UN-Finnish project seeks to develop software to help maintain land records

Rice fields in Nepal: new land administration systems will help to ensure tenure security

5 February 2010 – A new $2.4 million project between the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Finland aims to help countries develop affordable land administration systems to improve tenure security and land governance.

Ghana, Nepal and Samoa will be the first to participate in the project, designed to help FAO member countries test and adopt low-cost open source technology to better maintain land records.

Their experiences will then be disseminated to encourage other FAO members to consider the advantages of open software solutions in the development of their land administration.

According to FAO Assistant Director-General Alexander Müller, effective and transparent land administration plays an important role in ensuring the security of tenure of rural and urban populations.

“The project responds to a real demand in a context where land administrations commonly lack tailored and flexible software tools necessary to effectively maintain and develop the cadastre [register] and land registration processes,” he noted.

Using information technology systems is one of the key ways to reduce corrupt and non-transparent land management practices, FAO pointed out.

Effective information technology systems also improve the structure and accessibility of records, facilitating knowledge-based decision making and wider data dissemination.

“Effective and transparent land administration is a vital element for food security, poverty reduction and sustainable use of natural resources and is becoming increasingly important in many parts of the developing world,” said Paavo Väyrynen, Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development.

“This new FAO programme clearly reflects the priorities of our development cooperation policy, which includes the promotion of high technology solutions in development activities,” he added. “We look forward to seeing the results.”

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