Twinning project with EU to improve Kingdom's real estate mapping

The EU and the Department of Lands and Survey (DLS) on Tuesday launched a 1 million euro twinning project aimed at enhancing the technical and administrative capacities of the DLS in the fields of cadastre (mapping real estate ownership and values) and administration. Finance Minister Omar Malhas said public agencies always seek to reach solutions and make use of modern technologies to facilitate procedures in public transactions.

The EU and the Department of Lands and Survey (DLS) on Tuesday launched a 1 million euro twinning project aimed at enhancing the technical and administrative capacities of the DLS in the fields of cadastre (mapping real estate ownership and values) and administration.

Finance Minister Omar Malhas said public agencies always seek to reach solutions and make use of modern technologies to facilitate procedures in public transactions.

"We aspire to provide an accurate database for buildings that matches reality, especially when it comes to maps and blueprints," Malhas said.DLS is the main beneficiary of the project — dubbed "Reducing discrepancies between the physical reality and the graphical cadastral information in Jordan" — while co-beneficiaries and participants include the Greater Amman Municipality, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, the Royal Jordanian Geographic Centre and the Association of Owners of Land Survey Offices, the minister noted.

Planning and International Cooperation Minister Imad Fakhoury said the project, executed in cooperation with the governments of the Netherlands and Sweden, will be implemented over 18 months and falls under the EU technical assistance framework.

The services that DLS provides have a horizontal impact on the business environment, making it necessary to invest in simplifying and automating its services, as well as those of many other entities of the same nature, he noted at the project's launch ceremony.

"The past twinning project [for] the DLS and the systems associated with the project have significantly improved the skills and practices of the staff and management," the minister said.

Sweden implemented a previous DLS twinning project which concluded "successfully" in April 2013 and was evaluated with the highest score from the EU twinning reviewers, according to an EU statement.

"We encourage our colleagues at the DLS to absorb and sustain the benefits of this twinning arrangement, and to employ the best workable practices provided by their [European] counterparts, and we also encourage them to continue streamlining their services and make them accessible online," Fakhoury said.

In this regard, he noted that after 10 years of implementing twinning projects, it has become evident that twinning is instrumental in exchanging and maintaining international best practices.

EU Ambassador to Jordan Andrea Matteo Fontana praised EU-Jordanian cooperation in the field of cadastral and land surveys, noting that the EU partnership supports national reform efforts.Swedish Ambassador to Jordan Helena Gröndahl Rietz highlighted the role of the lead partner of the project — Swedsurvey, the state-owned overseas agency of Lantmäteriet (the Swedish mapping, cadastral and land registration authority), which implemented the first project — along with the Cadastre, Land Registry and Mapping Agency of the Netherlands.

"The project is multi-dimensional, because beyond the technical role of reducing discrepancies… it is about capacity building and transfer of knowledge," Rietz explained.

Dutch Ambassador to Jordan Paul van den IJssel said the project underlines the importance his country attaches to cooperation with Jordan in various fields.

DLS Director General Moeen Al Sayegh underscored the significance of the scheme in providing accurate information on lands in the Kingdom, commending previous experiences with EU partners.

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