Land tenure Institutions

July/August 2003
Updated May 2006

FAO Land Tenure Studies

FAO’s Land Tenure Series are concise presentations on the often complicated and controversial subject of land tenure, especially as they relate to food security and rural development. These guidelines do not seek to be exhaustive but rather reflect what FAO and its many international collaborators have discovered are “good practices” for a particular aspect of land tenure and its administration.

1. Cadastral surveys and records of rights in land

As a result of the restructuring taking place in many countries, interest in cadastre and land registration as a means of assisting agricultural and rural development now equals that seen during the reconstruction period immediately after the Second World War. This guide is a revision of one of FAO’s early publications on land tenure.

2. Good practice guidelines for agricultural leasing arrangements

Leasing offers an important way of improving access to land. These guidelines aim to assist governments and civil society in understanding how agricultural leasing and related agreements work, and what the advantages are of providing an appropriate framework for equitable arrangements that balance the interests of the tenant and land owner. They deal with policy issues and provide a practical guide to matters that should be considered by the land owner and tenant when negotiating over the leasing of agricultural land.

3. Land tenure and rural development

This guide is designed to assist technical officers in governments and civil society in understanding why and how land tenure issues should be considered in rural development projects. It analyses important contexts such as environmental degradation, gender discrimination and conflicts, where land tenure is currently of critical concern. Because tenure issues vary considerably from one country to another, the guide does not attempt to provide readers with a detailed knowledge of land tenure. Instead, it provides guidance on how to identify whether land tenure issues are likely to occur in a rural development project, and gives recommendations as to how appropriate land tenure expertise can be built into project design and implementation.

4. Gender and access to land

Gender issues are often ignored in projects that aim to improve land tenure and land administration. To support land administrators in governments and their counterparts in civil society, this guide shows where and why gender inclusion is important in projects. In order to help inform policy and implementation decisions, it identifies indicators for measuring the quality and quantity of access to land before, during and after an intervention and outlines recommended principles for gender inclusion in land administration projects.

5. Rural property tax systems in Central and Eastern Europe

Rural property taxes can play a significant role in promoting sustainable rural livelihoods in transition countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Governments are facing increasing demand for public services, and there is scope for them to increase revenues from better designed and more efficient property taxes. The guide identifies issues that should be considered by those who are responsible for the technical design and implementation of rural property tax systems. It identifies the benefits and problems associated with the introduction of rural property taxes, the relationship to other taxes and organizational constraints, and provides a checklist for introducing reforms.

6. The design of land consolidation pilot projects in Central and Eastern Europe

In much of Central and Eastern Europe, the land tenure structure includes many small and fragmented farms. Land consolidation can be an effective instrument to make agriculture more competitive and to improve rural conditions. This guide provides advice on what countries can do to start a land consolidation pilot project. It shows why land consolidation is important; it describes briefly what land consolidation is; and it identifies key decisions that should be made and key actions that should be undertaken before a land consolidation project can begin.

7. Decentralization and rural property taxation

This guide is intended to assist countries that wish to introduce new property tax systems or to expand or reform existing systems. It is aimed primarily at supporting land administrators who have been assigned the responsibility for the technical design and implementation of rural property taxation systems.

8. Access to rural land and land administration after violent conflicts

Secure access to land is a crucial factor in the eradication of hunger and poverty. Providing secure access to land is frequently not easy, and it is particularly complex in situations following violent conflicts. Getting the answer right can go directly to the matter of achieving sustainable peace.

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