Posted December 2000 (Updated May 2001)
Reliable land tenure systems are a necessary foundation for stable social relations among the citizens of any society. The issue is not merely providing tenure security, but also one of providing users with the capacity of using their land tenure rights or facilitating access to land resources in ways that enhance sustainability, rural development and equitable access to productive resources.
In order to assist transition countries in Central and Eastern Europe in their development of effective land tenure and land administration systems, FAO and the Government of Italy launched the "Bertinoro Initiative" as a forum for experts to identify ways of improving land administration services through public/private sector partnerships. This initiative reflects the current concerns of the programme of FAO's Land Tenure Service. Member Nations are increasingly turning to land tenure and administration improvements to ensure fair, transparent and secure access to the land by those who want to engage in agricultural pursuits. This is part of FAO's overall concern for food security, on the one hand, and its concern for poverty alleviation, on the other.
The Bertinoro Seminar in 2000 ("Bertinoro IV") was directed towards building capacity in land administration agencies in CEE countries, thereby enabling them to provide the services needed to support sustainable development. Its theme was "Enhancing Land Registration and Cadastral Systems in Countries in Transition". The objective was to identify training needs of land registration and cadastre agencies in transition countries and potential strategies for meeting those needs. A longer-term objective was to use the needs identified at the Seminar in discussions with other parties regarding the development of courses. The participants in the seminar consisted of high-level experts from Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, the Republic of Macedonia, Romania, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. Moderators and other resource persons came from Austria, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.
In 1999, the Bertinoro Initiative focused on southeastern Europe and included two activities. From 3 to 15 September, an International Land Tenure School was held at Cervia, Italy, as part of the 5th Summer School on "Post-Communist Transition and European Integration" organised by the University of Bologna and the International Network of Europe and the Balkans. Some 48 people participated. Countries represented from the target region were Albania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. Other participants came from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the United States. The second activity was a seminar ("Bertinoro III") held in Bertinoro from 8 to 13 November 1999 and attended by 31 people. Regional countries represented included Bulgaria, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Yugoslavia. Other participants came from Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The second Bertinoro Seminar ("Bertinoro II"), held from 21 to 25 September 1998, centred on the Black Sea countries and brought together 35 people. Representatives from the target region came from Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine while other participants travelled from Australia, Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands and the United States.
The Bertinoro Initiative has brought together experts from 18 transition countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The first high-level technical seminar ("Bertinoro I") was held from 1 to 5 April 1997 and focused on northeastern Europe. Participants from Central and Eastern Europe countries were drawn from Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine and Yugoslavia. The forum was broadened by including other participants from Australia, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. A total of 58 people attended the seminar.