The importance of good land governance to strengthen women's land rights, facilitate land-related investment, transfer land to better uses, use it as collateral, and allow effective decentralization through collection of property taxes has long been recognized. The challenges posed by recent global developments, especially urbanization, increased and more volatile food prices, and climate change have raised the profile of land and the need for countries to have appropriate land policies. However, efforts to improve country-level land governance are often frustrated by technical complexities, institutional fragmentation, vested interests, and lack of a shared vision on how to move towards good land governance and measure progress in concrete settings. Recent initiatives have recognized the important challenges this raises and the need for partners to act in a collaborative and coordinated fashion to address them. The breadth and depth of the papers included in this volume, all of which were presented at the World Bank's Annual Conference on Land Policy and Administration, illustrate the benefits from such collaboration.
They are indicative not only of the diversity of issues related to land governance but, more importantly, highlight that, even though the topic is complex and politically challenging, there is a wealth of promising new approaches to improving land governance through innovative technologies, country-wide policy dialogue, and legal and administrative reforms. The publication is based on an on-going partnership between the World Bank, the International Federation of Surveyors, the Global Land Tool Network and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization provide tools that can help to address land governance in practice and at scale. It is our hope that this volume will be of use to increase awareness of and support to the successful implementation of innovative approaches that can help to not only improve land governance, but also thereby contribute to the well-being of the poorest and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.