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The present volume is part of a series of Land Tenure Studies produced by FAO’s Land Tenure Service of the Rural Development Division. Land tenure plays a vital role in promoting sustainable rural development, thereby reducing poverty and hunger. Increasing technological change and economic integration are requiring policy-makers, planners, development experts and rural producers to re-examine the institutional arrangements used to administer who has rights to what natural resources for which purposes, for how long, and under what conditions.

This volume is intended to support people who are involved with the design of land consolidation pilot projects in Central and Eastern Europe. Land consolidation can be an effective instrument in efforts aimed at making agriculture in the region more competitive and at promoting rural development. There is growing inequality between rural and urban areas in Central and Eastern Europe. This situation occurs for many reasons, and efforts to enhance the quality of rural life must include improvements to agricultural production, employment, infrastructure, environment and housing. The success of integrated rural development projects will depend to a large extent on how they address the great number of small, fragmented farms that currently exist.

Carrying out a pilot project is an effective way to lay the foundation for a larger, long-term land consolidation programme. This guide aims to provide advice on what countries could do to start a land consolidation pilot project. The guide is based on work undertaken by the Land Tenure Service together with its partners over several years. The financial and technical support of GTZ in this process is gratefully acknowledged.

Land consolidation was one of the first areas of tenure reform in which FAO was involved and a number of documents were prepared in the 1950s to guide those responsible for land consolidation in Western Europe. Land consolidation is now back on the agenda but conditions have of course changed. The experiences of Western Europe regarding what should and should not be done have already proved valuable to transition countries. But while these experiences are important, they will not provide all the answers. Each country in Central and Eastern Europe will have to find solutions that address its own particular conditions of fragmentation; its social, cultural, economic, legal, administrative and political environment; and the financial and other resources that it is able to mobilise.

This book, like others in the series, does not seek to be exhaustive but rather reflects what FAO and its many collaborators have discovered are “good practices”. FAO’s Rural Development Division looks forward to continuing collaboration with its larger audience.

Maximiliano Cox
Rural Development Division

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