Sustainable development through capacity building was a core implementation approach promoted through LEI’s management of the Philippines Land Administration and Management Project, Phase 2 (LAMP2). It is no coincidence that 1 year on, since the conclusion of the project in June 2010, we are proud to announce the first 9 students graduating from the first Diploma in Land Administration and Management at the Visayas State University (VSU). This latest curriculum along with two Masters courses, developed under LAMP2, is a legacy of the capacity building efforts which started initially with the Bachelor of Science in Geodetic and Geomatic Engineering curriculum in 2004 at VSU.
The Bachelor of Science in Geodetic and Geomatic Engineering course has continued to produce high level graduates since 2008. Inspired by the positive results of the Bachelor program, VSU and the implementing project agency Department of Environment and Natural Resource, developed the graduate program in Land Administration and Management. Enrolled in the undergraduate and graduate courses are a number of government officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resource which provides important professional development for up-skilling staff. The University has also developed international linkages to ensure it remains part of international best practice and the latest in research and technology.
LEI are involved with land sector activities in Lesotho managing 2 large projects under the MCA-Lesotho Compact, Private Sector Development Land Component (Land Administration Reform Project, LARP).
The Systematic Land Regularisation and Improvement of Rural Land Allocation Processes Project (Design Phase, 2009-2011) is piloting regularization and urban planning of informal settlements in urban and peri-urban areas in Maseru. The project also assists Community Councils to improve their records and process of record collection for rural land allocations.
As part of urban regularization, local adjudication teams and surveyors have been working with occupants to define the boundaries of parcels and establish cadastral plans, adjust access roads and utility rights of way as needed, and assist legal leaseholders gain formal recognition of ownership. Li-pitso (public gatherings) are held in all project areas assisting local participation and awareness. Additional women’s meetings ensure women are fully informed and empowered. Progress is on time and budget to attain both the targets of 5,000 parcels regularised and 4 community councils (5,000 parcels) with improved land allocation records. The project will finish in June 2011.
The second major project Modernization of Land Services and Institutional Strengthening (2009-2013) is providing on-going support for the new Land Administration Authority, which was established upon the June 15th gazettal of the Land Administration Authority Act 2010. Technical assistance is providing land administration process re-engineering, business process re-engineering, capacity development, and information systems support. The Land Administration Authority will provide one-stop-shop services to clients with improved customer service care for all land related enquiries, transactions, valuations, survey and business needs
In the last six months here at LEI, we formalized our long standing relationship with Professor Brian Roberts through the acquisition of SPMS (Strategic Planning and Management Services). This strategic alliance recognizes the interrelationship between urban development and access to land and spatial data.
The SPMS partnership is already proving successful in providing innovation and value to our clients after ADB requested a presentation on the work we are doing with local government units in the Philippines linking land management and property tax revenue generation with urban investments at the recent Asian Urban Forum in Manila, November 15-17th, 2011.
Shortly after this forum, the Philippines Land Administration and Management Program Phase 2 (managed by LEI) was on display at the 2011 Global South-South Development Expo, December 5-9, UNFAO, Rome where it was commended by Abdul Kobakiwal, Chief of FAO’s Integrated Food Security Support Service, “The experience of the Philippines offers a comprehensive solution to improving land tenure regulation and land rights, which could inspire other developing countries,”. The LAMP program received a plaque of citation from His Excellency Macharia Kamau, Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations and President of the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation, and Yiping Zhou, Director of the Special Unit for South-South Cooperation of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
We started the New Year on a positive note signing a World Bank contract in Samoa to support the introduction of unit title legislation. LEI have been providing support to the Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment in Samoa for over six years and we look forward to working together again in 2012. Coming up in February, we will also facilitate training of USAID practitioners in Bangkok in best practice dealing with land tenure and property rights issues.
As another exciting year begins, we wish you all the best for 2012.
The importance of land, its role in custom and the land issues facing the people of Vanuatu were highlighted during a National Land Summit held in 2006. To work towards addressing the issues raised at the Land Summit the Government of Vanuatu requested support from the Australian and New Zealand Governments. LEI have been involved in a number of interim support initiatives through both AusAID and NZAID. Following a bidding process for implementation of the Mama Graon – Vanuatu Land Program , LEI signed a contract with AusAID in December 2010.
Mama Graon came about through a strategic Government of Vanuatu long term initiative aimed at improving decision making, making land transactions more transparent, improving land management procedures and practices, and in doing so minimising the potential for land conflict. In supporting the Government of Vanuatu initiative, AusAID and the New Zealand Government have harmonized their support for the land sector activities.
Program Director, Chris Lunnay who is now based in Port Vila, immediately notes the Program differences compared to previous large projects he’s worked on over the past 20 yrs. Notably, that a strategic plan (the Land Sector Framework) to implement land sector reforms in Vanuatu exists, and is providing a foundation to guide government, and both the private sector and civil society are active in the use and management of Vanuatu’s land resources. Secondly, the Vanuatu Land Governance Committee is established and held its first official meeting on 16 December 2010 (attended by Chris) to provide strategic program guidance. In addition, a number of Working Groups are also operational in the areas of community, education, land use planning and strata legislation.
According to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2011 it takes an average of 81 days to register a property in Malawi. This places Malawi 81 out of 183 jurisdictions for this Doing Business indicator. While this represents an improvement on the 2010 results, the Government of Malawi (GoM) recognizes that continuing modernization of land registration process will act as an incentive to business investment and growth. It will allow those in the real estate market to make decisions and carry through their land transaction intentions promptly and with confidence under the law. Under the auspices of the Business Environment Technical Assistance Programme (BESTAP) the GoM through the Ministry of Industry and Trade is using an ODA grant funds to modernize the current paper based land registration system.
LEI is undertaking a review, design and specification of a title and deeds registration system for the Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development (MLHUD). LEI’s Team leader, John Meadows has recently overseen the completion of Project Phase 1, reviewing a wide range of operations: current deeds and land registry; the existing legislative framework; and development of a specification for computerized deeds and land registry system. Phase 2 activities are well underway with LEI overseeing the digitization, scanning and data capture of over 80,000 deeds records and 70,000 land registry records. This will be followed by an assessment of training needs within MLHUD. A series of workshops and training are to be held in Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Blantyre in early 2011.
The project is scheduled to run through until March 2012 by which time it is anticipated that MLHUD will oversee a fully computerized deeds and land registry operation.
Following the closure of the AusAID funded LAMP2 technical assistance on 30 June 2010 LEI established Land Equity Technology Services (LETS), a local company in the Philippines, to continue to provide land related services. During the four and a half year LAMP2 program both the flexibility offered under the Innovation Support Fund (ISF) and the development of land related technologies saw significant improvements in good governance in our 16 local government partners.
Specifically land services relating to tax administration and revenue generation, physical planning, property valuation, land tenure security and boundary dispute resolution were improved based on a demand driven approach. Underpinning the innovations were the introduction of a unified land information system with effective and low cost GIS technology and the establishment of working partnerships between local and national government such as for sharing the load of the data capture and for the easy exchange of spatial data.
It was the voicing by local government units (LGU) of their needs for technology transfer which encouraged the LEI Board to create the new Company. It is satisfying that already two LGUs have signed contracts with LETS and will tap their own resources to fund the work. LETS is expected to secure further work from other LGUs in the next six months.
LETS is fully staffed by Filipinos. All staff was formerly staff of LEI’s technical assistance team in LAMP2 and brings their experience, knowledge and track record to the new venture. A number of key alliances forged in LAMP2 are continuing for the provision of specialist services. A Director of the LEI Board was assigned to support the establishment and operation of the new company as needed.
For further enquiries please visit the LETS web site http://www.landequity.com.ph/ or their offices located in the Philippines Social Science Building at Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. The General Manager is Ms Lulu Reyes (firstname.lastname@example.org).
It has been a busy first half of the year and there have been some strategic changes in the nature of the business.
On June 30 our contract with AusAID on LAMP II ended. LEI has always had a major AusAID land project on its books, but this has changed with the completion of the LAMP II contract. We still have some small AusAID contracts in the Pacific, but our major on-going contracts are now with other clients – two contracts with the MCA in Lesotho on a Millennium Challenge Corporation funded project and the Government in Malawi on a World Bank-funded project. The diversity will be a challenge for us, but in the longer term we will benefit from a broader base of projects and clients.
We have been involved in land administration and management (LAM) reform in the Philippines since 1998. Although we have finished the AusAID LAMP II contract, LEI continues to have an activity in the Philippines. One of the most successful activities on LAMP II was the Innovation Support Fund. This AusAID grant facility sought to encourage local government units (LGUs) to adopt innovations in land administration and reform. This program was successful to the extent that LGUs have to date provided nearly twice the counter-part funding provided by the national government under LAMP II. LEI has decided that it has developed a unique set of skills in supporting LGU-led LAM reform in the Philippines and has set up a local company to offer services to LGUs. We will provide more news about this activity in future newsletters.
We recently signed a contract with the Government of Malawi to review, design and specify a title and deeds registration system. This contract started late in June and will be completed over a period of about 20 months. John Meadows is the Team Leader on this project.
The work on the two contracts in Lesotho continues. With the recent passing of the Land Law, the regularisation activity is preparing to start the field work in the urban areas of Maseru after an extended period of preparatory activity, including discussions and agreement on key aspects with stakeholders, the design and documentation of work procedures and the recruitment and training of staff. Larry Hunt is the Team Leader of this contract. Larry is taking a month’s leave shortly and Ian Lloyd will be standing in to support the initial field activity. The institution building contract is also at an important stage with the Land Administration Authority Law being passed. The early gazettal of this legislation will require that a number of planned activities be brought forward. Richard Shepherd is the Team Leader for this activity.
Chris Lunnay is finishing the design of a land program in PNG. This design is being prepared for the PNG government. I undertook a review of the DFID-funded Investment Climate Programme in Nigeria. I am also involved in three ongoing World Bank assignments, a review of low-cost technology options in Africa, and support for World Bank initiatives in both Ethiopia and India. We also have some on-going work for the World Bank in supporting the investigation of the governance arrangements for large scale agricultural investments in a number of countries. So there is a lot of activity in the land sector.
There are a number of staff changes. Kylie Anthony left at the end of June for maternity leave. Kylie is expecting her first child soon and will be taking 6 months leave. I am sure all staff wish her and Mick all the best for their upcoming addition to the family future. Kate Dalrymple will be taking over Kylie’s responsibilities when she returns from Lesotho next week. John Meadows has joined LEI on an extended contract. John has been working for many years with the Land Registry in the UK and has extensive experience in a number of countries. As noted above, John will start his job in LEI as the Team Leader in Malawi but the plans at this stage are that he will spend a reasonable amount of time in Wollongong. Rebecca Palmer has been appointed as Project Coordinator in support of project implementation and business development. Robyn Fanning has also been appointed to a permanent position to support company administration and finance systems.
On 24th June LEI’s Team Leader arrived in Malawi to commence a review of the land registry, processes and procedures and institutional arrangements. Under this 21 month contract LEI will be working with the government to automate and streamline the register and scan 1.3 million pages of land records. As part of this process we will be reviewing Malawi’s land laws and the registry’s work practices as well as working with the Ministry of Land Housing and Urban Development to develop and implement an automated land information system.
After 9 years and two phases of the Philippines-Australia Land Administration and Management Project LEI have sadly closed the project office on 30 June 2010. Much has been achieved on this project with some of the most notable accomplishments including:
• The signing of the Residential Free Patent Law (Republic Act 10023) in March 2010 and the issuance of the associated Implementing Rules and Regulations in May 2010. These significant legislative and administrative reforms will enable the titling of residential properties.
• The development of a draft Land Sector Development Framework (LSDF) using an extensive consultation process to provide the strategic directions and programming for the long-term land administration and management reforms.
• The establishment of a Centre for Land Administration and Management in the Philippines (CLAMP) within the Land Management Bureau (LMB). CLAMP will
a) conduct in-house continuing professional development, and disseminate research and publication outcomes beyond the project;
(b) assist in mainstreaming new technologies and practices developed by the project; and
(c) support the development and dissemination of new knowledge and technologies generated by project activities in the future.
• The approval of the Real Estate Services Act (RESA) by the Senate in June 2009 and the preparation of twenty four valuation standards (VS) and procedural manuals to introduce uniform standards for valuing and taxing properties for the first time across the Philippines.
• The establishment of land administration and valuation courses at Visayas State University (VSU), the University of the Philippines School of Urban and Regional Planning (UP-SURP) and University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) to provide the Government of the Philippines with a cadre of well trained professionals to continue to implement and improve land administration reforms in the Philippines.
• The training of over 500 staff in cadastral surveying, land adjudication, and land related services.
• The creation of three One-Stop-Shops (OSS) that bring under one roof all agencies involved in the issuance of title and subsequent land transactions, integrating land administration and management agencies and contributing to better service delivery. The OSS in Leyte now allows people to get true copies of a certificate of title in just three hours (previously it would take 2 weeks). There is a customer desk that handles requests lessening the burden and cost of customers in transacting through various agencies at different locations. The increasing transactions from 2002 up to 2007, translated to increased revenues of 281% and 308% for Registry of Deeds (RoD) and Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), respectively.
• The production of standardized procedures of simplified survey and mapping and accelerated land titling for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources resulted in the production of credible surveys, prevention of fake titles and opportunities for people to get their land titles at a lesser cost and waiting time than the previous process.
• The introduction of gender mainstreaming techniques to ensure greater equity, inheritance and human rights to security of tenure. The social benefits of title have included resolution of land disputes, elimination of anxiety from forcible eviction, unhampered transfer of property to heirs and a secure base for home. The evidence from the project has revealed that secure tenure has instilled confidence in owners to make improvements to their land and property and lead to a sense of greater community responsibility to improve local environmental and living conditions.
On the 14th and 15th April LEI were involved in organising the first Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Workshop during the Sydney FIG Congress 2010. More than 40 island state representatives from the Pacific, Caribbean and Africa joined fellow international land practitioners to discuss the latest developments and challenges facing land administration and management.
The two day seminar brought together small-island developing state (SIDS) representatives through funding support from AusAID, the Food and Agricultural Organization (UNFAO), NZAID and the Commonwealth Foundation. In keeping with the FIG Congress theme ‘Facing the Challenges–Building the Capacity’, the workshop was premised on articulating the input of land professionals in the Pacific and Caribbean and how mechanisms and capacity requirements can be met to ensure effective contribution towards achieving the MDGs. The seminar was structured around four key themes: professional capacity in land administration; response and risk management of climate change and natural disasters; impediments to access of land and resources; and considerations of good land governance and administration.
It was recognised that there is a serious lack in depth and breadth of capacity among the represented island states to effectively adapt to and address the prevailing social, environmental and economic issues facing small island nations. From the recent natural disaster experiences of Samoa and Solomon Islands, a strong message was evident on the contribution towards risk assessment and resilience that can be made by land professionals and practitioners. However it is important to recognise that such contributions need to be communicated at the political and decision making level for the most effective impact and support. Various efforts are being undertaken to address continuing customary land tenure security issues and land conflict resolution mechanisms. Papua New Guinea’s current national land development agenda is progressing rapidly on customary land development mechanisms through their Incorporated Land Groups provoked much discussion.
As a result of the presentations and ensuing discussions at each session, a comprehensive Agenda for Action was drafted. The Agenda for Action outlines capacity building approaches and mechanisms that are required to address the challenges. These involve education and on-the-job exchange opportunities and training to improve professional capacity, utilising advanced technology to transfer knowledge and experiences more effectively between the isolated states, as well as encouraging professional standards and ethical practices that will seek to improve land governance. Effectiveness and sustainability requires building strong relationships and regional networks among land professionals, practitioners, politicians, academics and institutions, professional bodies, global organisations and development agencies to facilitate the agenda on social, economic and capacity development among small island development states.
To further the action agenda of the SIDS workshop it requires individual countries to act responsibly in the region by developing national action plans, while ensuring the Pacific Island Land Professionals Association (PILPA) take ownership and provide the momentum forwards. LEI look forward to taking part and seeing further development thrust along the lines discussed and providing support and guidance to initiatives where possible. When the Agenda for Action for Building Capacity in Small Island Development States is published through FIG, LEI will make this available via their website homepage or can be requested by contacting email@example.com.