City of Bathurst welcomes UN/FIG Workshop to Bathurst



Flags of the countries participating the Workshop entering the opening ceremony.



Workshop Opening - His Excellency the Honourable Gordon J. Samuels, AC (Governor of New South Wales) speaking.



Prof. Peter Dale, President of FIG 1996-1999, giving his opening address at the Bathurst Workshop.



Prof. Don Grant, AM Surveyor General of New South Wales and Head of the Organising Committee of the Workshop.



The opening ceremony of the UN/FIG Workshop in Bathurst (from left to right):
Prof Peter Dale, President of FIG
 1996-1999, President Graeme Neate, National Native Title Tribunal, Prof. Don Grant, AM Surveyor General of New South Wales, His Excellency the Honourable Gordon J. Samuels, AC, Governor of New South Wales, Prof. Ian Williamson, University of Melbourne, Cr. Ian Macintosh, Mayor of Bathurst City Council, Ms. Sylvie Lacroux, UNCHS (Habitat).



All the 40 international land administration experts from 23 countries in a group picture.

Bathurst, Australia 17 - 23 October 1999

Workshop on Land Tenure and Cadastral Infrastructures for Sustainable Development

The Workshop on Land Tenure and Cadastral Infrastructures for Sustainable Development brought together 40 international land administration experts from 23 countries representing all continents to work in a series of workshops and plenary sessions to develop the Bathurst Declaration in Bathurst, Australia from 17 - 23 October 1999.

The Workshop was followed by an open International Conference held in Melbourne at which the Bathurst Declaration was presented. Both the Bathurst Workshop and the International Conference was attended by 

  • United Nations (UN) Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Sustainable Development, New York;
  • United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), Nairobi;
  • United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), Rome;
  • United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Addis Ababa;
  • World Bank, Washington DC;
  • Meeting of Officials of Land Administration (MOLA) under the direction of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE); and
  • Permanent Committee for GIS Infrastructure for Asia and the Pacific (PCGIAP) which was created by the United Nation Regional Cartographic Conference (UNRCC) for Asia and the Pacific.

The Workshop in Bathurst was sponsored by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Statistic Division, New York and FIG and particularly Commission 7 (Cadastre and Land Management) of FIG. The workshop was sponsored also by the New South Wales Government and industrial sponsors (Hewlett Packard, Kodak Aerial Imaging and MapInfo) as well as by the Land Information Centre of New South Wales and the  Institution of Surveyors Australia and Charles Sturt University.

The whole Bathurst Declaration can be found at the home page of the University of Melbourne. It will be launched on the FIG home page within some weeks.

The Executive Summary of the Bathurst Declaration is as follows:

Almost all societies are currently undergoing rapid change brought about by a diverse range of factors that include growing population pressures on the land, especially in urban areas. The world's population has already reached six billion people. The poor are becoming increasingly concentrated in slums and squatter settlements in our ever-expanding cities. The gender inequities in access to economic and social opportunities are becoming more evident. Within 30 years, two-thirds of the world's population will live in cities. Fresh water availability is now approaching crisis point. At present consumption levels, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in water-stressed conditions by the year 2025. The challenge is not only to meet world population needs for food, shelter and quality of life, but also to ensure that future generations can also have their needs met.

Insecure property rights inhibit use and investment in rural and urban land. They hinder good governance and the emergence of engaged civil society. Uncoordinated development, poor planning and management of land and its use, and the increasing vulnerability of populations to disaster and environmental degradation all compound the difficulties of meeting this challenge. Without effective access to property, economies are unable to progress and the goal of sustainable development cannot be realised.

The world is, however, changing. Growing awareness of the issues, better understanding of the consequences of actions, and greater capacity to secure and use relevant information are helping to bring about the necessary changes. These issues are forcing the re-engineering of land administration systems to ensure that they support sustainable development and efficient land markets. Land administration frameworks will be forced to respond rapidly to these unprecedented changes.

The joint United Nations and International Federation of Surveyors Bathurst Workshop on Land Tenure and Cadastral Infrastructures for Sustainable Development has responded to this challenge. Land administration institutions and infrastructures will have to evolve and adapt their often inadequate and narrow focus to meet a wide range of new needs and technology, and a continually changing institutional environment. They also need to adapt continually to complex emerging humankind-land relationships at the same time as changing relationships between people and governments. These conditions should lead to improved systems of governance.

The Bathurst Workshop examined the major issues relevant to strengthening land policies, institutions and infrastructures and, in particular identified the following:

  • future humankind/land relationships;
  • the role of land in sustainable development;
  • food, water and land policies;
  • land tenure and land administration systems;
  • how land markets, land registration, spatial planning and valuation interact; and
  • re-engineering land administration systems.

For each of these key areas, the Workshop reviewed the existing situation within the rapidly changing land administration environment. It investigated and provided recommendations as to how land tenures, land administration institutions and infrastructures and cadastral systems should evolve to enable the challenges of change in the 21st century to be met.

The Bathurst Declaration on Land Administration for Sustainable Development calls for a commitment to providing effective legal security of tenure and access to property for all men and women, including indigenous peoples and those living in poverty or other disadvantaged groups. It identifies the need for the promotion of institutional reforms to facilitate sustainable development and for investing in the necessary land administration infrastructure. This gives people full and equal access to land-related economic opportunities.

Most significantly, the Declaration justifies and calls for a commitment on the part of the international community and governments to halve the number of people around the world who do not have effective access to secure property rights in land by the Year 2010.

To realise this commitment, the Workshop proposes a set of recommendations. The policy and institutional reform recommendations must ensure that there is a balanced and integrated approach to addressing all tenure relationships in both urban and rural society. Full and active participation by local communities in formulating and implementing the reforms is recommended. The need to develop land administration infrastructures that effectively address the constantly evolving requirements of the community is critical. Finally, information technology is seen as playing an increasingly important role in developing the necessary infrastructure and in providing effective citizen access to it.

Sustainable development is not attainable without sound land administration