ESRI Canada partners with international organizations to safeguard land rights in China

March 19, 2009 -- Toronto, ON – ESRI Canada partnered with ESRI China Beijing, Trimble China, International Land Systems Inc. (ILS) of Silver Spring, MD, USA and Landstar Digital Technology of Beijing, China to help demonstrate the feasibility of applying state-of-the-art GIS and surveying technologies to solve one of the most pressing land policy challenges facing China today. Results of the recently completed pilot project may ultimately serve as the foundation for a nationwide GIS-based rural land registration and certification program. Should the Chinese government give the go-ahead for the project implementation, it could quite potentially enhance China’s ability to feed its people through the safeguarding of land rights for over 800 million farmers.

In order to protect arable lands and foster sustainable agricultural practices, the Government of China has adopted polices and laws aimed at strengthening the land rights of individual farmers. Nearly all arable rural lands are owned by the collectives and leased to the farmers by the local collective in contractual lease arrangements that sometimes date back for decades. When land disputes arise, it is difficult or impossible for farmers to prove what rights they have to specific pieces of property without adequate documentation.

As a result, China established the Rural Land Registration and Certification Pilot Program through its Rural Development Policy Centre with funding from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Bank and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The objective of this program is to explore and test legal, technical and organizational solutions for sustainable Rural Land Registration and Certification. The long-term goals of the program are to register every rural land parcel and document its respective correct boundary and to formally recognize the land tenure of every farming household in the nation. Implementation of a land registration system capable of achieving these objectives would provide a cascading series of benefits across China.

“ESRI Canada is delighted to have the opportunity to bring its complement of consulting expertise to bear on China’s GIS-based Rural Land Registration pilot project, said Elton Yuen, Director, Enterprise Solutions Group (ESG) International, ESRI Canada. “Helping to safeguard the land rights of China’s 1.5 billion arable land parcels is an important priority for all project stakeholders. This ambitious project is directly in line with the World Bank’s Millennium Development Goals and our involvement is a clear example of our ability to effectively work with international organizations and federal agencies to develop pragmatic, scalable and sustainable solutions.”

The pilot project was completed along with the final project workshop in Beijing back in January 2009. All project-related information was presented by national and local PMO directors, national specialists and national contract agencies to senior officials from the FAO, the World Bank, the Chinese Government including the Office of the Central Leading Group on Rural Affairs, the Development Research Center of State Council, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Land and Resources, as well as other international experts. A paper outlining the project was presented by the Chinese National Project Coordinator during the FIG/World Bank Conference in Washington DC earlier this month. A new larger scale pilot project focused on other types of land conditions will be begin later this year with funding provided by the World Bank and the Chinese Government respectively.

Government is a major user of ESRI GIS technology. Since 2005, ESRI Canada’s Enterprise Solutions Group (ESG) International has been working alongside its global partners to help federal agencies from around the world realize the power of enterprise mapping. International departments and agencies rely on GIS technology to advance their operations, tackle the growing demand for accountability, improve communication, manage natural resources and protect the environment.

About ESRI Canada

Established in 1984, ESRI Canada is a Canadian owned company specializing in geographic information systems (GIS) solutions. ESRI Canada distributes the world's leading GIS software including solutions from ESRI Inc., Miner and Miner, I.S.M. International Systemap Corp. and Azteca. In order to provide organizations with complete industry-specific solutions ESRI Canada has established an extensive business partner program that includes more than 130 Canadian organizations. ESRI Canada also provides professional services including consulting, training, technical support, and enterprise GIS implementation. ESRI Canada is a leader in providing world-class enterprise GIS solutions for many industries including public works, land management, utilities, defence, public safety, business demographics, education, natural resources and transportation. ESRI Canada has sixteen regional offices across the country, with headquarters in Toronto, Ontario. For more information, please visit or call 1-800-447-9778.

 Media Contact:
John Waite        
GIS Marketing Specialist
ESRI Canada
T: 416-441-6035 Ext 6375
E: Email Contact

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