Europe convenes to promote sustainable land administration

Europe convenes to promote sustainable land administration

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Geneva, Switzerland: The 74th session of United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s (UN ECE) committee on Housing and Land Administration was held at the UN office in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting provided a platform for high-level exchange on issues related to sustainable housing and urban development, land administration and management, spatial planning and real estate market stability in the region. The UN ECE adopted a Strategy for the period 2014-2020, which aims at promoting sustainable housing and land management in the ECE region.

Thematic discussions on energy efficiency in housing and ageing and accessibility in cities were held at the event. The future directions of the Committee”s work were also discussed at the event and a road map was set forth for the coming years.

A number of European countries shared the progress made and future challenges being faced vis-à-vis the land administration in these countries. Germany shared the country’s focus on developing technical expertise in this domain and establishing a uniform reference system – DHHM. Germany is also developing a strategy on developing a standardised reference data system. Germany is also developing 3D building data production. The country is also conforming cadastral data to INSPIRE specifications.

Portugal is undertaking an integrated approach to land, housing needs of the country across various levels of administration. It is promoting public-private partnership for delivering affordable housing to the citizens. The country is currently involved with modernising its land registry system, while integrating hazard management and climate change in its spatial planning strategies.

The UK Land Registry Agency has undertaken a number of organisational changes following the economic downturn. From 8000 employees, they now have only 4500 employees and have also undergone a 50% reduction in state representation. The idea is to make the agency smaller, leaner and more customer focused. A great impetus is laid on streamlining and digitising land records, receiving more online registration applications and participating in economic growth agenda of UK. Interest rates in UK are set to remain low till 2016 in order to boost the property market, which is already experiencing an average of 1.3% hike in property rates across the nation and a customer satisfaction index of 98%. The total cost of mortgaged land in the UK is about GBP 1.3 trillion.

Kyrgyzstan has made its registry system entirely electronic and done away with the notary services completely. It now takes only a day for someone to register their property, all property information is available online and this has laid the foundation for an efficient taxation system in the country. The country has also introduced a single cadastral and real estate registration system. The government has also come out with a decree on production, maintenance and re-use of geospatial data.

Georgia is undertaking extensive reform for economic development and creating a more dynamic land and credit market. It has introduced many innovative concepts on Land Administration System. The country has about 30% of land in cities and 48% of the rural land registered and a number of initiatives are being undertaken to improve this situation, for example the government has launched a process to identify and register state-owned land. Georgia acknowledged that there is a need for improving the quality of cadastral data, skills of surveyors and establishment of more accurate and reliable information. There is move towards use of earth observation data for cadastre, developing a single reference system, establishment of SDI, harmonisation of spatial data and improve interoperability of data. A national framework for spatial data is underway, which would address issues concerning production, maintenance and re-use of spatial data.

Azerbaijan has witnessed a socio-economic renaissance in the last 10 years, with each sector undergoing a rapid development. Income has increased by a factor of 7 over the last 10 years, which is a clear indicator of growth. It has developed a single real estate cadastre, privatised state property, and established single automated system of registration, as a part of a World Bank project. Azerbaijan also established an address register last year.

Sweden is working towards 3D property information. It has recently merged land registry with cadastral agency and has launched a new process to simplify and unify planning and building permit process. Sweden has made most public data open and free.

Estonia has an open participative spatial planning process at every level of governance – national, regional and local. It has launched a spatial plan at national level and also established Estonia 2030+ in 2012, which aims at making every location in Estonia liveable and develop good links to external world. Estonia 2030+ supports the UN ECE objectives and deals with settlement structure, transport, energy and green infrastructure to improve living quality.

In Slovenia, 50% of the population reside in urban areas, hence there is a high and pressing need for establishing urban development policies and new ways of governance to achieve these revised policy directives. Some of the urban development challenges faced by Slovenia include ageing population, climate change and developing a spatial strategy.

Source: Our Correspondent