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FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Annual meeting of land experts aim to spur rural development

Links between rural development and land management instruments are at the centre of discussions during the international meeting of LANDNET – a network of land professionals from European and Central Asian countries. Kicking off today, the four-day annual workshop takes place in the framework of an international conference on rural development and tourism in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, with 30 countries represented.

The 200 experts will also look at land management instruments that can possibly help address the issue of land abandonment, which is widespread in several countries in Western and Eastern Europe alike. Participants will learn about the forthcoming FAO legal guide on land consolidation and discuss its application.

During this event, several country cases, including Armenia, France, Serbia, and Turkey, will ensure further knowledge and experience sharing on land abandonment and might serve as inspiration for new and innovative solutions.

“In the Western Balkans and the Caucasus, farm structures are characterized by excessive land fragmentation and small farm sizes, which together with the low profitability of agriculture in general lead to rural out migration and are the main driver of land abandonment,” said Morten Hartvigsen, FAO land tenure expert and facilitator of the network. “Land management instruments such as land banking and land consolidation can be effective instruments to address the structural problems in agriculture and combat land abandonment.”

Initiated by FAO, land specialists of the region have met regularly since 2002 to exchange developments and good practices on land consolidation, land banking, and land market development.

The current workshop is organized jointly by FAO, AGADER, and Commission 8 of the International Federation of Surveyors. The event is supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation.

With smallholders in the focus, FAO has been working to facilitate broader development of rural areas through land consolidation and land banking under the framework of its regional initiative for empowering smallholders and family farms.

FAO has recently launched an informal technical network on integrated community development to foster the advancement of the rural economy in Europe and Central Asia.

The workshop concludes with a field trip to one of the land mobilization projects of the Agency for Rural Development of the Xunta de Galicia (AGADER).

5 November 2019, Santiago de Compostela, Spain

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