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Armenia

Land Cadastre (AM0040)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Armenia Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: State Committee of Real Estate Cadastre

Support Institution(s): State Urban Development Committee, State Register Agency of Legal Entities, State Property Management Agency, LSG bodies, other state actors involved Transparency International Anti-corruption Center NGO

Policy Areas

E-Government, Land Rights & Spatial Planning, Natural Resources

IRM Review

IRM Report: Armenia Transitional Results Report 2018-2020, Armenia Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: No IRM Data

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

6. Ensuring public accessibility of the Land Cadastre of the Republic of Armenia
Commitment Start and End Date Commitment Start: January 2019
Commitment End: December 2020
Lead implementing agency State Committee of Real Estate Cadastre
Person responsible from implementing agency Larisa Manukyan
Title, Department Head of Geodesy and Cartography Department
E-mail survay@cadastre.amPhone (+37460) 47-42-37
Other actors involved Other state actors involved State Urban Development Committee, State Register Agency of Legal Entities, State Property Management Agency, LSG bodies, other state actors involved
Civil society, private sector Transparency International Anti-corruption Center NGO
Issues subject to regulation In the Republic of Armenia, the Land Cadastre is closed, and it is necessary to apply to the State Committee of Real Estate Cadastre of the Republic of Armenia or the relevant LSG to receive information about any territory. Although the land use schemes, zoning plans and spatial planning documents are open documents by law, they are not accessible, or are accessible in formats that are not easily accessible for citizens. As a result, for years, the State Committee of Real Estate Cadastre of the Republic of Armenia has provided that information to citizens by hand, only as prescribed by law, and the heads of communities have had the opportunity to arbitrarily dispose of the land lots, without any opportunity for public oversight.
Main objective To ensure transparency of the Land Cadastre, the land use schemes and zoning documents and, with that, public accountability of the relevant structures.
Brief description of commitment To ensure complete accessibility of the Land Cadastre and the land use schemes and zoning documents (data) for the public through a map, search functionality, ensuring the personal data protection regime.
OGP challenge addressed by the commitment More efficient management of public resources, rise of the level of public confidence
Relevance to OGP values Proactive publication of information disposed of by the state and LSG bodies will ensure accessibility of information about land resources and the decisions regarding those land resources, will help ensure public accountability, which will make it possible to apply public oversight over the enforcement of land use schemes and zoning documents.
Ambition Ensuring transparency of the decisions adopted by the Government of the Republic of Armenia and LSG bodies in regard to land use, proper public oversight over and raising the level of confidence in those bodies
Promotes efforts for implementation of SDG Goals or Targets

Verifiable and measurable criteria for performance of commitment
Start Date:
End Date:
Ongoing Actions
Rearm and electronically map the database of the Real Estate Cadastre, ensuring the relationship of land use schemes with zoning plans, as well as with the State Register Agency of Legal Entities. January 2019 August 2020
Publish and make accessible, with search functionality, the data of the cadastre, ensuring personal data protection in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Armenia. January 2020 August 2020

IRM Midterm Status Summary

6. Land Cadastre

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan: [61]

Brief description: To ensure complete accessibility of the Land Cadastre and the land use schemes and zoning documents (data) for the public through a map, search functionality, ensuring the personal data protection regime.

Milestones

6.1 Rearm and electronically map the database of the Real Estate Cadastre, ensuring the relationship of land use schemes with zoning plans, as well as with the State Register Agency of Legal Entities.

6.2 Publish and make accessible, with search functionality, the data of the cadastre, ensuring personal data protection in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Armenia.

Start Date: January 2019

End Date: December 2020 [62]

Context and Objectives

Currently, Armenia’s land cadastre database is not publicly accessible. To receive information on the status of any territory, for a fee, requesters must apply to the Real Estate Cadastre Committee of the Republic of Armenia or to the local government. [63] The law requires that land use schemes, zoning plans, and spatial planning documents be open. However, they are either not available at all or are available in formats that are not easily accessible for citizens. As a result, for years, the Real Estate Cadastre Committee provided this information to citizens upon request, only as prescribed by law. Thus, the heads of communities could arbitrarily dispose land slots without public oversight. [64]

Investigative journalists and interviewed stakeholders have reported several challenges related to mismanagement of land resources in Armenia. The investigative journalist outlet Hetq published an article in 2018 demonstrating corruptive schemes of purchasing land slots in the Hrazdan community’s state-owned protected forest by many officials and by their personal affiliates in a resort territory. [65] Similar schemes exist at the community level. Community heads change the status of a land zone, so they can sell it to their personal affiliates or other influential persons, often for their own personal interests. For example, forest zones are used for agricultural purposes, or agricultural land is sold for construction. [66]

This commitment aims to provide public access to the land cadastre database and allow visitors to search by location of the land, which would be presented in graphic format. Investigative journalists mention that currently it is sometimes difficult to find the address and ownership of a land parcel identified through satellite photos. [67] A comprehensive database of land ownership would allow investigative journalists to easily track the ownership of land and possible misuse of land zones. The public database would also facilitate access to public services and reduce paperwork for submitting inquiries to public administration bodies.

The commitment mentions certain limitations regarding personal data disclosure. It is not quite clear, however, whether these limitations involve the name of the owner or the personal data of the owner, such as passport information or contacts. The commitment also does not clearly state that the data will be accessible to the public free of charge. According to the law, fees are charged for provision of information on immovable property, with some exceptions—for example, for state bodies. [68] Thus, to provide information free of charge, legislative changes will be needed. The commitment does not include such changes. According to a civil society representative of the OGP working group, it was discussed that only creation of electronic map of land database is foreseen in the fourth action plan implementation cycle. [69] The publication of the database included in the second milestone is planned to be completed in 2022, within the next action plan. [70]

If the information on the land cadastre is available for the public free of charge—as is the case with the water cadastre commitment—this commitment could have a significant impact on state practices in managing land resources. Strengthened civil society monitoring could also work toward this goal. If the commitment had explicitly stated that information would be provided free of charge and included the necessary legislative amendments, it could have been assessed as transformative. Such an assessment would have applied if the commitment were also more specific about the type of information that would be provided on ownership.

Next steps

This commitment can serve as an important contribution to open data from the land cadastre. To achieve maximal effectiveness and significant impact of the commitment, the IRM research recommends the following actions:

  • Adopt the necessary legislative amendments to provide information on land ownership free of charge.
  • Provide the maximum amount of information allowed by law about the owners of land slots.
  • Ensure proper mechanisms for the timely update of information.
  • Implement awareness-raising activities to ensure widespread use of the database.
[61] Government of the Republic of Armenia, OGP Armenia Action Plan 2018-2020, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Armenia_Action-Plan_2018-2020_EN.doc.
[62] In Armenian version: January 2019-December 2022. Government of the Republic of Armenia, OGP Armenia Action Plan 2018-2020, Armenian version, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Armenia_Action-Plan_2018-2020_ARM.doc.
[63] RA Law On State Registration of Property Rights, 14 April 1999, https://www.arlis.am/DocumentView.aspx?DocID=121898
[64] Government of the Republic of Armenia, OGP Armenia Action Plan 2018-2020, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Armenia_Action-Plan_2018-2020_EN.doc.
[65] “Former Armenian Officials and Their Associates Privatize Fifty Hectares of Forested Lands,” Hetq.am, 28 January 2019, https://hetq.am/en/article/93475.
[66] Marina Mkhitaryan (UNDP Kolba Lab), interview by IRM researcher, 18 February 2019. Mariam Zadoyan and Syuzanna Soghomonyan (Anticorruption Coalition of Armenia), interview by IRM researcher, 22 February 2019; Sona Ayvazyan (Transparency International Anticorruption Center), interview by IRM researcher, 1 March 2019; and Arpine Hakobyan (NGO Center), interview by IRM researcher, 7 March 2019.
[67] Tirayr Muradyan (Hetq Investigative Journalists NGO), phone interview by IRM researcher, 7 March 2019.
[68] RA Law On State Registration of Property Rights, articles 71–75, 14 April 1999, https://www.arlis.am/DocumentView.aspx?DocID=121898
[69] The comment was provided during pre-publication period by Varuzhan Hoktanyan (Transparency International Anticorruption Center),
[70] Government of the Republic of Armenia, OGP Armenia Action Plan 2018-2020, Armenian version, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Armenia_Action-Plan_2018-2020_ARM.doc.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

6. Land Cadastre

Completion: Limited

By the end of the action plan period, the Cadastre Committee had completed most of the data input for the land cadastre. However, the connection to and input from other databases is still in progress. As a next step, the Cadastre Committee plans to provide state institutions with access to the database. [44] [45] The timeline of the commitment in the action plan extends to 2022. [46] Thus, it is expected that the database will become publicly available in the coming years, after necessary legislative changes are developed and adopted.

[44] Karen Grigoryan (Cadastre Committee of the Republic of Armenia), interview by IRM researcher, 5 November 2020.
[45] Starting December 2020, access to basic cartographic layers has been gradually provided to the state bodies through the cartographic system of the National Geoportal (information provided to the IRM during the public comment period of this report, 19 May 2021).
[46] Though the English translation of the action plan mentions December 2020 as the commitment end date, the Armenian version, which has been officially adopted, gives December 2022 (Government of the Republic of Armenia, OGP Armenia Action Plan 2018–2020, Armenian version, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Armenia_Action-Plan_2018-2020_ARM.doc).

Commitments

Open Government Partnership