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SUCCESS STORY – Land Tenure Registration Ensured Land Rights to all family members in Nyange
8th March 2018

At the age of 60, Ibrahim Ng'wala a husband of six wives with 17 children has lived his entire life in the village known as Nyange. This village is located nearby the famous Kilombero Sugar Company Limited in Kilombero district, Morogoro Region.

Within this village, marriage is a symbol of economic success – particularly multiple marriages. It is common for people who are economically stable to marry more than one wife. Those less well-off will instead pursue a monogamous marriage for economic stability.

Mr. Ngwala has succeeded to provide for his entire family by solely depending on farming as his main source of income. Before land registration, he owned 21 land parcels, totalling over 81 acres, that he has used to cultivate sugar cane and rice.

In Nyange, like so many other Tanzanian villages, land ownership is traditionally passed on from one male to another without title deeds or written wills. Mr. Ng'wala worries his descendants could start fighting over his estate when he dies.

On June 2016, a team from the Land Tenure Support Programme arrived at this village. Mr. Ngwala didn't take them seriously at first, to him they were just like any other government officials who wanted to intervene with his land ownership. Still he decided to show up and listen to what they had to say.

The team discussed the benefits of land registration with Mr Ngwala and other village community members, including advising on options for land registration and inheritance planning as well as promoting an understanding of land rights for all, including men, women, youth, disabled, pastoralists and children. Mr. Ng'wala realized that he could subdivide his land to each of his family members and formally register and acquire title deeds for each land parcel. This would remove his concerns about future conflicts over his land.

"No villager or any other member of my family should claim any of the surveyed plots that do not belong to them. I have given each of my 17 kids portions of fields, and the same to my wives, and my relatives are all satisfied with the decisions I have made," Mr Ng'wala said, explaining that such conflicts had caused endless hatred and even death to some of his neighbors.

"Now that we are in cultivating season, each member of my family is happy because they have full control to decide on their land on what they can grow over the land and the income from their produce, taking loans from banks etc." remarked Mr. Ng'wala.

The knowledge he obtained made him realize that titles will enable him to improve his income by having a recognizable title, also qualifying him for a loan from the bank should he wish to expand his farming practices. Subdividing and titling his land will also address his worries about the land conflicts that were bound to happen when he passes on.

Statistics show that in Nyange village, whilst 49 percent of women own farms, this percentage includes those with joint land ownership with their husbands as well as individual farms. This percentage is increasing as a result of the awareness raising of the Land Tenure Support Programme.

Photo caption: Mr Ng'wala's compound where four of his wives live.

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LTSP promotes debate on the review of legal and regulatory framework on Land Administration and Governance
8th March 2018

Tanzania’s Land Tenure Support Programme (LTSP) has again demonstrated that there is strong national and sectoral leadership and commitment to improved land service delivery and transparency in Tanzania. In any land project there is always a need for strong communication and coordination within and between government and non-government stakeholders. The LTSP has recently established a Multi Stakeholder Group (MSG) to best facilitate and improve inter-agency cooperation, in support of land tenure reform as envisioned under the Strategic Plan for Implementation of Land Laws (SPILL) 2013.

The main objective of the MSG is to promote debate on current legislation and policy evolution, institutional roles and responsibilities. Through the LTSP, the MSG has organised several forums that have debated on legal and policy reform needs with a view to improving communication and coordination between the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlement (MLHHSD) and other government institutions and organisations. With recent efforts, the MSG has formulated research topics in the areas of land related disputes, dispute resolution systems and benefit sharing model on large scale investment on land to analyse various benefit sharing models and make recommendations suitable for Tanzania.

The MSG recently convened a special working session in Dodoma, the Capital City of Tanzania, to kick start the debate on the state of legal and policy issues on land. The objective of the session was to come up with a position paper that identifies priority areas and essential changes needed within land-related legislation, in order to facilitate the review and harmonisation of the land laws. In developing this policy paper, MSG Members reviewed and analysed the current legal and institutional issues in the land sector, including identifying those that hinder the acceleration of registration of rural land, discourage promotion of investment in land, deny land rights among various groups and which ultimately limit tenure security.

Broad stakeholder representation on the MSG is critical to its success and the quality of its outputs. This has been ensured through the inclusion of members from across the relevant Ministries and non-governmental organisations, including Care International and MVIWATA, as well as the private sector, University of Dar es Salaam and a representation from international development partners. The participation of civil society and non-governmental organisations particularly facilitates trust and confidence and further opens communication channels as these organisations report back on progress and decisions to interested parties.

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2017 FIG commission 7 and 9 annual meetings and Congress in Cartagena Colombia
8th March 2018

From the 4th to the 8th of December 2017, the International Federation of Surveyors (or FIG in French), held the annual meetings of Commission 7 and Commission 9 in the city of Cartagena, Colombia. The president of the organising committee was Dr Daniel Paez, a LEI Land Specialist based at our headquarters in Wollongong. LEI was a main sponsor of the event.

Commission 7 of FIG focussed on Cadastre and Land Administration issues while the Commission 9 main topic was property valuation and management of real estate. In addition to both chairs of these commissions - Ms Gerda Schennach and Mr Steve Nystrom - keynote speakers of the event included Dr Jorge Muñoz, Practice Manager of the Global Land and Geospatial Unit at the World Bank, and the head of the Colombian mapping agency (IGAC) Mr Juan Nieto.

The main conclusions from the event were the need for surveyors to adapt faster to changes in the profession as new technologies emerge. There is also the need for land administration practitioners to learn more about project financing opportunities as a trend across the world is appearing where the private sector is likely to play a vital role in the future of land tenure security with the expansion of public-private partnerships. 

All presentations and more conclusions from the event can be found at 

At LEI, we consider it fundamental to support the involvement of all surveying professionals in the overarching factors that affect land administration across the world. As we did in this event, we have been participating and supporting FIG events and initiative for many, so there is connectivity between academia, private and public actors in those critical issues that affect land tenure security, particularly in developing countries.

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Reflections Workshop promotes community-based organisation participation in land initiatives
26th June 2017

The Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) project is currently undertaking a planned program of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities. These are designed to assess the effectiveness of some of the MRLG Learning and Alliance (L&A) and Grant-funded activities. 

The Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) project is currently undertaking a planned program of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities. These are designed to assess the effectiveness of some of the MRLG Learning and Alliance (L&A) and Grant-funded activities.  

As part of the L&A activity assessment, members of the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) recently visited Hanoi where, together with national staff, they ran a ‘Reflection Workshop’ to review work associated with the “promotion of community-based organisations participation in land legislation implementation and monitoring". The workshop was attended by representatives from 13 partner organisations including lead partner the Center for Indigenous Knowledge Research and Development (CIRD) and representatives from the Fatherland Front of Vietnam and Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Association.

The workshop reflected on the history, objectives, activities and outcomes of the L&A group with the aim of sharing the lessons learnt and identifying key success factors. Of note was the strength of commitment among all partner organisations to work towards a common goal, the accumulated knowledge that was gained from working together, the positive impact that the L&A had on capacity building and the fact that the activity contributed to the launch of a monitoring mechanism for the Fatherland Front at all levels of government activities in general, and to land policy in particular. 

Image: John Meadows (Acting Team Leader, MRLG), Joo Zimmerman (L&A) and Dominik Wellman (M&E) from the PIU and Lan Nguyen (the MRLG National Facilitator for Vietnam) are photographed with Mr. Phan Văn Vượng (Deputy Head of Democratic and Laws Committee, Central Fatherland Front) and Mr. Lê Công Lương (Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Association (VUSTA)).

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Message from Tony Burns, Managing Director
5th May 2017

Welcome to this Autumn edition of the Land Equity International (LEI) newsletter.

During the last few months, there has been a flurry of activity – touched with much sadness and joy. In December, we said goodbye to a long-term friend and colleague – Chris Grant – who passed away suddenly. Chris was one of the four LEI founders. He was a former senior land administration executive (Surveyor General and Chair Land Surveyors Licensing Board) in the public sector and had over 40 years’ experience in his field. He worked at BHP Engineering and Hatch Associates with me prior to LEI commencing operations. Chris had significant experience in designing, implementing and directing large-scale land titling/land administration projects involving multi-disciplinary teams of national and international specialists in numerous developing countries. He was conversant with the political, social and economic impact of land administration reform programs in developing and post-conflict countries. And, he was acutely aware of the cultural sensitivities surrounding land tenure and the challenge of balancing development agendas with the recognition and preservation of customary rights to land. His well-developed team building, coordination and liaison skills enabled him to successfully deliver outcomes in donor-funded land administration projects in many tough locations. Chris was highly-regarded in the field, and an all-round authentic nice person. He will be greatly missed.

We are excited to report that LEI currently has three projects running in Indonesia – funded by the World Bank and Millennium Challenge Account-Indonesia (MCA-I). Key personnel have provided an update on these projects.

LEI was awarded the 12-month One Map Technical Assistance (TA) project, which commenced in early February with Neil Pullar as Team Leader. After having wrapped up the MCA-I-funded Participatory Mapping and Planning Sub-Activity Project No. 2 (PMaP2) at the end of February, LEI has since been awarded the PMaP7 contract. PMaP7 is a similar style of project to PMaP2 and PMaP3, but located in Riau Province. Most PMaP2 staff have now joined PMaP7 which commenced in April with Paul Harris as Team Leader. PMaP3 continues to make progress.  

Our Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) project has also been doing great things. It recently supported a thematic study that was presented at a workshop for indigenous youth in Cambodia. Young people came together to build knowledge of key issues and share experiences which will benefit them later on should they find themselves working with key land stakeholders. Our MRLG Team Leader for that project, Kate Rickersey, has just returned to Australia temporarily to welcome her new baby into the world. John Meadows has taken over the Team Leader role while Kate in on leave.

Kate Fairlie and I have now completed our latest work in Ethiopia with the World Bank. This culminated in a presentation at the Land and Poverty Conference 2017 in Washington. John Meadows presented on the Vanuatu Land Program and representatives from the MRLG project also attended and presented on key areas of interest.

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One Map TA Indonesia Newsletter

LEI wins World Bank-funded One Map TA contract in Indonesia
5th May 2017

LEI has secured the Technical Assistance and Capacity Development for the Program Preparation to Operationalize and Accelerate the One Map Policy (One Map TA project). This 12-month TA project commenced in February 2017. It aims to support One Map Policy (OMP) implementation and strengthen the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) through the early completion of OMP coverage across all of Indonesia.

The One Map TA project will support the Government of Indonesia to:

  • define procedures and guidelines for OMP implementation
  • enhance access to geospatial data and services
  • compile data on existing concessions and licences
  • verify data on state lands and integrate state land data into the overall land administration system
  • produce fit-for-purpose geospatial data – especially  in support of improved land management and governance, including the protection of natural resources
  • facilitate participatory community mapping and the incorporation of this mapping into OMP
  • pilot OMP implementation processes, and
  • implement appropriate project management and monitoring for OMP.

Project outputs include:

  1. An analysis of the regulatory system, standards, formats and data sharing policies for the One Map framework and NSDI framework
  2. An analysis of the state/communal/other land designation and registration system
  3. An analysis of participatory village land use mapping methodologies
  4. Preparation of the OMP Operationalisation and Acceleration investment lending operation, and
  5. Capacity building among government agencies to implement the OMP.

For more information, see

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Map examples from

Breaking investment barriers through One Map Policy in Indonesia
5th May 2017

“Due to the drop in revenue from oil and gas (Migas) and plantation commodities such as palm oil and rubber, the economic growth of Riau in 2016 is only 2.23%. Therefore the Riau provincial government has to think and work hard to improve growth by creating an investment-friendly environment … this includes ensuring information (spatial data and permits) are up-to-date, accurate and accessible for public consumption through one door.”

Gubernur Riau, Arsyadjuliandi Rachman

Spatial planning and One Map Policy in Indonesia

Spatial planning has a strategic position in Indonesia: it is a key instrument for establishing and sustaining government long- and medium-term plans (RPJP and RPJM) for national and regional development, promoting rational spatial organisation of land uses and reconciling competing policy goals. It aims to balance demands for development with the need to protect the environment and to achieve social and economic objectives.

Why is the One Map Policy (OMP) important? Reliable, accurate and up-to-date spatial information is essential for spatial planning. The development of such authoritative geo-spatial information currently faces issues such as map discrepancies due to the absence of standards for data classification, geo-database format and a range of geo-spatial reference systems. These problems make it difficult for policy makers to integrate maps generated from the related ministries and agencies. For this reason, the OMP is urgently required to avoid map conflicts and ensure all thematic maps comply with the same standards.

In February 2016, President Joko Widodo issued Presidential Decree No 9 Year 2016 on the OMP to speed up the implementation and production of a single, integrated, nationwide database of various political and economic information by 2019. This OMP will be implemented at the national and local levels. It is expected that land disputes – rampant for decades as a consequence of unreliable and inconsistent maps and data – can be reduced. From an economic perspective, the policy is also expected to stimulate and accelerate investment growth in Indonesia.

Riau’s pending spatial planning status impacts investment opportunities

Until now, Riau Province has not regulated its Regional Spatial Plans (RTRW) and this situation has seriously affected the investment environment. Investors from national and local levels are discouraged by the absence of local regulation (Perda) of RTRW and are reluctant to invest. The stagnation leads to low rates of economic growth.

“The extension of previous permits and the issuance of new investment permits have a number of significant challenges now, including Building Permits (IMB). This permit stagnation is not only occurring at the provincial and district levels, but also nationally where the central government is also unable to issue investment permits in all districts of Riau.”

Secretary of Bappeda Riau Province, Supriyadi

Riau Governor, Arsyadjuliandi Rachman, in his briefing to Land Equity International (LEI) on 6 April 2017 stated that one of the priorities of the provincial and district government is to ensure that the spatial planning process will only use the same basic map. For that reason, the implementation of OMP is a must and cannot be postponed in Riau and all districts. He also confirmed that there is a significant need for capacity building support to improve the capacity of human resources to manage and implement the OMP.

Through the support of Participatory Mapping and Planning Sub-Activity Project No. 7 (PMaP7), managed by LEI and funded by Millennium Challenge Account-Indonesia (MCA-I), OMP implementation in Riau Province (five districts) can be accelerated. The PMaP7 project will support building local government capacity in spatial planning at the province level and in the districts of Pelalawan, Kampar, Kuantan Singingi, Rokan Hulu and Rokan Hilir.

One Data One Map (SDSP): Learning from West Nusa Tenggara

Although PMaP7 only recently commenced in Riau on 13 April 2017, LEI has successful previous experiences in supporting the West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) Government to implement its OMP, called NTB One Data One Map (NTB SDSP). Through this experience, we learnt that the problems facing the Riau Government have also been experienced by the NTB Provincial Government.

Presently, the NTB SDSP is fully functional with one geo-portal that facilitates the integration of thematic geo-spatial information from various agencies and that can be accessed by the general public, including local/national investors. A geo-spatial working group was established by Governor Decree (SK Gubernur) and coordinated agencies to develop the standards for thematic mapping and geo-spatial data formats for geographic information system application. With the funding allocation from local government, the working group continues to increase its capacity periodically.

The NTB SDSP is timely for encouraging investment. One example is the national tourism program that is now receiving investment in NTB through the Special Economic Zone (KEK) Mandalika in Central Lombok.

A number of examples of maps from NTB showing boundaries, weather and climate, average daily relative humidity, drainage network and patterns, etc. can be accessed through the following link:

The map examples above are sourced from - a PMaP/MCA-I initiative within the wider Green Prosperity Program – “…aimed at representing the spatial information of the local area that combines modern cartographic technology with participatory methods”.

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Focus Group Discussion to form a Geospatial Information Task Force in Kolaka District Southeast Sulawesi

Achieving local government commitment to coordinated and improved spatial and land-use planning
5th May 2017

MCA-Indonesia’s third project – Participatory Mapping and Planning Sub-Activity No. 3 (PMaP3) – focuses on eleven districts across four provinces.

The project is assisting district governments to implement the following three tasks:

  1. Acquire geo-spatial data and prepare geographic information system databases of land-use/land cover
  2. Compile and geo-reference existing and pending licences and permits for land and natural resource use, and
  3. Enhance district spatial plans through capacity building in spatial planning, enforcement and management of land use information in spatially-enabled databases.

Stakeholder participation, especially engagement with provincial and district Development Planning Agencies, is essential to ensuring task implementation with a view towards inter-agency coordination of spatial and land-use planning (and sustainability). The PMaP3 Information Management System (IMS) has been designed for improved and coordinated spatial and land-use planning at the district and provincial levels. Of particular concern, however, is the question of local government commitment to sustained participation and adequate financing for IMS implementation. Strong ownership and an understanding of a system that will fit local needs are key to a successful IMS implementation.

To ensure adequate participation by key decision makers, PMaP3 facilitated the formation of a Geospatial Information Task Force (GITF) in each of the 11 target districts and four provinces. A proposal was presented and discussed during Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) on “Geospatial Information Management by Local Governments: Challenges and Opportunities” – leading to the establishment of fifteen GITFs. These may well be viewed as a critical first step for establishing Local Geospatial Information Network Nodes that will address implementation of the national government-directed One Map Policy at the local government level. Key agency representatives in each district/province attended the FGDs, which were comprised of senior (heads) and technical staff members from local government agencies.

In some districts, GITFs are given legality and budget through a Regent or Governor Decree (Surat Keputusan Bupati/Gubernur). Achieving legality for task forces will demonstrate a high level of local government commitment in ensuring sustainability in relation to managing geospatial data and information at the local level. In addition, most districts and provinces have committed to allocating adequate budgets in support of GITF operations. In South Sulawesi province, for example, PMaP3 is working in three districts (Luwu, North Luwu and South Luwu), and each of the Bappeda (Development Planning Agency) boards have already allocated funds for this year to support the GITFs. All three districts submitted work plans and suggestions for establishing Local Geospatial Information Network Nodes.

GITF member composition and legal support is now final. Each GITF will be comprised of 7-25 individuals from key agencies, and PMaP3 will conduct focused capacity building for each task force. By the end of the project, PMaP3 expects to have at least 100 staff trained and ready to implement the spatially-based IMS in each of the districts and provinces. 

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Infographic video used to deliver key PMaP3 messages to local government and public audiences
5th May 2017

Over the past 12 months, Participatory Mapping and Planning Sub-Activity No. 3 (PMaP3) has been delivering three tasks across 11 districts in Indonesia. The following infographic video was used as part of the stakeholder management strategy to provide a comprehensive and uncomplicated overview of PMaP3 to target audiences. It shows how the program was developed to address the problem of land use and space – a result of long-term poor planning and overlaps in spatial information management. 

Related to the One Map Policy, a national government priority, PMaP3 encouraged various stakeholders to play an active role in managing district mapping and planning. Since the program involved the technical aspects of district spatial planning in PMaP3 target areas where there were limited human resources, the infographic video was designed to deliver simple and comprehensive key messages on what PMaP3 has been doing to date. Although mainly intended for local government personnel (as the main implementers), the video may also be useful to other audiences.

The video has been played during closed meetings with district and provincial government agencies, at trainings and workshops, and during coordination meetings with various stakeholders (eg international non-government organisations, community leaders, etc). To date it has been well received. Approximately 1,900 people have attended these sessions to date.

Click here to view the video.


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Indigenous youth networks share findings on recognition of customary tenure in Cambodia

Recognising customary tenure in Cambodia: Workshop aims to increase youth understanding
5th May 2017

Indigenous youths in Cambodia were provided an opportunity to discuss the current situation of land tenure insecurity in relation to indigenous peoples (IP). The national Cambodia Indigenous Peoples Organization (CIPO) held a workshop in December 2016 to facilitate information and experience sharing, awareness raising and debate among young people – with the aim being that these young people would come away with a better understanding of contemporary issues faced by IPs.

The workshop was held on 10 December 2016 in Phnom Penh. Seventy-four participants (including 26 women) – represented 11 organisations. Indigenous and non-indigenous youths attended the event to expand their understanding around key issues, such as mechanisms for land conflict resolution through the court system, mechanisms for land conflict resolution through the non-court system, and tradition, culture, and IP education.

With additional support from the Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) project, the workshop was expanded to include Cambodia Indigenous Peoples Alliance (CIPA) members who presented findings from a thematic study on the recognition and security of customary tenure of IPs. The findings showed that:

  • The recognition of communal land tenure of indigenous peoples in the 2001 Land Law is incomprehensive and ambiguous.
  • The 2002 Law on Forestry does not acknowledge settlements inside permanent forest reserves that pre-date both the law and the establishment of permanent forest reserves. The law recognises only user rights of the local people to access to natural resources.
  • The Law on Protected Areas recognises the tenure of existing settlements or inhabitants inside the Protected Areas, but the progress on zonation of the protected areas has been very slow – limiting the impact this protection of tenure rights can have.  

The jointly-developed study (by CIPA and the MRLG project) aimed to inform, raise awareness and encourage further discussion among attendees. To view the study, please see

In addition to enhancing and reinforcing understanding around key indigenous peoples land issues, workshops such as this prepare young people for more meaningful dialogue with concerned government institutions. These Cambodian Government institutions are key to supporting land tenure security initiatives affecting IP groups in the future.

For more information on the MRLG project, see

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