Accelerating Economic Development through Improved Land Administration in Nicaragua

Key Contact
Enrique Pantoja
Start Date
End Date
Funding Amount
$ 48,767
Knowledge-providing Countries
Knowledge-receiving Countries


Strong property rights crucial Uncertainty over land tenure can have several negative conse­quences. It hampers potential investments and land market transactions; generates conflict; and disproportionately affects poor rural farmers, indigenous communities, and especially poor women. Recognizing the importance of land tenure issues in development while also building a thriving economy, Nicaragua has made strengthening property rights for all citizens an important deve­lopment goal. Over past years, the country has undertaken several important legal and institu­tional reforms that have strengthened key land agencies' capacity and decentralized their services.  But, although progress has been made, Nicaragua still faces challenges in its land tenure objectives. For instance, one-third of rural parcels are held without a clear title, and it still takes 9 procedures and 58 days to register a property.

Build on progress made

Nicaragua is committed to continuing the modernization efforts and building upon the progress made so far. A long-term reform program to further improve land administration services and strengthen tenure security, particularly for the poor, is being implemented. The pro­gram recognizes land tenure security as a strategy for economic development. By improving productivity through expanded access to credit and facilitating land regularization ser­vices at the local level, it can contribute to growth and prosperity. However, many of the agencies and institu­tions implementing the Nicaraguan reforms require further capacity development. To strengthen implementa­tion and accelerate the country's land administration reforms, Nicaragua had expressed interest in learning about global experiences in improving land governance. In the context of an on­going World Bank-financed land administration project, a grant from the South-South Experience Facility made it possible to organize a knowledge exchange between Nicaragua and Croatia and Mace­donia. Both countries had relevant experience in tackling challenges similar to those Nicaragua was facing.

Knowledge exchange objective

To help Nicaragua more successfully implement reforms in land administration, the exchange was designed to provide participants with useful insights and con­crete lessons related to institutional strengthening of land administration and property rights, ways of improving service delivery to clients, and new models for upgrading the current Integrated Cadastre-Registry Information System to a sustainable technological platform that is closer to global standards.

Structure of the knowledge exchange

The exchange had a sequenced approach and consisted of three components. A preparatory workshop, held in Nicaragua with all its relevant agencies, focused on refining the purpose and activities of the exchange and familiarizing participants with the land ad­ministration and policy course of the two knowledge-providing countries. In addition, a special in-depth session was held between the participants from the knowledge-recipient and the knowledge-providing countries. The main component of the knowledge exchange was a study tour to Croatia and Macedonia.

The participants in the knowledge exchange included both managerial and technical staff from the key land agencies. Representatives from Nicaragua's Attorney General's Office included the Attorney General himself. The Nicaraguan Institute for Terri­torial Studies was represented by technical staff who manage the National Cadastre, design cadastral policies, and accord procedures toward the integration of cadastral and registry information. The Property Intendancy was represented by technical staff who coordi­nate the design and execution of national policies related to state land, the agrarian reform, and the regularization of land.  The Property Registry Direc­torate under the Supreme Court was represented by mana­gerial and technical staff who coordinate, manage, and oversee the functioning of the National Registry System and Integrated Cadastre-Registry Infor­mation System.

The Nicaraguan participants learned from and shared experiences with their coun­terparts through semi-structured activities, action-learning workshops, and field visits to urban and rural areas in order to contextualize the new ideas and concepts being demonstrated in an applied manner. The third post-tour component was a regional dissemination and action planning workshop in Nicaragua to generate practical discussion with the added participation of regional implementing partners and land administration experts.

Lessons learned

Generally, several lessons, as described in Box 1, emerged that could be considered for exchanges on land administration or on any topic. The knowledge received from this exchange allowed the Nicaraguan participants to raise their awareness about other models and methods for improving land administra­tion services and increase implementation know-how. By including both policy-makers and high-level technical staff, the exchange not only built technical capacity but helped policy-makers understand the full potential of such reforms and, at the same time, ensure an en­during impact on the Nicaraguan institu­tions in­volved.

Box 1. Useful Lessons for South-South Knowledge Exchange on Land Administration

Find a good fit. Bringing together countries with enough commonalities between them can help to make it a more useful learning experience. Similarities in terms of institu­tional structure, size, processes, and ob­jectives should be taken into account.

Engage the World Bank's global network of land spe­cialists. Its land team is known for being an active commu­nity of practice with strong connections across the World Bank. Utilizing the knowledge and connec­tions of this net­work can help to ensure that both sides of the exchange are well covered.

Leverage resources to extend the learning. Planning, im­plementing, and providing follow-up support to a South-South knowledge exchange requires a conside­rable invest­ment of time, and human and financial re­sources.



The experience, knowledge, and insights that Croatia and Macedonia shared in all the areas that were covered during the exchange were relevant to Nicaragua's reform agenda and highly valued by the participants. During
the exchange, Nicaragua took away new understanding on key issues related to its own land administration modernization process, including (a) modes for the automation of land ad­ministration systems; (b) development of information technology systems that inte­grate registry and cadastral information, (c) establishment of simplified client-o­riented procedures for land administration services; (d) institutional development in a dual agency, as well as in a single agency context; and (e) different ways and methods for achieving improved land administration service delivery.

We hope to establish a formal cooperation and capacity-building program with the Macedo­nian authorities, where Nicaraguan experts will be trained in some of the key land administra­tion innovations in Macedonia.
 - Nicaraguan Attorney General
Seeing first-hand how Macedonia's ambitious IT system was organized and structured to make the technology more productive made quite an impression on our group. We came out excited about what we had learned, and plan to implement many of the good practices.
- Nicaraguan IT Specialist

To consolidate the experience, the participants pre­pared a detailed report following the knowledge exchange. The report was used during the action-planning phase and in the dissemination workshop. Following this stage, the key land policy-players who participated in the knowledge exchange developed an Action Plan that includes various activities for institutional strengthening and has significantly informed the direction of Nicaragua's land policy.

The grant from the South-South Experience Facility also had a catalytic effect. Recognizing the im­portance of knowledge exchange, the Nicaraguan Government supplemented the grant funds with additional financial support for the regional workshop, which made it possible to include regional land administration officials at the workshop. This resulted in enhanced dissemination of the knowledge and experience that participants had gained during the study tour and created an oppor­tunity for broader knowledge-sharing activities among the network of Latin American land institu­tions and experts. The exchange also resulted in Macedonia confirming its interest in continuing to act as a knowledge-providing country for land administration modernization in Latin American countries.

*1.Croatia, like Nicaragua, has a dual land agency model: cadastre managed by the State Geodetic Administra­tion, and the land registry within the municipal courts managed by the Land Registration Management. Macedonia has a single agency model.