An estimated 70 percent of the land in emerging economies is currently not registered. Property records that do exist are often out of date or inaccessible. Documenting land and resource rights and opening these records is critical. Here’s why:
Open and accessible land and property records allow individuals to access the information they need without officials acting as “gatekeepers.”
Transparency International found: 1 in 5 people across the globe have paid a bribe for land services, making it the third most corrupt government service with regards to bribery rates.
Open and accessible land and property records make land transactions easier – removing barriers to development.
Ten years ago, transferring property in Rwanda took more than a year. Today, with a web-based land administration system, this process takes about a month.
Open and accessible land and property records help ensure governments collect property taxes from all owners.
In Jamaica, the government’s own records on land are so outdated that the government is estimated to be collecting only about 10% of the total potential property tax revenue.
Open and accessible land and property records are more secure and less easily tampered with.
After years of witnessing thefts of beachfront property by bureaucrats, Honduras is implementing an open and secure land registration system.
Open and accessible land and property records can help humanitarian organizations map and contain epidemics and prepare for and respond to natural disasters.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the lack of an open and accessible data on property owners delayed the US Federal Emergency Management Agency’s emergency payments to displaced
Open and accessible land and property records can highlight areas in need of government services.
Slum Dwellers International is using open land and housing data collected in slums in more than 30 countries to determine where sanitation, water, and garbage services are needed.
Open land and property records can be connected to other data in layered maps to identify where protected areas or indigenous communities’ claims to land are threatened.
An initiative in the Democratic Republic of Congo used datasets to create layered maps that show natural resource claims, existing forests, roads, and the boundaries of indigenous lands to identify potential conflicts and proactively protect natural resources and communities.
Open and accessible land and property rights records are a first step towards certifying a sustainable value chain.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil needs access to land and property records to certify that its palm oil producers are farming sustainably and not felling the rainforest.
Open and accessible land and property rights
records can create efficiencies.
In 2008, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection estimated that it could save more than 15,000 hours each year if it had access to local government land parcel data, instead of having its staff make site visits to contact owners.
Open and accessible land and property record can make construction safer by ensuring that the locations of dangerous gas or electric lines are easily accessed and widely known.
In Sweden, an open and accessible database combines property information with land planning information to help property owners quickly and easily determine where on their property is it safe to dig and build.