Introduction to the Tool

The concept of land administration

The term Land Administration (LA) was coined in 1993 by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in its Land Administration Guidelines. These guidelines define land administration as:

“the process of determining, recording and disseminating information about ownership, value and use of land and its associated resources. These processes include the determination (sometimes called ´adjudication´) of land rights and other attributes, surveying and describing these, their detailed documentation, and the provision of relevant information for supporting land markets”1.

According to UNECE, land administration systems should ideally:

  1. Guarantee ownership and secure tenure
  2. Support the land and property tax system
  3. Constitute security for credit systems
  4. Develop and monitor land markets
  5. Protect State lands
  6. Reduce land disputes
  7. Facilitate land reform
  8. Improve urban planning and infrastructure development
  9. Support land management based on consideration for the environment
  10. Produce statistical data

The concept and importance of land administration contained in the UNECE definition was developed based on the work of De Soto in the early 21st century. In his book, Hernando de Soto identifies land titling as a key factor in shaping household capital for people living in poverty2. However, several studies have shown that there is no direct relation between title deeds and an increase in household resources (see module 4). Land administration and its evaluation thus need more complete and differentiated conceptual frameworks such as those proposed by the M&E-LAP tool.

For the purposes of this tool, the Land Administration System (LAS) is understood to mean all the infrastructure necessary for the implementation of processes such as: institutional arrangements, legal frameworks, land information systems, standards, and the management and dissemination of systems and technologies necessary for implementing these processes3.


1 UNCE (1996).
2 De Soto (2000).
3 Williamson,I. & al. (2010).