Building Fit-For-Purpose Land Administration Systems: Guiding Principles

Stig Enemark, Robin McLaren, Christiaan Lemmen

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This paper describes the key principles for building sustainable and Fit-For-Purpose (FFP) Land Administration Systems especially in developing countries where often less the 10 per cent of the land and population is included in the formal systems. New solutions are required that can deliver security of tenure for all, are affordable and can be quickly developed and incrementally improved over time. The Fit-For-Purpose (FFP) approach to land administration has emerged to meet these simple, but challenging requirements. It is argued that the FFP approach is the only viable solution to solving the global security of tenure divide.

This FFP approach has been recognized and supported by FIG and the World Bank (FIG/WB, 2014). UN-HABITAT / GLTN has decided to elaborate this approach further by initiating a project in cooperation with Dutch Kadaster on developing a Guide for Fit-For-Purpose Land Administration in collaboration with key partners. This paper presents the conceptual outcome of this project. The resulting GLTN publication will be launched at the FIG Working Week, Christchurch, New Zealand, May 2016.

The FFP approach has three fundamental characteristics. Firstly there is a focus on the purpose and then on how to design the means for achieving it as well as possible; secondly, it requires flexibility in designing the means to meet the current constraints; and, thirdly, it emphasizes the perspective of incremental improvement to provide continuity.

The concept includes three core components: the spatial, the legal, and the institutional frameworks, and each of the three frameworks is underpinned by a set of four guiding principles that are unfolded in some detail. The three frameworks are interrelated and form a conceptual nexus underpinned by the necessary means of capacity development. Each of the frameworks must be sufficiently flexible to accommodate and serve the specific needs of the country within different geographical, judicial, and administrative contexts.

The fit-for-purpose approach is participatory and inclusive – it is fundamentally a human rights approach. Further benefits relate to the opportunity of building appropriate systems within a relatively short time and for relatively low and affordable costs. This will enable political aims such as economic growth, social equity and environmental sustainability to be better supported, pursued and achieved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRecovery form Disaster : FIG Working Week 2016, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2-6 May, 2016
Number of pages15
PublisherInternational Federation of Surveyors
Publication dateMay 2016
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-92853-52-3
Publication statusPublished - May 2016
EventRecovery from Disaster : FIG Working Week 2016 - Christchurch, New Zealand
Duration: 2 May 20166 May 2016


ConferenceRecovery from Disaster
CountryNew Zealand
Internet address
SeriesFIG Working Week, Proceedings


  • Fit-For-Purpose
  • Land Administration

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