News

Message from Tony Burns, Managing Director
29th January 2015

I would like to wish all LEI associates a Happy New Year. As indicated in the Newsletter, the LEI projects in Vanuatu and Mekong are doing some interesting work. Kate Fairlie is working on piloting the CoFLAS tool that we developed for GLTN in Tanzania and Lesotho. In addition we have short term assignments in Pakistan, Romania and Tanzania and a number of opportunities that we are following up. I am about to head off for a 7 week trip and we have some exciting changes to the office arrangements in Wollongong.

In October last year Kylie Anthony informed me that she wanted a change in career that would enable her to spend more time with her young family. Kylie left LEI late in December and I wish her and her family all the best for the future in their new life on the Central Coast. Kylie indicated the desire to maintain a link to LEI and an interest in short-term assignments and I know that I and a number of staff have already been talking to her. Kylie has been a key staff member for LEI and has been with us almost since LEI was set up. Kylie’s new direction leaves us with a big gap in the organisation but we have a strategy in place. Nicole Nicholson will take over some of Kylie’s responsibilities, particularly in support of the ongoing projects. We advertised for a new senior business development staff member in December and after interviews earlier this month we have made an offer to Fiona Harmsworth that has been accepted. Fiona will start with LEI in early March and we will introduce Fiona when she starts work. I am sure that Fiona will settle in well and that she will enjoy support from our wider network of associates.

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Vanuatu Land Program Update
29th January 2015

The collection of land rent represents an important source of revenue for the Government of Vanuatu (GoV). The Vanuatu Land program is assisting the GoV with this task through the creation of valuation rolls for properties in the country’s two urban centres, Port Vila and Luganville.

A small team of field officers was recently contracted in Luganville, tasked with collecting information on every property in the Luganville municipality. The work commenced in late 2014, and it is expected that the valuation roll and zone map for Luganville municipality will be completed by mid-2015. The Port Vila valuation roll and valuation zone map were created at the end of 2013.

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CoFLAS presented at the 2014 Inaugural Conference on Land Policy in Africa
29th January 2015

Following its validation at an Expert Group Meeting in Bangkok in October, the Global Land Tool Network Costing and Financing of Land Administration Services (CoFLAS) Tool for Developing Countries was presented at the 2014 Inaugural Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA). Held from 11th – 14th November in Addis Ababa, the CLPA provided an opportunity to promote CoFLAS more widely and to commence discussions on the two proposed CoFLAS pilots in Lesotho and Tanzania.

CoFLAS is a tool developed to assist policy makers and practitioners to identify and adopt appropriate tools and methodologies promoting efficient, cost-effective and inclusive land services. It was developed by LEI for GLTN in collaboration with the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), Lantmateriet (the Swedish Mapping, Cadastre and Land Registration Authority), Kadaster International (the Netherlands) and other key partners and stakeholders.

After the CLPA, LEI staff member Kate Fairlie visited Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to establish key relationships for the first pilot. Preliminary results from the pilot will guide the development of an Implementation Manual for CoFLAS to be published by GLTN. A paper on CoFLAS, including these learnings, will be presented at the World Bank Annual Conference on Land & Poverty in Washington D.C., USA, March 2015. 

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Pathways for collaboration on land governance in the Mekong
29th January 2015

The Mekong Region Land Governance Project, funded by SDC and implemented by LEI and Gret, is in full swing heading into the last quarter of the Inception Phase (Year 1). During the past 9 months our team across the four countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam) has been working strategically to bring reform actors from civil society, private sector, government and academia into discussions on developing effective pathways for collaboration on land governance. We are currently reviewing learning and advocacy initiatives that have been developed by multi-stakeholder focus groups in support of the promotion of improve tenure security for small holder farmer, fisheries and forestry. The topics where the demand for support has been most readily requested across the 4 countries include: land dispute mechanisms, private sector engagement, customary and communal rights and recognition, and evidence based research for policy dialogue.

For the first year of implementation, we are identifying initiatives for the project to add value in capacity building, providing opportunities for cross border exchange, and building a knowledge base that is essential to supporting the emergence of more favorable enabling environment in land governance. Our workshop series during the inception phase will conclude with our Regional Stakeholder Workshop on 4-6th March in Bangkok. This will be the final contribution towards activity designs to be rolled out during 2015. We expect also to launch the first call for Innovation Fund proposals and share preliminary results from a Political Economy and Research Mapping study land governance in the Mekong Region.  We are also supporting field activities in Xiengkhouang (Laos) through one of the project funding windows – Quick Disbursement Fund. This activity supports civil society and government partners to develop and pilot a replicable training module and materials in tenure related laws and policies to support family farmers to protect their land rights and negotiate more favorable outcomes in natural resource development activities.

For further enquiries, please contact Kate Rickersey, Team Leader for MLRG Project. krickersey@landequity.com.au 

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Meet us at the World Bank Land and Poverty Conference 2015, Washington DC
29th January 2015

Tony Burns, Kate Fairlie and Brian Garcia (Mekong Region Land Governance project) will all be at this year’s World Bank Land and Poverty Conference from 23rd – 27th March.

We will be presenting the following papers:

-       Costing and Financing of Land Administration Services – The Pilot Phase

-       Promoting Youth Responsive Land Policies – An Action Oriented Research and Intervention

-       Mekong Region Land Governance Project: Innovative Solutions?

We look forward to seeing you there!  

http://www.worldbank.org/en/events/2014/08/06/landconference2015

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chris

Change of Pace - Chris Lunnay
17th February 2014

After 12 years with LEI, one of the founders of the company, Chris Lunnay, is retiring from full time employment with LEI.

Throughout Chris’ career in both the Australian Public Service (South Australian Survey Department) and then in the private sector for international projects, he has maintained excellent relationships with staff and advisers through his level-headed and meticulously hard-working approach and commitment to his tasks. Over the years at LEI, he has provided invaluable contributions to the company in various roles as a Team Leader, technical advisor, business development manager and mentor. As Team Leader, he played an integral role in the success of long term efforts on land administration projects in Indonesia, Lao PDR, Lesotho and most recently Vanuatu. His steady hand, clear communication style, and approachable manner will be missed by all who worked closely with him. We wish him all the best in enjoying some well-deserved rest, relaxation and holiday travels.

Chris will be available as an LEI Senior Associate for short term consulting work specialising in land registration, systematic adjudication and regularisation, land surveying and land policy from February 2014.

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Laos

Mekong Region Land Governance
17th February 2014

In the ‘International Year of Family Farming’, LEI with our partner GRET, look forward to commencing the SDC Mekong Region Land Governance Project.

It is opportune timing that in 2014 in the ‘International Year of Family Farming’, LEI with our partner GRET, will be commencing in March, a regional program designed and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC): the Mekong Region Land Governance Project. As momentum grows globally on the topic of land tenure and food security for family farmers, there is recognition that land governance in Asia, and the Mekong in particular, requires priority attention. The lands and livelihoods of family farmers in the Mekong are under increasing threat from foreign direct investment, resource scarcity, population growth and weak land governance.

In line with the Voluntary Guidelines on the responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests, the SDC project aims to promote stable, transparent, equitable, accountable and efficient land governance policies and practice in  Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, by empowering various reform actors who carry the voice of family farmers at national and regional level. The project will also create a regional platform to support research, capacity building, knowledge sharing, piloting of innovations, and advocacy for protecting the tenure rights of small holder women and men farmers.

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Tanzania

SPILL Tanzania
17th February 2014

A team of consultants from LEI recently guided the revision of the Strategic Plan for the Implementation of Land Laws (SPILL) (2013), a roadmap for the development of the Land Sector in mainland Tanzania.

After extensive research, review and consultation, a revised Strategic Plan for the Implementation of Land Laws (SPILL) (2013) as a roadmap for the development of the Land Sector in mainland Tanzania has been developed under the guidance of a team of consultants from LEI. Working closely with the Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Human Settlements Development (MLHHSD), the 2005 strategic plan was reviewed and updated in the light of the commitment of national and land sector leadership to improving land service delivery and transparency.

SPILL has identified priority areas and activities for implementation. It was developed with wide consultation to be a comprehensive vision and action plan, as well as providing prioritisation and sequencing of activities under known constraints and resource challenges. It considers various costings and financing arrangements for sustainable implementation. This extensive piece of work and road map was prepared in consultation with major stakeholders who are instrumental to the successful implementation of SPILL, including MLHHSD, the Regional Administration and Local Government in the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, as well as other government, private sector and civil society participants.

The Government is using SPILL as the platform for the design and implementation of a medium (5-year) to a long (10-year) term sectorial programme to enable the completion of the ongoing initiatives, to scale up recent pilot projects and take advantage of the newly established geodetic network and the coming Integrated Land Information Management System. The successful implementation of SPILL will ensure that land is best used to support the current and future social, economic and environmental development of the country.

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VanuatuDaily Post Article

Vanuatu Progress
17th February 2014

A recent re-focusing of activities means the project can now better support land administration initiatives identified by the Minister of Lands as being critical to the development of Vanuatu.

Tangible progress has been made over the last 12 months on the Vanuatu Land Program, largely as a result of the support provided by the new Minister for Lands. A recent re-focusing of activities means the project can now better support land administration initiatives identified by the Minister of Lands as being critical to the development of Vanuatu. The Program will focus on supporting land administration activities which will also support future infrastructure development around Port Vila and Luganville as well as other economic development initiatives across the country through the provision of improved land administration practice and procedures in the areas of land registration, surveying and valuation.

By way of practical examples: with the Program support, the Department of Lands have removed a backlog of unregistered instruments (in excess of 6,000) and almost completed the updating of the Lease Registers. This has required the reprinting of in excess of 10,500 Lease Registers and the manual checking of all existing Lease Registers that are on file. This significant achievement will improve the transparency of the lease process and significantly reduce the time required to register a new lease.

A Document Tracking System (DTS) has been developed for the Land Registry Office and Document Tracking Systems are also being developed for survey, valuation and planning. The Document Tracking System has helped facilitate a streamlining of registry processes and enables staff and users of the land registry to track the progress of an application, increasing the transparency of the process.
This week new survey equipment arrived to help the government carry out efficient and accurate surveys. As well as procuring the equipment the Program is also providing government survey staff with a week’s intensive training in use of the new equipment. In conjunction with this initiative current cadastral surveying and plan presentation procedures are also being improved. These activities will be particularly valuable in facilitating the significant infrastructure projects planned around Port Vila.

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LAA opening News web

LEI successfully completes the MCC funded Lesotho Land Administration Modernization Project
8th February 2013

The Modernisation of Land Services and Institutional Strengthening Project, a component of the 2007 Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Government of Lesotho ‘Compact,’ was executed by LEI over a 40 month period - October 2009 and February 2013. LEI thank all our counterparts who contributed to making this project a success and wish the staff of the LAA all the best for a successful future.

The primary objective of the project was to address deficiencies in the delivery of land administration services in Lesotho by supporting the creation of a new Land Administration Authority (LAA) - merging the Deeds Registry and the surveying functions of the Department of Land, Survey and Physical Planning to form a new, modern, cost-effective and efficiently managed organisation.
The project formed a major component of the Land Administration Reform Programme carried out under the Private Sector Development (PSD) component of the Compact with the policy objective of enhancing the investment climate in order to increase private sector investment. Having an institution capable of delivering secure land rights in an efficient and equitable manner underpins this objective.
The project focused on institutional strengthening, capacity building and making improvements to the legal framework. As a result of LEI’s efforts the LAA has been successfully established as a fully operational, autonomous Government agency reporting to the Minister of Local Government Chieftainship and Parliamentary Affairs.
While it is still early days in terms of determining the direct impact, there are tangible indications that the organisation is helping to develop Lesotho’s emerging land market. The number of leases being issued as a result of  ‘sporadic registration’ (i.e. not including leases issued as a result of the systematic regularisation component of the LARP) has increased more than two fold since project inception. Subsequently, the number of secondary transactions handled by the LAA, has increased from 176 to 329 over the same period indicating a growing confidence in the formal land market. Realising the potential of formalised tenure, there has also been a two fold increase in the number of mortgages registered by the LAA, 153 in 2009 increasing to 308 in 2012. This indicates improved confidence on the part of lenders to secure loans against registered leases (titles) and an increased understanding amongst citizens of the importance and use of land as an economic asset.

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