Strengthening municipal land management

Project description

Title: Strengthening municipal land management
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Republic of Serbia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection; Ministry of Construction, Transport and Infrastructure
Overall term: 2016 to 2018

Serbia. Developing IT solutions to manage state-owned agricultural land. © GIZ
Regulated access to land is essential for a functioning social market economy, serving as a basis for activities in the agricultural, construction and business investment sectors.

The Serbian institutions responsible for land management currently lack the instruments required to regulate and manage land use effectively. This has various consequences, including the unnecessary conversion of farmland and green areas into building zones and the problem of ineffective agricultural production structures. This deprives both municipalities and land users of revenue which cannot be recovered. The increasing occurrence of illegal or informal land development has emerged as a further problem.


National and local institutions establish and maintain ecologically sustainable, socially equitable and efficient land use management practices.

Serbia. Model of a new residential area in Despotovac © GIZ

The project advises national and local stakeholders to help them improve and integrate their land management practices and to achieve balanced development between urban and rural areas.

Project activities focus on drafting strategic land management documents, enhancing the exchange of information among relevant institutions, developing human and institutional capacities, and establishing learning partnerships. In the process, due consideration is given to gender equality, EU standards and strategies for mitigating the negative impacts of climate change on the environment and biodiversity.

The project is initiating cross-sector cooperation among stakeholders in the area of integrated national and local land policies. It promotes the automated sharing of data and information between national and local institutions as well as the national cadastral office.

The project supports modern urban land management by promoting knowledge building and providing technical advisory services, especially with regard to urban planning, architecture and the re-allocation of plots for building. In the area of rural land management, it is strengthening personnel and institutional capacities, particularly through the nationwide introduction of a web-based IT system for managing state-owned agricultural land and through the establishment of a pool of experts to deal with modern land consolidation.

The consulting firm AMBERO is assisting the project in the area of urban land management.

Results achieved so far
Integrated urban development plans have been prepared and adopted in three towns. The process for drafting a national strategy for sustainable, integrated urban development has been launched.

In 2017 three pilot municipalities will introduce land re-allocation as a new instrument designed to develop urban building sites in a sustainable manner by means of a participatory process.

Six pilot projects for land consolidation have been successfully completed, encompassing around 4,400 hectares of farmland and involving about 3,000 people. In compliance with standards set by the European Union, the land consolidation process is being carried out through a participatory and transparent procedure that includes environmental impact assessments as a mandatory element. The legal basis for the application of these modern approaches has been presented to the partner ministries for approval.

With the aid of the newly introduced web-based IT solution, the leasing of state-owned agricultural land increased the amount of available farmland by 120,000 hectares and generated 27 million euros in additional revenue in 2016 compared to the previous year.