WB Conference Ethiopia

From Africa to the Asia-Pacific: LEI and MRLG representatives showcase projects in Washington D.C.
5th May 2017

The World Bank annual conference on Land and Poverty (20-24 March) was bigger than ever in 2017, drawing a record 1,300 participants from around the world. This year’s theme was Responsible Land Governance—Towards an Evidence-Based Approach.

Tony Burns and Kate Fairlie from LEI presented on their recent project work in Ethiopia. See: “Establishing a Legal Cadastre for Good Governance in Ethiopia: Identifying Bottlenecks and Steps Toward Scale-Up” ( The paper sets out core findings and policy recommendations in relation to the status of current pilots being undertaken to create the urban legal cadastre, and the way forward. The work also highlights our understanding of the governance, project management and public awareness challenges associated with registering urban land in Ethiopia. Our presentation covered key limitations to scaling up systematic adjudication and registration (SAR) in urban Ethiopia, and a case study which applied a Costing and Financing Land Administration Services (CoFLAS) model to support estimation of staffing, office needs and costs to ensure that the cadastre is adequately serviced. Work to date has shown that there is significant opportunity for offices to be self-financing.

John Meadows presented on our experiences and lessons learnt on the LEI-implemented and DFAT/AusAID-funded Vanuatu Land Program (previously known as the Mama Graon – Land Program) from 2010-2015. See: “Experiences Implementing Land Reform in Vanuatu” (

During the conference, and with support from Thea Hilhorst, Tony Burns arranged a session with PS Kayandabila who was leading a group of seven officials from the Ministry of Lands Housing and Human Settlement Development in Tanzania. A range of experts with activities in Tanzania participated in the meeting. These included: Clive English, Chief of Party from the USAID-funded Land Tenure Assistance Program; Anna Locke from ODI (who designed the Land Tenure Support Program, which LEI is implementing); Frank Pichel from Cadasta; Aurélie Milledrogues from IGN International (currently working on the Integrated Land Management Information System (ILMIS) Project); Katlin Cordes from Colombia Law School; Lukasz Czerwinski from Landesa; Andy Smith, Team Leader on the Land Investment for Transformation (LIFT) project in Ethiopia; Professor Stig Enemark, Aalborg University; Chris Penrose-Buckley from DFID, and Harold Carey from USAID. Participants had a very useful experience exchange and discussion on steps that Tanzania can take to improve land administration.

This year, representatives from the Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) project drew particular attention to cross-sectoral partnerships for tenure security, the tenure needs of smallholder farmers and the opportunities presented by scrutinising land investment flows. MRLG representatives were active across all days of the conference, including preconference and masterclasses. The following MRLG activities from Lao PDR and Cambodia are examples of some of the sessions:

  • Jean-Christophe Diepart (MRLG): Author and Presenter of “They Will Need Land! The current land tenure situation and future land allocation needs of smallholder farmers in Cambodia”. See Jean-Christophe’s work estimated that a significant amount of additional agricultural land may be required for smallholder farmers in Cambodia up to 2030, as rural population growth is anticipated to outstrip the economic transition away from agriculture in the short term. With this in mind, he suggested a clear priority to coordinate land reform processes across the country, to minimise rent seeking and conflict, as well as to better support rural livelihoods.
  • Justine Sylvester (VFI) and Phouvong Phaophongsavath (MPI): Authors/presenters of “Experiences of Agribusiness Investments in Lao PDR”. See and Their presentation – part of a discussion about whether agribusiness investment can enhance local welfare – underscored the benefits of multi-sector collaboration between and among governments, private sector and civil society organisations.
  • Natalie Bugalski (IDI):  Master Class session (supported by Marita Cisneros (MRLG)) on: “Follow the Money – Accountability Hub” – a MRLG-sponsored Innovation Fund (IF) project. See and Follow the Money is based on a project that has received MRLG funding through our IF Grant Facility over the past 18 months. Natalie ran a hands-on session with participants guided in the process of tracing investment flows to land development projects, identifying investor pressure points and developing an advocacy plan with the aim of providing support to communities impacted by harmful investment projects.

The full conference schedule can be viewed at:

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Message from Tony Burns, Managing Director
30th September 2016

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

Earlier in the year we announced that we had secured the contract to implement participatory mapping and planning sub-activity project no. 2 (PMaP2) in Indonesia. Since then, we have been fortunate to have secured the third project in the series (PMaP3), which commenced in May. Both projects are funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation through the Millennium Challenge Account-Indonesia (MCA-I) and are part of the wider Green Prosperity program. Like PMaP2, PMaP3 will run for 12 months. It will focus on similar activities to PMaP2, but in the provinces of Sulawesi Selatan, Sulawesi Tenggara, Sulawesi Barat and Nusa Tenggara Timur. This edition will provide an update on the two Indonesian projects.

The workshop on “Responding to Climate Change and Tenure Insecurity in Small Island Developing States – The Role of Land Professionals” (held in Christchurch, New Zealand from 30 April – 1 May in connection with the FIG Working Week 2016) was a great success and an opportunity to explore the issues small island nations will face over the coming decades. Kate Fairlie also participated in the workshop. We will cover the workshop briefly and provide some information on a future publication to be released.

Recently, LEI was engaged by the Prime Minister’s Office in Palestine to prepare a comprehensive Road Map for the Palestinian Land Sector. I have been working with a couple of National consultants in Palestine on this short project.

Kate Fairlie and I are currently involved in a project with the World Bank in Ethiopia which commenced in May this year and kicked off with a Diagnostic Mission in June.  The team has been preparing an Issues and Policy Recommendations report ahead of the second input and a two-day stakeholder workshop planned in the World Bank office in Addis Ababa for 29-30 September.

Kate Rickersey, Team Leader on the Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) project, has provided an update on the highly successful Mekong Regional Land Forum that was held in Hanoi, Viet Nam in June.

Finally, John Meadows provides an update on his involvement in the IGN France International-implemented Design, Supply, Installation and Implementation of National Land Information System Infrastructure (DeSINLISI) project in Uganda.

We wish you all a prosperous end of year.

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PMaP2 GIS Training

Capacity building and team development in Indonesia
30th September 2016

PMaP2 commenced its formal training program with a four-week intensive geographic information system (GIS) training course held in Bogor. Thirty local government staff attended (including nine women) from the nine project districts. Participants came from district Bappeda and other local government agencies. For most of them, this training was an introduction to GIS, but the program also catered for advanced users.

The live-in course provided participants with the opportunity to learn how GIS can support spatial planning in the target districts. It has also enabled them to meet new colleagues with whom they can share information and ideas in the future. 

On completion of the training, participants return to their districts and, together with the PMaP2 GIS Technician, support on-the-job training for other government staff and non-government organisations.

The broad aim of PMaP2 is to strengthen the capacity of the government to develop better spatial plans and to raise awareness in the community of the importance of spatial planning. To support these outcomes, the PMaP2 team is conducting a series of spatial planning workshops for local government staff, in addition to “socialisation” workshops for the wider community so members of the public understand the value of being involved in the spatial planning process and how they can contribute.  These workshops are being conducted in all nine project districts. Using a participatory approach, discrepancies and gaps in spatial plans are identified and discussed, as are plans to rectify these areas. 

Information is shared among agencies and the public. Issues (such as monitoring and enforcement of spatial plans) are discussed and the public engaged to help achieve project goals. The workshops have received high praise from all participants so far and will continue until the end of October 2016.

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PMaP2 project meeting and team building in Puncak

Building an effective team is key for project implementation success
30th September 2016

On PMaP2 we are fortunate to have a great team in place, but it is not something we take for granted. Hence, in July 2016, we brought the entire team together (32 people) for a project coordination and team building gathering in Puncak for two days. This meeting marked the half-way point of the project. Some team members had not yet met each other (other than through emails) and it was great to witness the bonding that developed.  Activities not only enhanced team communications, but also provided an opportunity to provide a project update on what had been achieved so far, and outline the plan for the next six months so everyone understood what is expected and what will be delivered.

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PMaP3 Kick off meeting

Third PMaP project launched in Indonesia
30th September 2016

In May 2016, LEI finalised contract negotiations for PMaP3 – funded by MCA-I. As is the case with PMaP2, this project is part of the Participatory Land Use Planning Activity (PLUP) under the Green Prosperity Project (see PLUP implementation focuses on investments in administrative boundary setting, updating and integrating land-use inventories and enhancing spatial plans and capacity building at the district and provincial levels.

PMaP3 covers three, of a potential four, implementation tasks in eleven districts across four provinces in Indonesia; namely, South Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, West Sulawesi and Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT). The three tasks are:
1. Acquisition of geo-spatial data and preparation of GIS databases of land-use/land cover
2. Compilation and geo-referencing of existing and pending licenses and permits for land and natural resource use
3. Enhance district spatial plans through capacity building in spatial planning, enforcement and management of land use information in spatially-enabled databases.

The LEI-managed PMaP3 team was mobilised in late May, and commenced with a kick-off meeting in Sulawesi. The key personnel team and supporting office staff visited all eleven districts. Data acquisition, the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) plan, stakeholder engagement plan, spatial planning capacity building/training plan, user needs assessments, information management system (IMS) design and regulatory legal reviews have been delivered or are currently being worked on.

Project activities to date have included:
1. Inception Report preparation
2. Work plan reviews and preparation
3. Meetings with national stakeholders (e.g. BPN, BIG)
4. 13 PMaP3 kick-off meetings held in Masamba, Luwu Utara for all four PMaP3 Provinces, and Larantuka for all three Flores districts, followed by district kick-off meetings in each of the 11 districts expanded to relevant government agencies
5. User Needs Assessments competed for all three Flores districts and eight in Sulawesi, and
6. (As mentioned above) preparation of key deliverables such as the M&E Plan, Stakeholder Engagement Plan, and Spatial Planning Capacity Building/Training Plan.

Stakeholder participation is fundamental for ensuring successful PMaP3 implementation. Prior to engagement, and to understand the issues and needs at the community level, initial discussions have been held with several key persons during the kick-off meetings. The main issues identified in these discussions have mostly related to the key tasks required in PMaP3 and how the districts will contribute to and participate in the project. In the short term, initial engagement with development planning agencies in each district will be carried out in four provinces. These engagement sessions will provide an overview of the project and how each task ties in with the regional development plan, and in particular, for the districts agreeing on spatial and land use planning. 

The project will provide assistance to district spatial planners for 12 months until May 2017.

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Climate change and tenure insecurity in small island developing states
30th September 2016

This year’s International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) Working Week in Christchurch, New Zealand, focused on “Recovery from Disaster”. Having experienced significant earthquakes in recent years, the city was well placed to host this event and showcase how the local population has innovated and adapted in the face of so much destruction.

One of the extension units, known as the small island developing states (SIDS) workshop (30 April – 1 May) provided an opportunity to discuss the role of land professionals in the context of climate change and tenure insecurity in SIDS. These states face numerous hurdles as they work towards improved social and economic development outcomes. Climate change adds to the pressure that these populations, economies and environments are already under.

Key topics included (see
• context and vulnerabilities for SIDS
• challenges faced by SIDS in the land sector
• climate change, vulnerability and the risk of natural disasters
• urbanisation, and
• land governance challenges.

The outcomes of this workshop (in the form of a report) will be available shortly, along with a FIG Christchurch Declaration as the main outcome of the workshop (to be published on the FIG website).

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LEI leads the urban cadastre review in Ethiopia
30th September 2016

Ethiopia is one of the most rapidly urbanising countries in the world and is in a unique position to capitalise on the economic opportunities of this transformation. The World Bank, having recently undertaken the Ethiopia Urbanisation Review (see, is supporting the government to undertake necessary steps to review and scale up the existing urban cadastre pilots, underpinning Ethiopia’s Second Growth and Transformation Plan. LEI is leading this urban cadastre review.

This eight-month project commenced in May 2016 and our project team travelled to Ethiopia in June to undertake the first “diagnostic” mission. The team met with key representatives from the Federal Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, and as well as Addis Ababa, travelled to the cities of Hawassa, Adama, and Mekele to meet with representatives from regional and city governments to determine how these centres were undertaking land adjudication and registration in practice.

The project team has developed an Issues and Policy Recommendations report to be discussed during the second mission (from 26 September), and will also develop a Project Design Document to assist the government in expanding the cadastral pilots.

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Developing a road map for the Palestinian Land Sector
30th September 2016

Our Managing Director, Tony Burns, spent two weeks in Palestine during July/August together with two local consultants, Hiba Husseini and Mohammad Awwad, to assist the Prime Minister’s Office to prepare a comprehensive road map for the Palestinian Land Sector. The Road Map will outline legal and institutional reforms necessary to improve tenure security and stimulate economic growth, and will be a key enabler of the National Policy Agenda 2017-2022.

This work follows and builds on past projects in Palestine, including the Land Administration Project, under which the 2008 National Land Policy Framework was prepared.

The 2008 report on the legal and institutional framework for land administration, undertaken by Hiba Husseini and LEI can be found at:,%20Palestinian%20National%20Authority,%

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Regional Land Forum

300 participants successfully debate land governance at the first Mekong Regional Land Forum
30th September 2016

From 21-23 June 2016, Hanoi, Viet Nam hosted the first international land governance event in the Mekong Region: the Regional Land Forum. This highly participatory and regionally representative forum enabled debates and discussions to occur about customary land rights and large scale land concessions in the context of ASEAN Economic Integration. This unique opportunity allowed a real sense of engagement to develop and grow during the event between multi-stakeholder groups of participants. This was largely a result of quality presentations being held and the audience being receptive and responsive throughout the forum.

The Regional Land Forum provided an opportunity to share ideas and concerns. Participants from neighbouring countries and various sectors were able to come together and discuss their experiences. Sector involvement included: government (15%), academia (28%), private sector (7%), civil society (domestic and international) (28%), land experts and development partners from the region (19%), and farming representatives (3%).

Over 300 participants participated in the event. Registered participants were from Cambodia (55), Laos (58), Myanmar (42), Viet Nam (111), other ASEAN countries (18) (including China and Thailand), and from outside the region (10) (including Australia, Italy, England, America, France and the Netherlands).

The following three keynote speakers opened the proceedings: Professor Philip Hirsch (University of Sydney), Louisa Jansen (Land Tenure Unit, UNFAO) and Duncan Pruett of Oxfam. They were followed over the course of the three days by parallel discussant presentations (a total of 39 presentations), five opportunities for training or discussion workshops, including a student learning exchange, one plenary panel session with six guest speakers from different organisations in Laos, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Thailand and Indonesia, a closed government exchange session and an open network event with an additional nine presentations by participants.

A full technical schedule coupled with plenty of networking space made for a recipe of forum success and happy participants – far exceeding MRLG program expectations. Participants are demanding that we hold the workshop again next year!


As a jointly supported project by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), together with the support of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the MRLG project was pleased to receive cooperation from the Economic Committee of the Communist Party and the Institute for Policy and Strategy of Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD), and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

For more information, please see

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Technical assistance winding down in Uganda
30th September 2016

LEI continues to provide technical assistance to the DeSINLISI project in Uganda. This World Bank-funded project is currently being implemented by IGN FI of France. Our sub-contracting arrangement includes the provision of technical assistance in the areas of land administration and valuation.

On his last trip to Kampala, LEI Director – John Meadows – provided assistance to the IGN design team in the form of documenting land registration transactions and workflows. This involved working collaboratively with Registrars and Senior Lands Officers from the Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development. The transactional descriptions and workflows will be used by the project to assist the design of the new information system.

Working alongside John, Mark McLoughlan (with assistance from staff of the Office of the Chief Government Valuer) documented workflows associated with valuation processes and prepared user requirements for the new information system.

As this newsletter goes to press, John and Mark are back in Uganda completing their final inputs under the current sub-contract.

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