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IALTA’s First International Land Expert Meeting Successfully Held

04 June 2010
The International Alliance on Land Tenure and Administration (IALTA), an initiative of the Faculty of Law of the University of Groningen in partnership with major Dutch and international universities and institutions to promote multidisciplinary research collaboration among researchers, practitioners and policy-makers, successfully held its first international expert internal meeting at the KNAW in Amsterdam on 4 June 2010. The meeting was aimed at presenting an overview of the progress made since September 2009 and discussing the key issues of its concept, development strategy and plan of action. Chaired by Prof. Leon Verstappen, Dean of the Faculty of Law and teamed with Prof. Wilbert Kolkman, Assistant Prof. Yongjun Zhao and Mr. Eelke van der Ree from the same faculty, the meeting is a milestone of the alliance in setting clear agenda, gaining commitments and reaching consensus on the operational issues among the participants.

Fourteen Dutch and international land experts attended the meeting, among whom were Ms. Annalisa Mauro, programme manager of the Land Reporting Initiative of the International Land Coalition (ILC)—a strategic partner of IALTA in carrying out the Land Portal Initiative, Prof. Gerhardus Schultink from the Michigan State University, Prof. Hanri Mostert from the University of Cape Town, Dr. Diana Fletschner from the Rural Development Institute based in Seattle, Dr. Jorge Espinoza from the Technical University of Munich, Dr. Louisa Jansen from the Netherlands’ Cadastre, Land Registry and Mapping Agency, as well as other colleagues from Leiden University, Maastricht University, ITC University of Twente and Delft University of Technology.

The meeting endorsed the role of IALTA in filling the research gap and building a platform for its members to establish research collaboration mechanisms, share information, exchange experience, host joint events, publish journal articles and design tailor-made courses for land practitioners, policy-makers and graduate students. All these efforts will contribute to the enhancement of research capacity of involved institutions and sustainable land management in developing countries. IALTA is recognized as one of the few organizations that tackle the challenges of sustainable land management in a comprehensive way. Within a short period, it has made great progress in building the network of 800+ international experts, designing the research network of the Land Portal as well as outreaching to major international organizations and research institutions to gain their support. All the participants expressed their strong commitments to the alliance through either in-kind or financial contribution for the next steps of action. It was agreed that the second international land expert meeting would be held at the Technical University of Munich in October 2010, and the international conference to be held in October 2011 probably in South Africa. It was also agreed that the Faculty of Law of the University of Groningen would be the secretariat of the alliance with the support from the Steering Board, Advisory Committee and Thematic Working Groups, all of which would be established preferably prior to the second expert meeting. The secretariat will work closely with the participants in detailing the strategy, establishing the institutional framework and preparing the upcoming events during the preparation phase. And the alliance will be officially launched at its international conference in 2011.

The participants recommended the alliance to make a longer-term (5-10 years) strategy for its position as an international role player in the land governance field. This would require stronger institutional backing to the secretariat as well as the commitments of its member organizations. Funding is always a constraint. But it was agreed that the alliance had already made good progress with innovative conceptions of its targets and activities, which would be crucial for fund raising. Greater efforts in forming more strategic and effective thematic research groups for the realization of its objectives should be pursued in order to meet the challenges and become a sustainable network that serves the needs of its members. The participants appreciated the secretariat’s excellent organization of this meeting.

Author: Yongjun Zhao

Last modified:30 January 2017 11.40 a.m.

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