The Universal Address System Is Adopted in Somaliland
The Universal Address System is being successfully practiced to bring farmers, warring over privately-owned territorial rights, to peaceful coexistence
The Universal Address System and the Natural Area Coding System are a revolutionary technology to unify addresses, postal codes, area codes, geographic coordinates and map grids in the world. The Natural Area Coding System generates standardized and highly efficient codes called Natural Area Codes (NAC) for all locations and areas in the world that can be used as geographic coordinates, Universal Addresses, Global Postal Codes, Universal Area Codes and the coordinates of Universal Map Grids in the world.
Cadastral Surveys, an officially registered Non Government Organization in Somaliland and the United Kingdom, is establishing farm boundaries which are mutually agreed by neighboring farmers. Universal Addresses at each of the farms' polygon turning points and polygon center in the District of Gabiley are included on Farmers' ID cards thanks to the short strings of Universal Addresses. The Universal Addresses are also marked on the ground by embedded concrete blocks, and repeated in databases.
Farmers now have legal title deeds from Somaliland's Ministry of Agriculture. Outbreaks of violence over territorial rights have ceased in surveyed areas. 2,600 farms, averaging 12 acres each, have been surveyed and mapped. Each farm owner is in possession of an ID card.
Farmers are now enjoying peace because of security of tenure where they had little or none before. This was because their rain-fed farms, between 8 and 50 acres (3-20 ha) each, growing maize and sorghum, had no boundaries for generations and therefore no title deeds.
"When I was growing up, there were many land problems. No one knew the boundaries before these surveys. It was dangerous - some people were killed. I plan to pass my farm on to my children's children," said Mohamed Hassan Obsiye, a 66-year-old sorghum farmer. Somaliland now wisely gives farmers land ownership in perpetuity (freehold) after surveying, when maps and databases have been completed to the satisfaction of the Ministry of Agriculture.
"This project involves farmers, their neighbors, as well as local and municipal authorities, all of whom agree on this process. You can see that what the United Nations Development Program is doing here is helping to build peace, one farm at a time" - Maxwell Gaylard, UNDP Resident Representative for Somalia. "When we were in need, farmers coming back from refugee camps, UNDP helped. By securing their property and farming again, farmers can improve their livelihoods." - Hassan Yusuf Roble, Mayor of Gabiley.
Footnote: this article is of interest not merely for the elegant (if currently unique) solution that technology has brought to the people of Somaliland but because one of the founders of eMapSite once worked in Somaliland!
For more information about the Universal Address System and the Natural Area Coding System, please check http://www.nacgeo.com/nacsite/