FIG present at Workshop on Legal Empowerment of the Poor in the UN/ECE Region

Bergen, Norway, 10-11 April 2008

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Participants of the UN/ECE meeting in the harbour of Bergen.

The event was being hosted by the Mapping and Cadastre Authority of Norway (Statens Kartverk), in association with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s (UN ECE) Working Party on Land Administration (WPLA) and was attended by 110 participants from about 36 countries, amongst them Prof. Paul van der Molen, Vice President of FIG) and Dr. Chryssy Potsiou, Chair of Commission 3. The conference, chaired by Mr. Magnar Danielson (Director Cadastre and Land Registry Division, Norwegian Mapping and Cadastre Authority), aimed at presenting outcomes of the work of the Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, and discussing its relevance for the UN ECE region.

Several speakers highlighted the background of the work of the Commission such a Mrs. Paola Deda (Secretary Committee Housing and Land Management Environment UN/ECE), Mr. Morten Wasstøl (Political advisor to the Minister of Environment and International Development of Norway) and Mr. Olav Kjørven (Assistant DG UNDP), and Prof. Peter Dale (emeritus professor UCL). The work of the Commission more specifically was commented by Dr. Liz Alden Wily (independent consultant and member of the property work group of the Commission), Mrs. Sheela Patel (SPARC India about grassroots involvement), Mr. Darren Thorne (International Development Law Organisation, about the right to property as a human right), Mrs. Nsama Nsemimwe (Campbell University Zambia, about empowering women through land), Mr. Theodoros Alexandridis (European Roma Rights Centre, about minorities’ access to land, specially the Roma), Mr. Pål Nesse (Norwegian Refugee Council, about property rights of IDP’s and refugees), Mr. Stevan Dobrilovic (consultant USA, about legal aid to land and real property owners), Mr. Tomislav Penić (Ministry of Justice Croatia, about free legal aid services), Mrs. Angelika Brustinov (consultant Switzerland, about resolving disputes), and Mr. Robert Home (Anglia Ruskin University UK about Islamic land law and legal entitlement of the poor). All these presentations were – as expected - quite ‘legal’ in nature. Other presentations included a variety of related topics such as Mrs. Sasha Tsenkova and Dr. Chryssy Potsiou (University resp. Calgary and Athens, about informal settlements in the UN/ECE region), Dr. Clarissa Augustinus (UN/HABITAT, about GLTN), Mr. Maksym Fedorschenko (MyLand Centre Urkraine, about land reform in Ukraine), Mr. Mikayel Pashayan (State Committee Property Cadastre Armenia, about poverty reduction in Armenia), Mr. Geoffrey Payne (consultant UK, about impact of titling), and Mr. Paul van der Molen (Kadaster Netherlands, about corruption).

Finally the chair of WPLA, Mr. Peter Creuzer (Germany) drew the conclusions.

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