News

Message from the Managing Director
1st July 2010

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.

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Malawi Huts web

LEI starts Project in Malawi
1st July 2010

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.




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LAMP II comes to an end
1st July 2010

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.

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FIG Sydney 2010 web

FIG Congress 2010
1st July 2010

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 home@landequity.com.au.

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Measuring Aid Effectiveness across our Projects
1st July 2010

As a result of the Accra Agenda and the global commitment to improving aid effectiveness LEI have prepared a Framework for Aid Effectiveness which we are actively applying across our projects. The framework focuses our approach around the three primary principles; (1) strengthening country ownership, (2) building effective and inclusive partnerships and (3) delivering and accounting for development results. LEI have defined a strategic framework to extract lessons and report on aid effectiveness across all projects and activities implemented by LEI.

The reporting framework requires input on a project or sector initiative basis regarding the initiatives undertaken, the processes used with application examples and the outcomes achieved that show impacts both positive and negative as a reflection of the Accra Agenda for Action principles. The framework has recently been applied at the closure of our Philippines LAMP II project. The following table shows LAMP II project results highlighting just one initiative from each of primary principles on Aid Effectiveness. This framework is proving to be a very useful tool for LEI to both evaluate progress for ongoing projects and transfer lessons across projects to ensure the most effective project delivery is undertaken.

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Yemen web

LEI Assist the Yemen Government to Strengthen their new Land Agency
1st July 2010

For the past 12 months LEI have been assisting the Government of Yemen to deliver improved land services under a new land agency GALSUP (General Authority for Land Survey and Urban Planning). We assisted the Government of Yemen in formulating a national and local level policy and regulatory framework for public land management, land registration, and urban planning following the consolidation of these activities in GALSUP.

Some of our accomplishments include:
•    delivering two strategic plans, one for a public land inventory for Taiz city and the other for a "model land authority branch office", to be piloted in Taiz governorate
•    revising 3 laws (Land Registration, State Land Management and Urban Planning) and drafting 2 laws (Public Land management and Urban Planning)
•    drafting Executive regulations and a Manual for the Land Registration Law
•    revising the GALSUP organizational decree and proposing amendments to strengthen Authority functions
•    revising the existing GALSUP organizational structure and preparing job descriptions, mandates, roles and responsibilities for GALSUP staff
•    delivering a Statement of Requirements, Implementation Plan, and Architectural Requirements for a Computerised Land Registration System
•    undertaking two policy studies in Public Land Management and Land Use (Urban Planning)

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LGAF web01

LGAF: The Land Governance Wrap Up
1st July 2010

After an extended process of conceptualising, developing, and pilot testing, the Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF) in collaboration with the World Bank, is now being rolled out in Benin, Rwanda and Mozambique.  A final Economic Sector Work report on LGAF will also be published in the near future by the World Bank.

The latest presentation on the development of the diagnostic tool, LGAF, was made by World Bank senior economist, Harris Selod from the LGAF team, at the Annual Bank Conference on Land Policy and Administration, Washington DC, April 26-27, 2010. LGAF has been developed as a comprehensive land sector-wide framework for assessing various systems, practices, legal arrangements and services. It is a most valuable tool and starting point for the early stages of reform, as recently experienced by a team who implemented LGAF in Benin 2009. Like all reform interventions, the LGAF process requires a high level of government and political buy-in to ensure the analysis and consultations go beyond rhetoric and are genuinely considered by technical and policy stakeholders who directly inform the reform process.


The following five key areas were considered to encompass all the elements of a good land governance assessment framework:
•    A legal, institutional, and policy framework that recognises existing rights, enforces them at low cost, and allows users to exercise them in line with their aspirations and in a way that promotes the benefit of society as a whole.
•    Arrangements for land use planning and taxation conducive to avoiding negative externalities and supporting effective decentralisation.
•    Clear identification of state land and its management in a way that provides public goods cost effectively; use of expropriation as a last resort only to establish public infrastructure with quick payment of fair compensation and effective mechanisms for appeal; and mechanisms for divestiture of state lands that are transparent and maximise public revenue.
•    Public provision of land information in a way that is broadly accessible, comprehensive, reliable, current and cost effective in the long run.
•    Accessible mechanisms to authoritatively resolve disputes and manage conflicts with clearly defined mandates, and low cost of operation.


The framework sets out 21 indicators across these five themes and includes 80 dimensions or sub-indicators, used for assessing a country or jurisdiction’s land sector governance and policy situation. Having a blueprint assessment framework suggests cross-country comparisons can be made. This is one of the intents; however comparisons should be done with critical analysis to ensure the south-south exchange of experience is appropriately contextualised. Experts undertake in-depth investigations on background information surrounding the main thematic areas. This is essential preparatory data collection which is then used to support panel consultations. The implementation manual is carefully designed for instructing the data preparation and subsequent eight panels of experts used to discuss rankings, and quantitative and qualitative assessments of a subset from the 80 dimensions. Each expert panel addresses a particular thematic area. Limited field studies and sampling may be required to gather empirical evidence if a large discrepancy in rankings or inadequate data exists following the panel sessions.


To maximise operational effectiveness of LGAF and implementation into policy and development dialogues it is desirable that general agreement is made with the government from inception. This should aim to establish improved access to data, receive official comments, and ensure involvement in a joint workshop at the conclusion of the study to disseminate results. These actions are also complimentary to making the FAO voluntary guidelines and African Union Land Policy Initiative operational.


Further roll out of LGAF is being considered by development partners. Since LEI’s involvement in the critical stages of conceptualising, developing and testing LGAF, we have learned lessons and expanded our knowledge across the regions on issues of good governance in land administration and management. These are now able being applied across our projects and with our continuing role in research and development in the land sector.


More details on the indicators and discussions on LGAF operation can be found in the recent publication, The Land Governance Framework: Methodology and Early Lessons From Country Pilots (page 188) in the Joint Discussion Paper, Innovations in Land Rights Recognition, Administration and Governance by K. Deininger, C. Augustinus, S. Enemark and P. Munro-Faure, World Bank Agriculture and Rural Development. LEI will also notify interested parties when the final ESW report on LGAF is available.

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