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The Role of Land Registration in Stimulating the Economy

Published: 12 October 2012

Good land administration is fundamental to a prosperous society and, therefore, is one key element in addressing the current economic crisis. 

The economic impact of good land administration was the focus of “Supporting Global Economic Recovery: The Role of Land Registration Authorities” workshop from 10 to 13 October 2012 in London.  The workshop was organized to mark the 150th anniversary of Her Majesty’s Land Registry and hosted by the Registry and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE’s) Working Party on Land Administration (WPLA).

In the keynote speech, Malcolm Dawson, OBE and Chief Executive of the Land Registry, focused on how the work of the registry had evolved over time and, in particular, how it had responded to the crisis of the last five years by becoming more efficient while, at the same time, increasing customer satisfaction. He also highlighted the increased role that the Land Registry now wanted to take in sharing its experiences internationally. Then, Virginia Cram-Martos, Director of the UNECE Trade and Sustainable Land Management Division, drew attention to the importance of the workshop’s theme, noting that, “Secure land tenure and property rights enable investment in improved homes and livelihoods; create incentives for good environmental management; and provide new economic opportunities for groups that traditionally suffer from discrimination”.  She went on to cite challenges particular to the UNECE region which are addressed by the UNECE such as the mass privatization of land and, often substandard, housing in the 1990s; the need to develop institutions to protect property rights in a region where these rights did not exist 20 years ago; the need to retrofit large volumes of poorly insulated housing in a temperate climate; and the opportunities to be gained from developing countries exchanging their experiences in automating land registry and cadastre information.

The conference focused on modern challenges, including those to property markets resulting from the recent crash in asset prices and the financial crisis.  According to Damir Pahić, Chair of the UNECE Working Party on Land Administration,“Now we have new challenges and we need a new way of thinking”.  Speakers discussed how to rebuild confidence in the lending market and the role of better, more accessible land registry data in stimulating real estate investment.  Speakers also discussed the technology needed to support efficient lending and how land registration authorities can meet changing market needs.

This workshop is one of a series of workshops organized by the UNECE WPLA in cooperation with its partners.  The next such workshop, “Informal Development, Property and Housing”, will take place in Athens, Greece, from 10 to 14 December 2012.

More information on both past and future workshops can be found on the Internet at http://www.unece.org/hlm/welcome.html and are also available from the secretariat, where you should  contact:

Mr. Michael Milligan
Housing and Land Management Unit
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
Email: Michael.Milligan@unece.org
Telephone : +41 (0)22 917 1357

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Tel.: +41 (0) 22 917 44 44

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