News

Property Rights & Land Titling Project, Lao PDR.
1st June 2008

As our Phase 2 draws to a close, plans for various extensions are on the drawing board. Since ourlast newsletter, LEI has submitted a plan to AusAID for a small restructure of the technical assistance team. This will see all our national adviser positions extended up to the official end of AusAID’s Phase 2, in November 2008. It will also permit some additional international cadastral inputs, to help the TA team to finalise its capacity-building program.

LEI has also prepared a proposal for a short extension of technical assistance to June 2009, to correspond with the official end of the World Bank Phase 2. This will if accepted permit in additional infusion of TA resources to help NLMA and the Department of Lands continue the expansion of land titling into the final three provinces and to plan for the expanded use of computer applications in systematic adjudication teams and land offices.


This month the team welcomed back David McDowell after a three-month stint in the Philippines LAMP project. We also look forward to the return of George Collett this month, to strengthen the project’s M&E capacity. Kate Dalrymple is currently helping our community education team expand its program and educational materials. Daniel Carter will also rejoin us next month, to complete the conversion of all of our systematic adjudication teams to Total Station and GPS. Daniel will also help us take the next steps in effectively using digital survey data.
In this edition we include an item on a recent team-building activity, helping David McDowell with his house-warming.  Provided by Steve McFadzean

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Message from the Managing Director
1st March 2008

I am writing this column as I prepare to leave for Manila and the important mid-term review of the Land Administration and Management Project II (LAMP II). The status of this project is reported extensively in this newsletter. The project has been a key part of our business for the past 3 years and three LEI employees are on long-term assignments there – Ian Lloyd, Clare Brazenor and Daniel Carter. The project has hit most of the targets set for the MTR and is well placed, but faces a number of challenges including changes in management in DENR and getting critical laws in place.

The Land Titling Project II in Laos is also at a critical stage. Our contract with AusAID ends in September this year, but in the mission late last year AusAID indicted approval of an extension to June 2009. A mission in the next month or so will be looking at this request. The land policy project in Palestine is nearly complete. The Ministry of Planning has accepted our final report – the National Land Policy Framework report – and the Legal Report is being formatted and will be submitted this week for final review. This project has been a very interesting but challenging project and I am pleased with the final report.


Kate Dalrymple and I spent the last two weeks of February in Washington working on the Governance in Land Administration study. During this period we revised the conceptual framework document and participated in two presentations of the study supporting Klaus Deininger and other World Bank staff. Alain Durand-Lasserve and three of the Country Case Study Coordinators (Victor Endo from Peru, Herman Soesangobeng from Indonesia and Asyl Undeland from the Kyrgyz Republic) also participated in workshops in Washington in late February. We have further work on the conceptual framework, adding information on land use planning and land development as well as threading in the economic and governance literature. As well as developing the methodology and questionnaires. We then plan to test the questionnaires in Peru in May or June.

The other significant development is in Macedonia. Late last year we registered a branch company in Macedonia to undertake local survey/GIS work and to bid on consulting work in the region. The LEI Board has recently approved a proposal prepared by Suleiman Dabbas to acquire the business of GEOMAP a local survey company. The principal of GEOMAP, Aleksandar Pecalevski and the existing GEOMAP staff Tiho Zlatanovski, Natasha Tripcheva, Ratka Jakimovska, Riste Gjosev, Aleksandra Manchevsha and Irena Dimitrovska are all joining LEI as part of the arrangement. I welcome all these new staff to LEI.

Over the next month we will be starting to update the LEI business plan. This year it is proposed that this plan be prepared by a small team in Wollongong in April. The revised business plan will be used to prepare the LEI budget for next year. Both the business plan and the budget will be presented to the LEI Board and LEI staff and Senior Associates in July. These presentations are likely to be in Canberra, timed to coincide with the land administration workshop that we are planning. For more details on this workshop please see page 9 of this newsletter.
Tony Burns

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Property Rights & Land Titling Project, Lao PDR
1st March 2008

The Project is now in its fifth year of Phase 2 and there are encouraging signs that the host organisation, the National Land Management Authority, is committed to continuing the project into the next decade. Initially they will seek an extension of Phase 2 and then a third phase! This is good news for our technical assistance team, as we are in the last eight months of our inputs. Although the Bank-funded project continues until 30 June 2009, LEI’s contract with AusAID finishes in November 2008.

The Lao Project Director, in recent meetings with AusAID, re-iterated the project advantages and conveyed the intention of the Lao government to extend the benefits of a secure title to all parts of Laos. And as this report is being drafted, NLMA has officially requested the Australian Ambassador for an extension of TA until the end of 2011.


At this stage of the project, besides the Team Leader, the only international consultant that we have on the ground is Kate. She is working in a different environment with the CES activities originally under the DoL having recently been transferred to the Land Natural Resources Information Research Centre. Senior managers of NLMA recently participated in a study tour to Australia. Our Australian Project Director Chris Lunnay and our Project Administrator Ciara Crowley were the local facilitators and ensured that the team made use of the opportunity to learn about the workings of the Queensland and NSW land registries as well as learning more about Australia! The team brought back many valuable lessons.

Some managers will also travel to Cambodia in March, for an exchange between the two projects. Our advisers continue to support the major expansion of the project. The government is committed to extending land titling to all parts of the country as rapidly as possible, and as a result, we are now working in five new provinces. Training of adjudication teams has also started in the remaining three provinces.

Advisers have a fairly extensive program of travel to the 17 provinces over the remaining eight months, to ensure that regional activities are appropriately implemented and that adjudication and land office operations are sustainable. It is almost time to think in terms of regional TA bases, similar to LAMP in the Philippines! Although it seems the last supervision mission has just ended, we are now gearing up for the next mission, scheduled for June 2008. Although administratively demanding, the missions are valuable milestones in the life of the project as they focus on resolving key technical and management roadblocks. More in the next newsletter. Provided by Steve McFadzean

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Samoa web06

Samoa Land Administration and Survey Project Update
1st March 2008

LEI recently signed a contract extension for the World Bank funded Land Administration and Survey Project in Samoa, part of the WB's broader Second Infrastructure Asset Management Project (SIAMII). The primary contract was completed in 2006, however supplementary credit has been provided to enable completion of the vertical component of the geodetic network as well as additional assistance in land registration system and land information systems integration.

The international team includes Neil Pullar and Dennis Brady who return to Samoa to continue their work and Mike Poidevin who continues the work previously undertaken by Andrew Dyson under the primary contract. The team are joined by national survey expert Keilani Soloi to continue the work in implementing the land sector component of SIAM II. Provided by Jacqui Besgrove

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Philippines Leyte web 01

The Leyte One Stop Shop
1st March 2008

Philippines-Australia Land Administration and Management Project –Phase II. A Model in Land Transaction Services and Records Management.  On the 11 March 2008, AusAID representatives were accompanied by the Team Leader Ian Lloyd to the LAMP II project site in Leyte province.  This visit provided the donors with a lasting impression on the commendable achievements of the project in the management and operations of the One-Stop Shop as well as in the field titling operations involving community mobilization, systematic adjudication and land surveys. After a tentative start in 2005 the OSS Management Plan was done defining the OSS vision and mission statements along with its goals, objectives, and strategies.

The management plan was formulated through a series of consultative planning workshops that were participated by the officers and planners of land administration agencies in Leyte province and the Eastern Visayas region. It provided the framework for the implementation of the OSS.


The OSS Vision and Mission provided the guiding star for the OSS proponents and implementers to aim high with persistence and determination to achieve in spite of the birth pains and organizational constraints in resources and unifying leadership commonly experienced in multi-agency institution-building programs. Today, after six years of operations, the fledgling OSS Front Desk originally attached to the Leyte Prototype Implementation Office under LAMP I evolved into an OSS functional organization manned by 26 personnel consisting of an OSS Manager, a Management Support and Front Desk Unit, and a Technical Support Unit that is mainly responsible for the establishment and maintenance of an automated land records management and information system.

The Leyte Registry of Deeds, the CENRO Land Management Services Palo office, and the Land surveys verification and approval staff of the DENR Regional Office Surveys unit continue operating their regular agency functions at the OSS while the Department of Agrarian R form and the Bureau of Internal Revenue posted a staff member to provide information to clients on agrarian reform and taxation queries. The front desk counter is the common entry point for walk-in and calling clients requesting land transaction and information services from the OSS operating agencies. The volume of land transactions served through the OSS front desk continue to register an increasing trend starting from 172 transactions in July-Sept 2002 to 1,504 transactions in Oct-Dec 2007. The increase in annual volume from a small number of 371 transactions in year 2002 reached a staggering volume of 15,995 transactions in year 2007 (See Bar Chart, Volume of OSS Transactions). In terms of government revenues generated from transaction fees and charges, Registry of Deeds collections from 2002 to 2007 increased by 281%; while CENRO collections from 2003 to 2007 increased by 308%. The minimum service standards developed and agreed in consultation with the employees manning the processing units improved the efficiency in overall service delivery. In 2007, Registry of Deeds land registration/ certification and CENRO certification transactions served within the 3-hour minimum time duration increased by 15%. Transactions completed within 3 days reduced by 9% from an average of 25% to 16% in the same period.

Likewise, transactions that occur in more than 3 days also reduced by 9%, from an average of 15% to 8%. On records management, a continuing inventory and retrieval of land records from different agency sources gradually organized and set up a land records filing and storage system. The collection facilitated manual verification and research of land records and information inquiries, which include lot data computation records, cadastral maps, public land applications, list of claimants, and land titles and documents. An intensive and continuing data capture program of land records gradually increased the volume of encoded records towards the establishment of an automated and integrated land records database. At resent, Registry of Deeds office personnel are busy in an electronic titles data capture program to fast track encoding of an estimated number of 180,000 titles. On mapping operations, the continuing preparation of Consolidated Cadastral Maps (CCM) is at pace to support the map requirements of field activities in community mobilization, surveys and systematic adjudication. CCMs had been completed in 17 municipalities or 40% of the province. Meanwhile, process reengineering mechanisms are undertaken to improve the establishment of a Digital Cadastral DataBase (DCDB) and thereby systematize map management and operations. Ultimately, the DCDB will serve as the basis for the development of a land information system that can generate a variety of land information spatial services and products that could be shared among government agencies, local government units and other stakeholders.


The development and establishment of the computerized OSS Land Administration and Management System (LAMS) for land records management and information services is in progress. The design of Phase 2 is nearing completion, which is intended to replicate LAMS to remote offices and synchronize the databases among offices. Phase 3 is on the design and development stage, intended to monitor and trace the flow of transactions, automate transaction processing where possible, and generate management reports, while maintaining the Register up-to-date and ensuring consistency with the approved surveys. The OSS is at the forefront and at the end of the LAMP mass titling program. The CCMs produced from the mapping operations provide the basic textual and spatial lot information necessary to commence field activities. At the other end is the registration and distribution of the titles to the claimant-beneficiaries by the Registry of Deeds. Last year 2007, a total number of 7,644 patents have all been registered, comprising95% of the 8,000 target patents for distribution to claimants.


Now, two years into the 5-year LAMP II project implementation a review and strategic planning exercise by the GOP together with the adviser team has identified a strengthened OSS. This will include improvements in land records management, information sharing and land transaction services not only to support mass titling but also to support the land market in high value urban areas. In addition, current OSS land transaction services have expanded beyond strengthening of land registration systems to a broader range of transaction services and comprehensive IT systems covering registration, survey and valuation to better meet the needs of local government, business as well as the public. It is expected the OSS will transform into a lands field office of the future Land Administration Authority when the proposed Land Administration Reform Act (LARA Bill) will be passed in Congress.  Provided by Pelagio Pastor

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Governance In Land Administration
1st December 2007

The Governance in Land Administration Project is in full swing. After an initial presentation of the fundamental concept during the World Bank Land Thematic Group Mini-Retreat, Tony spent a very busy week meeting with Bank staff discussing their ideas and experiences on land administration projects. Not being a typical LEI project, these face to face encounters provided a crucial stage in developing an understanding of the project needs and significantly expanding our coverage of land administration issues in a global context.

Upon return Kate and Tony have been busily preparing a large Conceptual Framework Report with the assistance of our close colleagues and associates. With seriously short deadlines and a huge research study ahead of us we have been calling on the assistance of some of our close colleagues and associates. Once the draft report is completed by the 7th January, more activities begin to roll out, including: an e-discussion, additional World Bank presentations to the advisory committee, a regional workshop, 5 country case studies (Burkina Faso, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Peru and Tanzania) and wrapping up with a final synthesis report. Expected to be complete by November 2008, it will be a very busy but exciting next few months for all involved.


Check out the GLTN forum website for our topic posting http://www.gltn.net/en/forum/listcat.html. The e-Discussion isto be held from January 14th –25th. We look forward to reading your contributions! Provided by Kate Dalrymple

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Message from the Managing Director
1st December 2007

The end of another year is quickly approaching. It has been a busy year for LEI, a year where we have made significant progress in the implementation of the growth strategies that we had developed last year. During the year we have registered a new company in the US – Land Equity Americas Inc and a branch company in Macedonia – Land Equity International (Europe). David Hosking is heading up our efforts in the US and Suleiman Dabbas is setting up our office in Macedonia and both were in Wollongong last week to participate in our semi-annual meetings and to make presentations to the board.

The US effort is focussed on opportunities in the Americas and on projects funded by USAID and MCC. We are making progress in the US and almost had consultants mobilised to our first USAID funded project in December. We will be mobilising consultants to the USAID funded project in East Timor under a sub-contract with ARD early in the New Year and we have some other immediate opportunities to follow-up.


The strategy in Macedonia is to establish a local survey company in Skopje and to use this as a base for bidding on consulting work in the time zone. Suleiman made a very interesting report to the board and it is likely that we will be looking at an acquisition to get the business moving quickly in a way that Suleiman has the time available to follow up the many consulting opportunities in the region. Our existing business is also progressing well, although not without its challenges. LAMP II is preparing for a Mid-Term Review in March 2008 and this review will determine the shape of the project going forward and our future involvement. The project is meeting some key targets but faces many difficulties.


However I am confident that Ian Lloyd and his team are making every effort to ensure the success of the project. The project in Laos is also reaching a key stage. In the past year there has been significant institutional reform. Although there are some risks associated with this reform we are hopeful that our contract will be extended to help support the reform and ensure that past project initiatives continue to be sustainable. Again I am confident that Steve McFadzean and the team in Laos are making every effort to ensure project success. In Wollongong a major project that we are working on is the Governance in Land Administration study for the World Bank. Kate Dalrymple and I are working on this study with input by a number of key associates,including the University of Melbourne and Washington University in St Louis. We are busy preparing a detailed conceptual framework for this study for an eConference that will be run on the Global Land Tools Network in the later half of January.


We have increased staff in the past year to support our business strategies. Giulietta Cappellin returned from maternity leave and we had four new starters during the year - Daniel Carter, Ciara Crowley,Rebecca Palmer and Craig Thomson. Daniel has spent his time on the projects in Laos and the Philippines. Ciara Crowley joined the company as a Project Coordinator. Rebecca Palmer joined the company as an Administration Officer when Giulietta Cappellin returned part-time from maternity leave and Kim Martin left the company to take up a fulltime position at the University of Wollongong. Craig Thomson joined the company as General Manager in October and has quickly settled in. Craig will spend a lot more time in the office and less time travelling than Chris or myself and will be takingon a key management role in Wollongong. The board has agreed on a set of responsibilities for Craig and myself and I am sure that this will strengthen our head office operations. Craig has a strong management and industry background and I am sure he will be a strong contributor to our growth going forward.


Finally, I would like to thank all our staff and associates for their contributions during the year and wish them and their families a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Message From The Managing Director
1st September 2007

The last few months have been busy for LEI and myself personally.I returned from a 6 week overseas trip on 9 September. I spent the first 2 weeks of this trip in the US, meeting with David Hosking, having discussions with potential partners in the US and catching up with key contacts in World Bank. Land Equity Americas Inc (LEA), or our new company in the US, is now gaining some traction. We have identified key partners and have in the past month prepared proposals for three US-funded projects, 2 for USAID funded projects as an associate to major US contractors and one for MCC in association with a major US company. I am working with David Hosking to update our business plan and to move LEA to the next level. There will be more news on this in our next newsletter.

After leaving the US, I spent a week in Sweden. Sida has recently published a paper on Land Tenure (available on http://www.sida.se/sida/jsp/sida.jsp?d=118&a=32805&language=en_US&searchWords=SIDA37805en) so my visit was timely. In Sweden I had meetings with key people in Sida and met with several potential partners.


I then spent about 10 days in Ramallah working with Rae Porter and our local associates and counterparts in preparing a draft National Land Policy Framework document and participating in two workshops with key stakeholders. This assignment went well and I was particularly pleased at the ownership now being taken by our counterparts in the Ministry of Planning.


The work in Palestine is on track for completion late in 2007. On the way back to Australia I spent about 10 days in Delhi working with Klaus Deininger and Ed Cook on a strategy for land projects in India.


The strategy for Macedonia is also progressing well. Suleiman Dabbas has agreed to join us and help establish a branch office in Skopje and then to run this office. Suleiman is busy preparing a bid for the World Bank project in Skopje that is due early next month. I am sure that everyone welcomes Suleiman to LEI.


Giulietta Cappellin returned from maternity leave in August qand is now working 2 days a week in Wollongong. Another recent starter in the office in Wollongong is Rebecca Palmer, who started earlier this month as the full-time Administration Officer. Giulietta Cappellin and Anne Lunnay have made sure that Rebecca settled in smoothly and again I am sure that everyone will welcome Rebecca to LEI.

I would like to thank Anne for helping hold things together. Rae Porter is acting as Team Leader in the Philippines so that Ian Lloyd can take a welldeserved break. I have had a few recent messages from Rae and I know that she now has a new appreciation of what is involved in running the project in the Philippines. David McDowell is also standing in as Team Leader in Laos so that Steve can also take a well deserved break. I would like to thank both Rae and David for taking on the increased role as acting Team Leaders.

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Philippines-Australia Land Administration and Management Project –Phase II
1st December 2007

The LAMP Phase 2 Project finished the year on a high note with the reaching of the year two target for issuance of land titles, and the continued increase in formal land transactions processed through the Leyte Province One Stop Shop (OSS).  In addition, the mass data capture of all land titles in the province Register of Deeds (1/4 million titles) is underway and complements the parallel data capture of all approved survey plans which was commenced earlier.

 It is planned that both data capture programs will be done by June 2008, allowing a further improvement in OSS services to the public and business as well as the identification of any inconsistent records between the two agencies.
The Department of Finance manages the property valuation component. The objective of creating a valuation base at true market levels was achieved at Naga City and is well advanced in Iloilo City which is the fourth largest city in the country. These are two of a planned four example sites for demonstrating the application of international standards in valuation. LEI provided advisers to assist in designing the methodologies, creating a database system for holding and disseminating sales information and training of assessor’s staff. Since existing schedules are well below market levels, LEI also provided technical assistance on ways to phase in the valuation increases for the purpose of annual property taxation. To ensure sustainability of technology transfer to assessor offices, the Secretary of Finance created a new Valuation Office at central level within the Bureau of Local Government Finance and LAMP has started a change management program.


Staff in all locations celebrated a successful year, ahead of the holiday season and are looking forward to the New Year and the upcoming project mid term review. The review will allow an opportunity to refine the project design to ensure that the best use is made of the resources towards attaining the project objectives. In 2008 it is envisaged that two more provinces will commence mass titling and creation of OSS’s, and the Bohol Province OSS will be made operational. In addition, two more valuation sites will receive technology transfer and commence compiling a valuation base at market levels. And further, the 10 Local Government Units under the Innovation Support Funds will receive training and technology to implement their own projects in land administration and management. Of great interest will be the processing by the Congress on the four Bills which would lead to major reform in the sector.
– Provided by Ian Lloyd

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Lao Land Title Office web 01

Property Rights & Land Titling Project, Lao PDR.
1st December 2007

In previous newsletters we have reported on the major expansion program the TA team is supporting here. It is only ten months before the end of TA inputs for Phase 2 and yet the project is increasing in size - we have just added five provinces, taking us to 14 provinces where systematic adjudication is supported. And of course the Department of Lands must also build capacity within five additional provincial land offices to support the flow of subsequent registrations that are expected ter the public education program. But that is not all … we are currently in the middle of the World Bank, AusAID and GTZ assessment of the project, where we expect the go-ahead to be given to the expansion into the remaining three provinces, commencing in a few months!

The project is about to celebrate the first anniversary of its transfer to NLMA. OK, so maybe celebrate is the wrong word,as it has been quite a transition to the new institutional arrangements, with winners and losers. The higher status within government that flows from now being part of the Prime Minister’s Office also brings increased exposure, accountability and expectations. The current plans could see the project expand beyond its traditional urban and peri-urban and surrounding agricultural land into more remote rural villages, with the expectation also that communal land titles will soon start to be issued.


The last few months have seen other massive changes, as policy developed under the previous administration has been substantially rewritten. Advisers on the project were comfortable with the 10-year old practice of recording mortgages, leases and other under-rights on the reverse side of the land title, but these are now to be recorded chronologically in a registration book. If you think that sounds like a partial relapse into a general registry of deeds, you may be right. One of the interesting features of life in Laos is the telephone hotline to the National Assembly, where members of the public can report grievances and generally complain about day-to-day life. In today’s newspaper, we have complaints about the wrong use of official power, the implementation of the law being ineffective because some officials feel they can violate the laws with impunity, court judgments being influenced by bribery, university students wearing inappropriate clothing, poor roads, compulsory motorcycle helmets and the risk tokids of video games. An interesting list of complaints in a controlled newspaper! Another interesting feature of life in Laos is the impact of the growth of geographic neighbours and the pressure this is placing on land. The demands for food, mining and agricultural products in China, Thailand and Vietnam are placing unprecedented pressure on the land resource in Laos. Massive concessions are being granted to foreign investors, sometimes without due process or consultation with affected land users. In recent times, land registered under the project has been expropriated and villagers resettled, raising new safeguard issues in our project. In a 1,600-hectare concession currently under discussion, land in the heart of Vientiane may be assigned to Chinese investors for the construction of housing for prospective Chinese residents. No complaints in the hotline article in today’s newspaper!


And without doubt, land – access, tenure security, expropriation, resettlement, use, management, impact on environment -is the hot topic in Laos at the moment!


We continue the comings and goings of our international advisers. Kate Dalrymple spent 2 months with us in July-September; Daniel Carter left us in September to spend time in LAMP although he will return for a month in January 08; Liz Mann joined us for a very intensive and productive nine weeks of field research and training; our new Organizational Development Adviser spent 6 weeks assessing the new institutional arrangements; our veteran adviser David McDowell will leave us in February 08 to join LAMP for 3 months. So what is next for the Lao project? We are coming to the business end of Phase 2, where the impact and achievements of our inputs will be assessed and decisions must be made about extensions and new phases. The current donor evaluation in December 2007 will give us some guidance and we anticipate a small extension of TA subject to many conditions –including an intensive period of inputs before the next mission in June 2008!! Provided by Steve McFadzean

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