News

Project wins in Lesotho
1st December 2009

It has been an exciting 6 months for LEI with our strategy to target new projects in Africa starting to come to fruition. We have had two recent project wins in Lesotho being awarded an MCA contract for a Systematic Land Regularisation and Land Allocation Project in July 2009 and being formally notifi ed of our success in bidding for a second project, Modernisation of Land Services and Institutional Strengthening, in August 2009.

 The major activities LEI will be supporting under the two projects are:
• Piloting land regularisation for 5000 parcels
• Developing improvements to land allocation procedures
• Improving record keeping
• Assisting the Government of Lesotho to create a single Land Administration Authority


Our team have started work under the fi rst contract and have just completed the Inception Report and area selection criteria for a pilot land
regularisation activity.

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Message from the Managing Director
1st December 2009

It has been too long since our last Newsletter and I apologise for this delay. It has been a very busy year and we have not given the newsletter the necessary priority, but we hope that we are back on a quarterly schedule for the Newsletter.  I am writing this newsletter in Dar es Salaam at the start of a 5 week trip. Africa is a major focus for LEI. We now have two good sized contracts from MCA in Lesotho. I also have on-going commitments in Tanzania and Ethiopia. We are bidding for work in Nigeria, Uganda and Namibia. This is my fourth trip to Africa this year, an indication of the increasing importance of the region in our business. In mid 2009 we prepared an LEI Strategy for Africa that identifi ed a list of countries and prospective projects. This draft strategy has been adopted and is being implemented.

Last month I participated in a UN-HABITAT-organised expert meeting in Nairobi to review draft guidelines for addressing land issues in a post-confl ict situation. This workshop is a reflection of the increasing importance of land issues in post-confl ict situations. The 2005 UN-sponsored Humanitarian Response Review identifi ed land as a critical gap in international response capacity. UN-HABITAT at the request of the Early Recovery Cluster has prepared draft guidelines to provide simple and clear guidance for addressing land issues in a post-conflict environment. Part of the challenge in doing this was the considerable gap that exists between humanitarian and development actors when it comes to land issues. I have copies of draft papers if anyone is interested.


The Second Land Titling Project in Lao PDR fi nished at the end of June 2009. It was a little sad to fi nish our involvement on the project after an involvement that goes back to 1994. I am confi dent that despite the diffi culties in the last year or so, and signifi cant differences in priorities between the development partners, the work that we have completed in Laos will lay the ground work for the continued social and economic development of the country. LAMP II in the Philippines is now in the last year of operation with our contract with AusAID set to end on 30 June 2010. This project too has had its challenges in recent years, largely due to poor leadership and oversight of project activities in DENR. Despite these diffi culties Ian and the team continue to make progress, particularly in the finance and tax area.


In August I had the pleasure of standing in for Chris Lunnay as the Quality Manager on the USAID-funded Strengthening of Land Rights Project in Timor Leste. This is an interesting project where we are providing key short-term technical advice to an ambitious project to
provide a legal and institutional framework to record claims over land in Timor Leste. The Chief of Party on the project is Nigel Thomson, who has worked in the past on LEI projects in Laos and the Philippines. There is an interesting difference in the approach adopted by USAID in engaging with the institutions and building capacity and this is generating challenges in implementing sustainable systems.


The reason that I had to stand in for Chris was because he was busy supporting AusAID in the design of the land program in the Pacific. Chris has been busy working on the designs for the PNG land project and the Pacifi c Regional Land Program. We are preparing for the AusAID tenders that are due in the coming months on these projects and in particular the land project in Vanuatu.

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Demand Driven Reforms in the Philippines
1st December 2009

LEI have been managing the Land Administration and Management Project (LAMP) for AusAID in the Philippines since 2001. The project has focused on institutional reform, policy development, improving tenure security through land registration, and introducing valuation reform.

In line with our commitment to aid effectiveness LEI has trialled a number of new initiatives under LAMP to enhance local ownership, promote demand driven assistance, and reward progressive agencies. One of the most successful initiatives has been the introduction of an Australian government funded AUD$2.6 million Innovation Support Fund (ISF). Local governments can apply for grant funding under the Innovation Support Fund to improve their land administration and management services. The funding is demand driven and based on competitive selection. It rewards progressive local governments by providing them with the fi nancial and technical assistance they need to progress reforms. There are currently 10 local governments being supported under the Innovation Support Fund under LAMP.


LEI have been responsible for designing the function of the Innovation Support Fund, developing the processes, procedures and forms, selecting successful applicants, and managing funding allocations. This has required signifi cant promotion among local governments on the purpose of the Innovation Support Fund, the types of projects that may be supported, the documentation required, and providing assistance with preparing applications. We are also providing technical assistance to help local governments establish new systems (mostly in GID and valuation) and train staff in technical and managerial areas. Our approach is designed to enhance sustainability, weuse Filipino staff trained by LEI under the one-stop-shop in Leyte as much as possible as trainers and mentors for new local government staff.
The whole Innovation Support Fund is built on partnerships. These include partnerships between; LEI, AusAID and governments from central to local levels. Local governments applying for grants must partner with central agencies, such as Department of Natural Resources and the Registry of Deeds, before their application for funding will be considered. LEI assign a Program Offi cer to every local government selected for funding. The Program Offi cer acts as a bridge between the local government, technical advisers, LEI and partner agencies, to support and mentor local government officers.
An independent review of the ISF was conducted in February 2009, some key fi ndings included:
• The demand driven nature of Innovation Support Fund grants has created substantial local ownership.
• Ownership is established via the requirement of the applicant LGU to co-fi nance the project. In all cases the LGU has contributed at   least 20% of the funding, and in some cases they have matched the grant dollar for dollar.
• Local governments are the best advocates of the program and have started forming their own support networks contributing to the sustainability of reforms.
• Cluster Centres have formed diffusing information between project supported local governments and neighbouring local governments and leading to indirect benefi ts in local governments which have not directly received grant funding.
• Local government skills have improved not only in technical areas (GIS, IT, surveying, valuation) but also in non-technical areas such as strategic planning, project design, fi nancial management, monitoring and evaluation.
The Review Team report also stated that:
“The Review Team considers that it is likely that the benefi ts of most ISF initiatives will be sustained. This is partly the result of the strong ownership of projects by the LGUs but also the value of the ensuing benefi ts to future LGU administrations.”
LAMP Team Leader Mr Ian Lloyd, has worked with other donor agencies looking to incorporate the ISF initiative within their own programs to ensure that lesson learned and best practice is transferred across programs.

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Lao web04 2

Land Titling Project Comes to an End in Lao PDR
1st December 2009

As LEI’s successful and committed team of national and international staff close project operations of Phase 2 on the Lao Land Titling Project we reflect on the impact of over 15 years of donor assistance.

When the first mission of design experts gathered in Vientiane in 1994 they had an enormous task ahead of them, creating land market mechanisms that will strengthen the economic platform in an emerging market economy. This strategy was met with signifi cant constraints, including, minimal basic land administration systems in operation, addressing the limited capacity and resources within the Lao PDR government, and appreciating the benefi ciary capacity to engage in land registration. In light of this, the project has managed to achieve the following key outputs (Table 1) simultaneously with signifi cant efforts reforming policies and laws.

 

Prior to Project 1995

End Project 2009

↑ Government revenue from land transactions

  • 1996: 749 million (kip)
  • 2009: 16,640 million (kip)
  • 22 fold increase
 

↑ Government capacity

  • 19 DOL staff
  • More than 900 staff trained in adjudication, valuation, registration, surveying and mapping, community education services 
 

Institution strengthened

  • Limited to no capacity or  resources at Provincial level
  • Constructed 9 Provincial Land Offices
  • Fully trained office staff in 14 Provinces and 20 systematic adjudication teams (20 people per team).
 

↑ Tenure security

  • Land titles out of date or issued with limited rights (Certificates)
  • 550,000 land titles issued
 

↑ Education opportunities

  • No land administration courses
  • Higher Diploma for Land Administration and Surveying; Diploma in Valuation
 

 

While key partners and political will supporting the project has fl uctuated over the years it is clearly evident that the project objectives to
improve tenure security, institutional capacity and increased revenue have been met. Technical advice provided through the AusAID funded component, managed by LEI, provided approximately 650 months of technical advisor inputs, with a 40/60 split between international and national advisors. Strategic partnerships throughout the project were key elements of effective implementation, particularly partnerships with the National Geographic Department for geodetic control, the Polytechnic College for diploma level education and the Lao Women’s Union providing community and gender specifi c education and services.


In leaving the current implementing agency, the National Land Management Agency, the project leaves in place a well-functioning system for issuing land titles and dealing with subsequent transactions, a computerised registration and valuation system, a fully trained and resourced cadastral surveying unit with accompanying decentralized teams, standard operating manuals and service standards, and a national monitoring and evaluation system. As land titling initiatives under NLMA take on new challenges expanding to rural and upland areas it will be critical that the social and environmental safeguards which were well developed during project implementation remain high on the agenda.

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Yemen
1st December 2009

Following on from LEI’s successful implementation of the West Bank Gaza National Land Policy Framework project, LEI were awarded another World Bank funded contract focusing on land policy - ‘Consulting Services for Strengthening Land Management’ in Yemen.  LEI have mobilised a team of experts to support the Government of Yemen using a highly consultative process to develop a shared land policy vision that provides overall direction for the administration, management and development of land.

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Palestine Land Policy Papers Online
1st December 2009

The Ministry of Planning, Palestine, have recently made available eight key land policy reports from the National Land Policy Framework project completed by LEI in 2008. These papers focus on the situation and recommendations for land registration, land markets, valuation, public land management, education, legislation, institutional arrangements and land disputes. A testament to the consultative approach and openness in developing this framework, the Ministry of Planning has made the policy papers publicly available on the following website: http://www.mop-gov.ps (under the heading Projects).LCIS with links to the textual database for GIS analysis.

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LEI Supports Young Professionals in Laos
1st December 2009

Hello, my name is Mark Williams. For those that don’t know me I am the latest in a long line of Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD) volunteering on the Lao Land Titling Project II.  I am a GIS/IT Officer and within my 8 months here in Laos, have been working on a variety of projects with a range of organisations. These include the analysis of Land Use change over 10 years within Vientiane for a GTZ funded research project, conduct training on quality checking the digital cadastre as well as training the trainers at the Polytechnic College in GIS so they will be able to teach it as part of a module within their new Land Administration Degree.

 We conduct 2 lessons a week for one and a half hours each time with this being split between theory and practical. The lessons have been conducted in English with our National Education and VIS Advisor, Mr Soukasem, translating into Lao. We are teaching approx 8 staff in GIS (including the Vice Director of the College, Mr Bounthanom) with 2 people taking the teaching duties of the module at the completion. Once the training has fi nished Mr Soukasem and I - in collaboration with the Polytechnic College - will collate, translate and produce a syllabus for the GIS module of the Degree. The GIS module will run for approximately 20 weeks with the focus being on Land Administration.
The training of the trainers has been a very rewarding and challenging experience. Having never taught before as well as my first introduction to development work it was/is a little daunting, however as I like to say – if you don’t look up you never see how far you have to climb! It is a fantastic opportunity, something that I have enjoyed immensely and I look forward to seeing the results further down the track.

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