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LEI Celebrates Expansion into Urban Management
1st December 2011

LEI recently acquired Strategic Planning and Management Services (SPMS) Pty Ltd to now offer services in urban management, urban planning and economics, complementing its core service offerings in land administration. The acquisition of SPMS engages Emeritus Professor Brian Roberts as core staff at LEI as the Senior Urban Management expert.

Professor Roberts has qualifications in land surveying, urban and regional planning, and design and business management and holds a PhD in urban and regional economic development. After several senior posts within United Nations Centre for Human Settlements, Queensland state government (Australia), two academic institutions and the consulting industry, he is committed to integrating LEIs land and project management expertise with urban sector development.

With over 30 years international consulting experience, Professor Roberts is adept in designing and managing large and complex multi-discipline projects. Consulting for ADB, AusAID, World Bank, UN, as well as direct Government assistance, he has overseen national and regional institutional reform programs; developed national urban management policies; established higher level education and training; and briefed heads of State and Ministers across various countries.

LEI look forward to drawing on Professor Roberts’ vast network and experience and integrating this with LEI’s successful undertaking of large land administration reform programs and consultancies. LEIs Managing Director, Tony Burns on the acquisition: “We anticipate this merger to significantly strengthen our service offering and competiveness to meet increasing development demands in the urban sector as well as decentralized activities at the local government level.”

LEI remain a unique, niche project management company focused on land administration reform service delivery through our highly skilled professional staff. LEI now have additional capacity to better understand and find solutions to urban management, planning and urban economic issues.

A sample of projects below demonstrates the range and global diversity of projects SPMS was previously involved in:
•    State of the Worlds Cities Report 2012, chapter on City Cluster Development, UN Habitat (2011)
•    State of Asian Cities Report, co-author of chapter on the State of the Environment of Asian Cities with CSIRO, UN Habitat (2011)
•    Toolkit Guide for Rapid Economic Assessment, Planning and Development of Cities in Asia, Asian Development Bank (2011)
•    Competitive Cities in the 21st Century: Cluster-based Local Economic Development, ADB, 2011
•    Cluster Development training program for Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, with Hansen Partnership, World Bank, (2009)
•    Development Partnership Program for South Asia - Clustered Cities Development, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, ADB (2009)
•    National Capital Region Plan 2030, Hanoi, with Hansen partnership and National Institute Urban and Regional Planning, Vietnam (2009)
•    Economics of Development for Planning, Certified Planning Course Instructor
•    Policy Note, Sustainable Economic Development Strategy for Aceh, Indonesia, World Bank, with CSIRO (2007)
•    Design Framework for Local Governance Development Program, Philippines, AusAID (2005)
•    Quality Assurance Contract for the Philippines Land Administration and Management Project, AusAID, (2001-2010)
•    Urban partnership workshops and training program for City Net, Nepal, UNUMP, 2000
•    Development of Planning Institute for Solomon Islands, RAPI, (1999)


Emeritus Professor Brian Roberts’ curriculum vitae will soon be accessible via our website, or contact Brian directly via email: broberts@landequity.com.au.

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MCA-Lesotho Land Administration Reform Project (LARP)
1st July 2011

On the 17th June LEI successfully completed the ‘design phase’ of the Systematic Land Regularisation and Improvement of Rural Land Allocation processes project. The component of the MCA-Lesotho Land Administration Reform Project (LARP) focused on the regularization of urban and peri-urban areas of Maseru, Lesotho’s capital city. On completion of activities the project team regularized over 4000 urban parcels (i.e. final adjudication and cadastral survey of each parcel) and over 5,300 rural land allocation parcels in Maseru and Berea Districts.

Land allocation involved mapping using orthophoto maps and adjudicating parcels in four participating Community Councils. To assist with future land allocations and planning procedures Councils received hardcopy and electronic copies at the Community and District Councils respectively.

Often land disputes are brought to the fore during mapping and regularization activities, however LEI did not encounter major problems. In total, the project identified only 64 dispute cases that were resolved with the assistance of the Legal Aid Advisor: 46 regularization and 18 rural allocation disputes. This is less than 1% of all parcels encountering a land dispute. The success of the project was largely due to a dedicated team integrating closely with members of the community at every step of the process. This meant ensuring clear lines protocol were followed for stakeholder engagement, and ensuring beneficiaries were prepared for the project entering target areas, they were conversant with process they would engage in, and understood the ongoing benefits and obligations as leaseholders.

Detailed Standard Operating Procedures of every step of pilot activities undertaken were handed over to the LAA to ensure effective and efficient roll out for the implementation phase. LEI are providing ongoing technical support to the recently established Land Administration Authority that, as of June 15th 2010, was mandated to administer the leasehold land tenure system among other functions. LEI will continue working alongside the LAA to ensure leases are delivered to the beneficiaries.

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Vanuatu web2

Mama Graon – Vanuatu Land Program Taking Shape
1st July 2011

After initial preparatory work involving intensive consultation the key Program steering committee has been formed and has established clear functions that will assist with seeing the Program progress. In line with Land Equity International’s commitment to the principles of aid effectiveness our approach to the Program is to maximise local partnerships and encourage national appointments to our adviser team.  We strongly believe the Program should be nationally driven and led and as such we are very pleased to announce the recent appointment of Mr Russell Nari to the position of Deputy Program Director/Customary Land Adviser. Mr Nari, a ni-Vanuatu, was previously the Director General of Justice and a previous Director General of Lands. He brings a strong level of national ownership and invaluable cultural and technical understanding to program implementation.

Land Equity International’s flexible and responsive approach to our Program partners has resulted in a further initiative to bring forward the land registration activities to the first year of the Program. At the request of the Department of Lands we have revised the work plan and commenced work on improving the land registration procedures to address the backlog of thousands of unregistered land documents, some of which date back at least 10 years.  After the re-engineering of some of the land registry processes, temporary staff have been contracted to work collaboratively with the existing Land Registry staff to accelerate the processing of unregistered documents. Since mobilisation of our contract, LEI’s Program Director has worked closely with both counterparts and donors to enable flexible and mutually agreed responses which are already making positive contributions towards the Mama Graon Program.

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Gender-Equitable Governance of Land Tenure
1st July 2011

LEI Contributes to FAO Development of Guidelines on Gender-Equitable Governance of Land Tenure. In May, Dr Kate Dalrymple participated in the FAO Workshop on Gender-Equitable Governance of Land Tenure at FAO Headquarters, Rome. This was part of a series of workshops that are contributing to the development of complimentary and practical Technical Guidelines for the broader Voluntary guidelines on responsible governance of tenure of land and other natural resources (VG), due out later in 2011. This successful workshop brought together a variety of technicians and professionals from around the globe working in different fields of land governance. Represented by Government agencies, NGOs, private sector, FAO and affiliated organisations, the group compiled through practical experience, innovative gender equitable solutions for tackling the issues of land governance.

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Lesotho web01

Land Governance & Land Program Research in Africa & Europe
1st July 2011

LEI are Leading Land Governance & Land Program Research in Africa & Europe.  LEI are undertaking a comparative review of various land reform activities in Sub-Saharan Africa for FAO and the World Bank. The review considers alternative technologies and evaluates the impact of land reform programs including the impact of land regularization and land use planning. We are specifically looking at land issues involved in informal settlements and initiatives to reverse urban informality.

From urban governance to a wider scope on land governance, LEI continue to partner with the World Bank in leading the roll out of the Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF) across various countries across Africa and Eastern Europe. We recently signed two new contracts to manage LGAF in Democratic Republic of Congo and Ukraine. Tony Burns and John Meadows were among those discussing the latest findings and lessons for implementation during round table talks in Washington DC at the World Bank 2011 Land Conference in April.

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Philippines web6

Capacity Building Legacy of LAMP: Valuation Students Graduate
1st July 2011

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.

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Lesotho web7

LEI land sector activities in Lesotho
3rd January 2011

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

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News from the Managing Director
3rd January 2011

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.

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Vanuatu web04

LEI Secures a Contract to Manage the Mama Graon – Vanuatu Land Program
3rd January 2011

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.

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Malawi web2

Improving the Land Registration Process in Malawi
3rd January 2011

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.

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