these mechanisms quickly create the settings for economic as well as social and environmental development. Competition for depleted resources in the face of recent deleterious events such as climate change, Covid-19, hurricanes and other natural hazard impacts, and global economic crises, among other challenges, should nudge many developing countries toward the application of Fit for Purpose Land Administration (FFPLA) as opposed to costly and lengthy standard methods. Problems arise in convincing states of the benefits of applying the FFPLA. This paper explores how fit-for-purpose methods for establishing and upgrading land administration infrastructures have become increasingly imperative to developing countries, particularly small island developing states (SIDS) of the Caribbean, in light of declining economies. The experiences of Caribbean countries, with a focus on Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Saint Lucia, and Jamaica, in implementing adjudication and titling for their land administration, are compared to FFPLA guidelines in terms of major objectives, supportive legislation, and method of application. Based on the outcomes of the evaluation, it is suggested that including more facets of the FFPLA, primarily for progressing the process toward economically beneficial success, would be an advantage. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fit-For-Purpose Upscaling Land Administration—A Case Study from Benin
Land 2021, 10(5), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10050440 - 21 Apr 2021
Viewed by 341
Abstract
The government of Benin in 2013 decided upon a centralized land administration, with the purpose of recording the entire national territory in one land administration system to promote durable economic development by increasing legal certainty in real estate transactions. This is a major [...] Read more.
The government of Benin in 2013 decided upon a centralized land administration, with the purpose of recording the entire national territory in one land administration system to promote durable economic development by increasing legal certainty in real estate transactions. This is a major challenge, given that currently, of the estimated 5 million cadastral parcels, less than 60,000 parcels have a land title and are registered in the national land administration agency’s central database. This case study describes how a transition to a fit-for-purpose approach in land administration makes it possible to realize the Benin government policy. In the context of Benin, the core of this approach is the introduction of a tenure system based on presumed ownership parallel to the existing title system with state-guaranteed ownership. From a quality perspective, this meant a shift in priorities from “good but slow” to “good enough and fast”. A field test has proven that this new approach is necessary to realize the governmental purpose but puts pressure on the quality aspect and the related interests of established parties such as private surveyors. In the Benin case, this pressure is reduced by designing a land information system based on the Land Administration Domain Model (LADM) that makes it possible to include and keep track of both cadastral parcels with state-guaranteed ownership and cadastral parcels with presumed ownership in the database. Both ways of tenure security can therefore coexist, allowing landowners to choose between the level of legal security that best fits their needs and means. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Good Practices in Updating Land Information Systems that Used Unconventional Approaches in Systematic Land Registration
Land 2021, 10(4), 437; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10040437 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 294
Abstract
To properly govern people-to-land relationships, there is a need to formally recognize land rights, and for this to bring recognizable societal change, the established Land Information System (LIS) has to be updated continuously. Though existing literature suggests different parameters to consider when updating [...] Read more.
To properly govern people-to-land relationships, there is a need to formally recognize land rights, and for this to bring recognizable societal change, the established Land Information System (LIS) has to be updated continuously. Though existing literature suggests different parameters to consider when updating an LIS, little is said on how countries are doing this, especially when unconventional approaches through systematic land registration were initially used. This paper comes up with recommendable good practices where the suggested needs for updating land records were made workable. Nine countries with similar data collection procedures for the initial registration were selected based on literature study; questionnaires designed and distributed to LIS experts from each country using internet; and the collected data were analyzed qualitatively. Fortunately, all the case countries possess infrastructure supporting land records updating (procedures, mobilization means, institutional and legal frameworks, and so on). For the majority, the systems are simplified; registration fees are reasonable; services are decentralized; the database is accessible by citizens and local officers; staff are trained; the system effectiveness is assessed; and the political support is offered. However, the procedures are long, data sharing is inexistent, financial and technical sustainability is uncertain, and many different institutions are involved in the registration. Whilst updating used to appear as a forgotten activity, good practices now exist. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Initial Insights on Land Adjudication in a Fit-for-Purpose Land Administration
Land 2021, 10(4), 414; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10040414 - 14 Apr 2021
Viewed by 382
Abstract
Land adjudication constitute a series of sequential steps that if followed carefully and correctly, can lead to a sufficient determination of the varied interests in land including whether, and where they overlap, complement, conflict or compete with each other. This is a preliminary [...] Read more.
Land adjudication constitute a series of sequential steps that if followed carefully and correctly, can lead to a sufficient determination of the varied interests in land including whether, and where they overlap, complement, conflict or compete with each other. This is a preliminary study aiming to find out how the adjudication process as it is conducted in the context of a fit-for-purpose land administration (FFPLA). A framework of components for adjudication in the FFPLA context is first developed. Further, the steps involved in accomplishing the adjudication components are compiled, assessed, and discussed from the perspective of the theory of collaborative governance. The study poses questions for consideration by implementers of land tenure documentation activities on how to identify the interests in land as they exist in their undocumented form. An understanding of the interaction between different types of interests in land in undocumented form as defined from the perspective of the communities themselves rather than from the law, could help assess which tenures and their attributes—can overlap or complement each other, or inform how they equate to specific rights in the legal perspective with minimal conflicts. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Fit-For-Purpose Applications in Colombia: Defining Land Boundary Conflicts between Indigenous Sikuani and Neighbouring Settler Farmers
Land 2021, 10(4), 382; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10040382 - 07 Apr 2021
Viewed by 357
Abstract
One of the most difficult types of land-related conflict is that between Indigenous peoples and third parties, such as settler farmers or companies looking for new opportunities who are encroaching on Indigenous communal lands. Nearly 30% of Colombia’s territory is legally owned by [...] Read more.
One of the most difficult types of land-related conflict is that between Indigenous peoples and third parties, such as settler farmers or companies looking for new opportunities who are encroaching on Indigenous communal lands. Nearly 30% of Colombia’s territory is legally owned by Indigenous peoples. This article focuses on boundary conflicts between Indigenous peoples and neighbouring settler farmers in the Cumaribo municipality in Colombia. Boundary conflicts here raise fierce tensions: discrimination of the others and perceived unlawful occupation of land. At the request of Colombia’s rural cadastre (Instituto Geográfico Agustín Codazzi (IGAC)), the Dutch cadastre (Kadaster) applied the fit-for-purpose (FFP) land administration approach in three Indigenous Sikuani reserves in Cumaribo to analyse how participatory mapping can provide a trustworthy basis for conflict resolution. The participatory FFP approach was used to map land conflicts between the reserves and the neighbouring settler farmers and to discuss possible solutions of overlapping claims with all parties involved. Both Indigenous leaders and neighbouring settler farmers measured their perceived claims in the field, after a thorough socialisation process and a social cartography session. In a public inspection, field measurements were shown, with the presence of the cadastral authority IGAC. Showing and discussing the results with all stakeholders helped to clarify the conflicts, to reduce the conflict to specific, relatively small, geographical areas, and to define concrete steps towards solutions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Amazon Forest Preservation by Clarifying Property Rights and Potential Conflicts: How Experiments Using Fit-for-Purpose Can Help
Land 2021, 10(2), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10020225 - 23 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 570
Abstract
The burning and the deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon forest, which has been recently highlighted by the international press and occurs mostly on public or undesignated land, calls for an in-depth examination. This has traditionally been the main way to grab land, speculate, [...] Read more.
The burning and the deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon forest, which has been recently highlighted by the international press and occurs mostly on public or undesignated land, calls for an in-depth examination. This has traditionally been the main way to grab land, speculate, and simultaneously prove ownership by its occupation. The absence of mapping, registration, and an effective regulation of land property in Brazil, particularly in the Amazon, plays an important role in its deforestation. Recent estimations, besides others, show that the amount of land in this condition is around 200 million ha, near enough ¼ of the national surface. This article, besides examining the Brazilian deforestation characteristics, provides evidence that clear landholders’ rights diminishes deforestation, and that proposals based on concrete cases of participatory clarification of land rights in forest regions using fit for purpose (FfP) methodology promote forest preservation. The article finishes with an example of a land rights clarifying case from small, medium, large, and traditional population landholders. The case is important to illustrate that it is possible to clarify land rights in a FfP way and how that increases the security of landholders, diminishing the pressure on the land and thus reducing the potential deforestation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Decentralization as a Strategy to Scale Fit-for-Purpose Land Administration: An Indian Perspective on Institutional Challenges
Land 2021, 10(2), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10020199 - 16 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 610
Abstract
Many countries grapple with the intractable problem of formalizing tenure security. The concept of ‘fit-for-purpose land administration’ (FFPLA) offers a way forward by advocating a shift towards a more flexible, pragmatic and inclusive approach for land rights recording. Inherently, the process and outcome [...] Read more.
Many countries grapple with the intractable problem of formalizing tenure security. The concept of ‘fit-for-purpose land administration’ (FFPLA) offers a way forward by advocating a shift towards a more flexible, pragmatic and inclusive approach for land rights recording. Inherently, the process and outcome of implementing FFPLA will have significant socio-political ramifications but these have not received much attention in the literature; additionally, few papers have considered this in the context of decentralization, an endorsed strategy for implementing FFPLA. This paper contributes to this gap by critically analyzing three land formalization initiatives in India which have employed flexible recording approaches and where decentralization is used to scale implementation. The cases show how quickly decentralization can kickstart implementation at scale via collaborations with local governing bodies and partnerships with non-state actors. An institutionalist approach highlights ensuing political contests between new and traditional land actors that inhibit political authority, and the challenges of coordinating a network of public and private actors without clear formal collaborative governance structures to ensure democratic outcomes. In doing so, we contribute to governance knowledge around FFPLA implementation so that it is ‘fit-for-people’ and better able to support policies and processes to secure land rights at scale. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fit-for-Purpose Land Administration in Violent Conflict Settings
Land 2021, 10(2), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10020139 - 01 Feb 2021
Viewed by 923
Abstract
According to the United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency, there were 79.5 million forcibly displaced people worldwide by the end of 2019. Evictions from homes and land are often linked to protracted violent conflict. Land administration (LA) can be a small part of UN [...] Read more.
According to the United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency, there were 79.5 million forcibly displaced people worldwide by the end of 2019. Evictions from homes and land are often linked to protracted violent conflict. Land administration (LA) can be a small part of UN peace-building programs addressing these conflicts. Through the lens of the UN and seven country cases, the problem being addressed is: what are the key features of fit-for-purpose land administration (FFP LA) in violent conflict contexts? FFP LA involves the same LA elements found in conventional LA and FFP LA, and LA in post conflict contexts, as it supports peace building and conflict resolution. However, in the contexts being examined, FFP LA also has novel features as well, such as extra-legal transitional justice mechanisms to protect people and their land rights and to address historical injustices and the politics of exclusion that are the root causes of conflict. In addition, there are land governance and power relations’ implications, as FFP LA is part of larger UN peace-building programs. This impacts the FFP LA design. The cases discussed are from Darfur/Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Honduras, Iraq, Jubaland/Somalia, Peru and South Sudan. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Legal Element of Fixing the Boundary for Indonesian Complete Cadastre
Land 2021, 10(1), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10010049 - 07 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 583
Abstract
In 2017, the Indonesian government implemented the systematic land registration (PTSL) process, projected to be finished by 2025. However, this process faces some challenges in the spatial and legal data collection process, resulting in the Indonesian cadastral system still being incomplete. For instance, [...] Read more.
In 2017, the Indonesian government implemented the systematic land registration (PTSL) process, projected to be finished by 2025. However, this process faces some challenges in the spatial and legal data collection process, resulting in the Indonesian cadastral system still being incomplete. For instance, during the three years of its implementation, out of about 135 million parcels, only 49.5% have been registered. Therefore, the level of completeness needs to be improved. This research aims to assess the compliance of the fixed boundary process’ legal elements, such as the parties that locate the boundary, agreement between the adjoining landowners, and boundary markers. This is a piece of qualitative research in which the data were obtained through interviews from questionnaire surveys to land administration policymakers. Subsequently, the research carried out regulation assessments to develop a country-context cadastre typology of the current cadastral mapping activities. Data were obtained from the results of the PTSL campaign in the Madiun regency. The result showed that the high percentage (i.e., 96.61%) of legal elements regarding the boundary agreement in a rural area could be used as a potential enabler towards achieving completion of the Indonesian cadastre. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Experiences and Development Impacts of Securing Land Rights at Scale in Developing Countries: Case Studies of China and Vietnam
Land 2021, 10(2), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10020176 - 09 Feb 2021
Viewed by 597
Abstract
This paper reviews experiences and development impacts of a selected number of developing countries in Asia and Africa that have used emerging land registration approaches to rapidly secure land rights at scale. Rapid and scalable registration is essential to eliminate a major backlog [...] Read more.
This paper reviews experiences and development impacts of a selected number of developing countries in Asia and Africa that have used emerging land registration approaches to rapidly secure land rights at scale. Rapid and scalable registration is essential to eliminate a major backlog of the world’s unregistered land, which stands at about 70 percent. The objective of the review, based on secondary data, is to draw lessons that can help accelerate land registration across many countries. While the focus is on China and Vietnam, the findings are buttressed by those from previous reviews in Ethiopia and Rwanda. The registration approaches used in these four countries were found to be cost-reducing, fast, inclusive and scalable enough to secure land rights for all within one generation. They also had significant positive impacts on land tenure security and investment. In addition, they indirectly along with other economic reforms contributed to rapid economic growth and a reduction in extreme poverty. The experience from these Asian and African countries offers important lessons including the need for strong political commitment and to develop flexible legal and spatial frameworks that fit the purpose of land registration, instead of the rigid technical standards set by land professionals. Full article
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