October 2007  -  Announcement of a publication

Operations manual for land consolidation pilot projects in Central and Eastern Europe

FAO Land Tenure Manuals 1


Land consolidation is a term used broadly to describe measures to adjust the structure of property rights through co-ordination between owners and users. Land consolidation involves the reallocation of parcels to remove the effects of fragmentation but the term goes well beyond these actions. Land consolidation has been associated with broad economic and social reforms from the time of its earliest applications. It was an integral part of 18th century reforms in Denmark to free people from obligations to noble landlords and to establish privately-owned farms. Elsewhere in Western Europe, land consolidation was urgently needed after the privatization of feudal land to improve the land tenure structure of widely fragmented, small parcels of land. Early initiatives concentrated on improving conditions for agriculture, including enlargement of holdings. Over time projects have come to include water management, environmental protection, rural infrastructure and village renewal.

In countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the development of arrangements for land consolidation takes place in the wake of the transition to a new private property regime, and in the context of accession to the European Union. The process of institutional change is complex and sensitive to immediate political and economic agendas. It is also determined by other prevailing social, economic and cultural factors. Land consolidation is an ongoing process and the exact nature of its final outcome may be hard to predict; it takes time and it may suffer set-backs, but it can be an effective way of improving conditions for people in rural areas.

In response to requests from countries in Central and Eastern Europe for information on land consolidation, FAO together with its partners has produced a guide on The design of land consolidation pilot projects in Central and Eastern Europe (FAO Land Tenure Studies Number 6). This guide provides support to land administrators in land agencies responsible for the technical design and implementation of land consolidation pilot projects. It argues why land consolidation should be considered as an integrated part of rural development and describes the essential elements of a land consolidation pilot project. The guide emphasises the importance of pilot projects as an effective way to lay the foundation of a long-term comprehensive land consolidation programme.

This Operations manual complements FAO’s Land Tenure Studies Number 6 on the design of pilot projects. It aims to support those people who are responsible for managing these projects. It focuses on the practical aspects of defining and implementing the first pilot projects. It identifies the main conditions that should be in place before the project starts, and it defines potentials and constraints. It draws attention to issues that need to be addressed and it discusses methods, tools and techniques. The manual identifies the main activities and their sequence in a pilot project. It considers how to cope with the fact that, at this stage, the concept of land consolidation is unfamiliar to most people, and there is usually little or no experience with land market transactions and, for example, little shared notion of price levels.

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© FAO, 2007