LEI Newsletter_Spring 2016 Newsletter
1st September 2016

To view the Spring 2016 edition of our newsletter, please click here.

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Message from Tony Burns, Managing Director
16th March 2016

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

The last quarter of 2015 has been a very busy and exciting time for LEI in terms of contract wins in Indonesia and Tanzania.

LEI was awarded a contract for the second project in a series of participatory planning and mapping (PMaP) projects in Indonesia through the Millennium Challenge Account-Indonesia (MCA-I) Green Prosperity program. PMaP2 commenced in January and will run for 12 months – covering activities in the provinces of Jambi, Nusa Tenggara Barat and Nusa Tenggara Timur.

The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania secured funding from DFID, SIDA and DANIDA to finance the implementation of the Land Tenure Support Programme (LTSP). We were successful in our bid for a three-year consultancy in Tanzania and will provide technical assistance to support this implementation.

Recently, we were also informed by our STARR IQC consortium colleagues that DAI was successful in their bid for another project in Tanzania – this time funded through USAID. LEI will be supporting this project, known as the Feed the Future Land Tenure Assistance activity.

Kate Rickersey, Team Leader on the Mekong Region Land Governance project, has provided us with an update on the latest stakeholder and consultation workshop activities.

In late November, LEI hosted a delegation from the Ugandan Ministry which came to New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory for a week to visit public and private sector organisations. The aim of the Study Tour (part of a larger project in Uganda focusing on the design, supply, installation and implementation of a national land information system) was to provide officials with an appreciation of a well-functioning land administration system. A series of short training workshops on professional subjects were held, and participants were expected to prepare reports for presentation during post-tour workshops for cadastral experts and the land information system working group back in Uganda.

We are currently undertaking inputs in Uganda as part of the above project.

As the saying goes … “all good things must come to an end”. In early November 2015, LEI Project Director, John Meadows, wrapped up the DFAT-funded Vanuatu Land Program at a traditional Kava ceremony before returning to Australia. He provides us with an update of the final stages of this project and his personal experiences there.

Likewise, our ASEAN project, which focused on enhancing the mobility of ASEAN professionals in the area of surveying, has also come to an end. Kate Fairlie provides us with a wrap up of that project.

I am sure we will see some of you at the 2016 World Bank conference. We are running some sessions on the Costing and Financing of Land Administration (CoFLAS) tool that we developed for GLTN, so come along and say “hello”. We also look forward to exploring current initiatives in the land sector and catching up with old friends and colleagues.

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A Green Prosperity win in Indonesia
16th March 2016

In December 2015, LEI finalised contract negotiations to the value of USD4.2m for the second project in a series of sub-activities under the MCA-I Participatory Land Use Planning Activity (PLUP). The PLUP is one of four activities making up the Green Prosperity Project (see The PLUP activity focuses on investments in administrative boundary setting, updating and integrating land use inventories and enhancing spatial plans at the district and provincial levels.

The second participatory mapping and planning project (PMaP2) covers three (of a potential four) implementation tasks in nine districts across three provinces in Indonesia. The three tasks are:

  • Task 2: Acquisition of geo-spatial data and preparation of GIS databases of land use/land cover.
  • Task 3: Compilation and geo-referencing of existing and pending licenses and permits for land and natural resource use.
  • Task 4: Enhance district spatial plans through capacity building in spatial planning, enforcement and management of land use information in spatially-enabled databases.

Key areas of focus for this project are: Kerinci and Tanjung Jabung Timur Districts in Jambi Province; Lombok Utara, Lombok Tengah and Lombok Timur Districts in Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB) Province; and Sumba Timur, Sumba Tengah, Sumba Barat and Sumba Barat Daya Districts in Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) Province.

The LEI-managed PMaP2 team was mobilised in early January, and commenced with a kick-off meeting in Sumba. All nine districts have been visited by the core team. Data acquisition, information management system design and regulatory reviews are underway.

This project will run for 12 months.

Indonesia photo

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Supporting LTSP implementation in Tanzania
16th March 2016

LEI has been working in Tanzania since 2005 under various contracts to the World Bank to support land reform activities under the Private Sector Competitiveness Project (PSCP) and, more recently, to support the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania (GoT) to prepare the Strategic Plan for Implementation of Land Laws (SPILL, 2013). Our experiences in Tanzania have exposed us to development pressures on land – particularly in rural areas – resulting from rapid population growth, growing demand for agricultural commodities, and increasing government and private sector demand for access to land for large scale agricultural investment. Most recently, LEI has established a team of advisers to support the major Land Tenure Support Programme (LTSP).

Secure land tenure and transparent, efficient land administration and governance are at the heart of the GoT’s vision to become a middle income country by 2025 (as set out in Tanzania’s Development Vision 2025). The strategic Road Map to be developed under the LTSP will become the foundation for significant, country-wide scale up and roll out of activities to support the government achieve its targets. The LTSP needs to achieve concrete results quickly, efficiently and sustainably by building on the past and revised versions of SPILL.

The GoT has set ambitious targets of several million certificates of customary rights of occupancy (CCROs). To achieve this ambitious goal, the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development (MLHHSD) needs to pilot a low cost system that can quickly scale up across the country, while safeguarding the needs and interests of all land occupants, especially women and vulnerable groups, and navigating the complex institutional and political economy landscape to achieve broad-based support and clarity over the legal framework. LTSP is starting with two pilot regions, Kilombero and Ulanga, with a view to developing and testing a methodology that can be applied nationwide.

The proposed LTSP pilots will test and evaluate the impact of a lower cost, simplified approach for rapid issuance of CCROs – drawing on information from, and building the capacity of, district and village staff. Our work to date on the PSCP and the World Bank/DFID-funded project, Developing Low-cost Ways to Issue Certificates of Right of Ownership in Tanzania, will provide a sound basis for future partnerships to implement land tenure regularisation in rural areas.

For more information on this project, please see and

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Feed the Future (FTF) Land Tenure Assistance (LTA) activity has commenced
16th March 2016

From the first quarter of 2016, LEI will provide technical support to DAI on this project. The project is part of the FTF initiative which sits under a five-year umbrella contract referred to as: Strengthening Tenure and Resource Rights (STARR).

The STARR program is designed to address resource tenure issues in support of key US Government strategic objectives, which include:

  • enhanced food security
  • climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • conflict prevention and mitigation
  • economic growth
  • biodiversity protection and natural resource management
  • women's empowerment and gender equality, and
  • reduction in the spread of infectious diseases (specifically HIV/AIDS).

USAID has invested in several agricultural projects in the Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT). It aims to develop targeted land tenure programming to support existing and planned investments by USAID in SAGCOT. The FTF LTA will clarify and document land ownership, support land use planning efforts, and increase local understanding of land use and land rights. It is anticipated that interventions will reduce land tenure-related risks and lay the foundation for sustainable agricultural investment for small holders and commercial investors throughout SAGCOT and in the value chains to be targeted in the FTF program.

For more information, please see,

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MRLG for web

MRLG facilitates a regional stakeholder consultation workshop for addressing land challenges in the Mekong
16th March 2016

The Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) project recently held its second round of stakeholder and consultation workshops with regional partners from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam.

The three priority objectives were to:

  1. share information about on-going MRLG initiatives from the various activity and funding streams, receive feedback from partners
  2. provide a working space for technical and planning discussions on regional Learning and Alliance-building activities – addressing the thematic priorities of the project on: recognition of customary tenure; evidence-based research for land scale land acquisition policy and regulation; and private engagement for responsible investment in agro-forestry, and
  3. provide a coordination opportunity between national and regional activities for ongoing implementation.

Workshop participants consisted of partner organisations and individuals involved in MRLG- supported activities from the public and private sector, non-government and civil society organisations and academia. More than 80 people attended – representing over 30 organisations from six countries in Southeast Asia.

The MRLG project supports engagement opportunities between organisations, learning from experience, and sharing lessons (where appropriate) with regional partners that may be applied in the various policy contexts.  Workshop attendees are preparing for coordinated responses and priority areas for joint collaboration on issues of land governance. A particular focus for future activities is on preparing information necessary for policy making and improving practices that will ensure family farmers have secure access and control over land, and natural resource tenure. The workshop and MRLG’s ongoing Learning and Alliance-building activities provide a platform for various stakeholders to build a common understanding of the issues, contexts and solution pathways to work on across national and regional level action plans.

Unique challenges, different enabling economic and political environments, and new opportunities were addressed by sharing experiences from the participants. In relation to principles of responsible agricultural investment, opportunities exist in Lao PDR via improved dialogue and awareness-raising. Since the progressive National Land Use policy was approved in January 2016 by the government in Myanmar, there are potential opportunities to work in an improved policy context that will allow the creation of improved pathways for the poor and ethnic communities through the recognition of customary tenure. In Cambodia, working with the Ministry of Environment has resulted in opportunities to further strengthen land tenure situations for local farmers, identify opportunities for equitable reallocation of cancelled economic land concessions – particularly for land to be returned to original owners. In Vietnam, project activities are playing a role to assist local communities to negotiate for State Forest-allocated areas to be returned fairly.

The 22-24 February 2016 workshops were held at the Mercure Hotel and co-funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), supported also by GIZ. It is foreseeable that future contributions towards the Grant Facility will come from the Luxembourg Government Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MFEA).

For more information on the MRLG project, please see and

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2015 11 27 17.55.11 3 for web

Ugandan delegation learns about land information systems and the role of technology in NSW/ACT
16th March 2016

From late November through to early December 2015, LEI hosted a Study Tour by a delegation from the Ugandan Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development.

The delegation was headed by the Hon. Minister Daudi Migereko and Permanent Secretary Musoke Gabindadde who were accompanied by Nadege Orlova of IGN International of France – the company responsible for the World Bank-funded Design Supply and Implementation of a Land Information System project.

The project is designed to contribute to the establishment of an efficient land administration system in Uganda and facilitate enhanced delivery of basic land services and improved tenure security.

The Study Tour focused on providing the delegation with an overview of the various aspects of land administration in New South Wales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) – with an emphasis on the role of technology.

While in Sydney, the delegation visited the Land and Property Information office where they were provided with an overview of the land registration system in operation in NSW, as well as given a chance to visit the customer services area and learn about future plans for the agency. The second day of the Study Tour included visits to Liverpool City Council and the Planning and Environment Department of the New South Wales Government.

From Sydney, the delegation headed to the Australian capital – Canberra – where they visited the offices of the Public Sector Mapping Agencies (PSMA) and learned how PSMA was formed in order to coordinate the collection of fundamental national geo-spatial data sets and to facilitate access to this data. From the PSMA, the delegation made their way to the offices of the Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute of Australia where they were provided with an in-depth presentation on land administration in the ACT led by the Surveyor General and colleagues.

While in Canberra, and at the behest of His Excellency Mr Enoch Nkuruho Ugandan High Commissioner to Australia, the delegates were able to visit the Ugandan High Commission where the Study Tour was drawn to a successful conclusion.

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2015 10 21 16.41.34 for web

Vanuatu Land Program closes with Kava after 5 years
16th March 2016

Towards the end of 2015, LEI completed the five-year DFAT-funded Vanuatu Land Program. The Program was a long-term commitment by the Government of Vanuatu (GoV) in land sector reform initiatives that aimed to support the Land Sector Framework through improved decision making, making land transactions more transparent, and improving land management procedures and practices (and in doing so, minimise the potential for conflict over land matters).

LEI facilitated and supported the following program objectives:

  • informed collective decisions by customary landholders
  • participatory land governance
  • effective and enabling services
  • a strengthened Customary Land Management Office consistent with the GoV’s land reform agenda
  • a Land Information Management system that met current/future needs and supported economic development, and
  • implementation of effective management and governance systems.

Reflecting on his last two years as Program Director (2014/2015), John Meadows said:

“Working in Vanuatu was a fantastic experience. It’s a beautiful country and the people are among the most friendly I have ever met. The time spent supporting community outreach associated with the 2014 land laws was particularly enjoyable, and I feel privileged to have been able to have spent time in some of the communities that – as a tourist – one may never get a chance to visit”

In a frank assessment of the technical aspects of the Program, John went on to say:

“There were successes in some areas, while in others it was hard going. In the Department of Lands, I’d like to think that the introduction of improved processes, documented procedures, document tracking and title information systems, and creation of valuation roles have made a difference. The customary land sector proved more challenging. Supporting the development of the Malvatumauri Roadmap was an important contribution, as were the capacity building and community outreach activities associated with the establishment of the Customary Land Management Office and the introduction of new legislation. Progress in respect of embedding monitoring and evaluation, gender mainstreaming, improved governance and securing customary land tenure proved more difficult, and there is still much work to do.

I’d like to thank all of the people who assisted the Program during my time in Vanuatu, including the LEI staff, the Program office staff, counterparts in the respective ministries and departments, the subcontractors and stakeholders who provided input, advice and support, DFAT staff at the Australian High Commission and last (but not least) my landlord and land lady Brian and Galia at the Hub (not forgetting Coco the dog!).”

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Developing a Road Map for ASEAN
16th March 2016

The final report for the Development of Implementation/Action Plans to Enhance Mobility of ASEAN Professionals on Surveying Servicesproject has been completed and is awaiting final sign-off. This project was funded by the ASEAN-Australian Development Cooperation Program Phase II and undertaken with the ASEAN Surveying Working Group.

The major outcome of this project is a Road Map with detailed activities and outcomes to better understand, document and enhance the education, professional competencies and institutions necessary to ensure a robust and strong surveying profession that will meet the needs of all ASEAN member states for surveying services into the future.

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LEI Newsletter_Autumn 2016 Newsletter
31st March 2016

To view the Autumn 2016 edition of our newsletter, please click here.

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