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Nov11 SDG Land Indicator
18th November 2015

In the November 2015 the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development – Working Group on Land, issued the following policy brief in support of the Land Indicators that have been included in the Sustainable Development Goals  (SDGs) which replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). There are an important set of indicators that we all need to strive towards meeting in our commitments, actions and collaborative efforts.

“The Global Donor Working Group on Land (GDWGL), a network of 23 bi- and multilateral donors and international organisations committed to improve land governance worldwide, praises the work and achievements to date by the Interagency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs).

At the same time, with a global portfolio of investments in land governance reaching USD 8.2 billion in 131 countries, the Donor Working Group on Land is highly concerned with the result of the second meeting of the IAEG-SDGs in October, in Bangkok, where the land indicator (1.4.2) under target 1.4 was recommended for deletion.

The GDWGL acknowledges that the generally approved land rights indicator under Goal 5 Indicator 5.a.1 is very is very related for women’s land rights. However, given the universal nature of tenure rights and large equality gaps also in this area, women will be better served if the land rights indicator remains under Goal 1.  The appropriate indicator, under target 1.4, also supported by the Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII), Landesa and many other partners, would read:  “Percentage of people with secure tenure rights to land (out of total adult population), with legally recognized documentation and who perceive their rights to land as secure, by sex and by type of tenure"

In the last three years, the GDWGL has focused its efforts to ensure that the globally endorsed Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) are implemented and monitored at the national level, as much as well represented at the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Without secure tenure rights to land, poor populations will not have access to the very basic resources that would allow them to develop and sustain their livelihoods. That is one key transformation that the 2030 Development Agenda needs to achieve. Without secure land tenure, families and communities are  vulnerable to expropriations and face in numerous challenges to access financial resources, markets and other services.  This is particularly important in the changing rural landscape in most developing  countries, which face increasing demand for land for competing uses, such as for biofuels, large-scale food production and as a safeguard against climate change.”

Visit https://www.donorplatform.org/land-governance/global-donor-working-group-on-land  for more information.’ or Policy-Brief-GDWGL-Nov2015.pdf .

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Postcard from Vanuatu (post Cyclone Pam)
15th June 2015

On 13 March 2015, Vanuatu was hit by Severe Cyclone Pam. The Category 5 storm caused considerable damage to infrastructure and livelihoods across the island group – particularly the southern islands. Despite the wide-spread destruction and some delays during the initial clean-up (to clear roads and reinstate services, such as power and telecommunications), the Vanuatu Land Program was able to continue on with its planned activities.

Generating government revenue

Post cyclone, the collection of revenue will be essential to assist rebuilding activities. In Luganville, Santo, a team of staff (supported by international technical assistance) have completed the creation of a valuation zone map and valuation roll that will enable the Department of Lands to set meaningful land rents, and the Municipality to revise  council rates for the Luganville area.

Securing important records

Many of the Department of Lands paper-based records were damaged by water (caused by rain, rather than flooding) entering premises through cyclone-damaged roofs. Fortunately, the recently completed land program scanning project had digitised all of the land registry lease registers and parcel files, including these damaged documents. This experience illustrates how important it is to secure such information via scanning, particularly in countries which are vulnerable to adverse weather events and other natural disasters

The scanned images will soon be available to all Department of Lands staff and to clients who come into the department to conduct title searches through a title information system. The system, developed in collaboration with local software developers Vanuasoft, is currently undergoing user acceptance testing

Land reform

In 2014, the Government of Vanuatu introduced innovative new land laws. The Vanuatu Land Program has been supporting the implementation of the laws which are designed to place decision making in respect of land matters back with customary land owners. To ensure that customary land owners understand the new laws, the Vanuatu Land Program has been working with the Customary Land Management Office and the Department of Lands to provide community outreach and awareness about the new laws. Training has also been provided to key members of the community, including chiefs and nominated adjudicators and secretaries, on the implementation and operation of the new laws.

For more information on the Vanuatu Land program, see: http://www.landequity.com.au/projects/mama-graon-vanuatu-land-program/

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LEI co-implements Mekong Regional Land Governance Project
16th March 2015

On 13 March 2015, the Governments of Switzerland (through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)) and Lao PDR signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreement to launch the Mekong Regional Land Governance (MRLG) Project in Lao PDR. This SDC initiative with German co-funding (starting in April 2015 through GIZ), is implemented by Land Equity International and professionals for Fair Development (Gret). The Project will support land tenure security for family farmers, especially women and ethnic groups by progressively improving land and natural resource governance in policy and practice in the Mekong Region.

On 13 March 2015, the Governments of Switzerland (through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)) and Lao PDR signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreement to launch the Mekong Regional Land Governance (MRLG) Project in Lao PDR. This SDC initiative with German co-funding (starting in April 2015 through GIZ), is implemented by Land Equity International and professionals for Fair Development (Gret). The Project will support land tenure security for family farmers, especially women and ethnic groups by progressively improving land and natural resource governance in policy and practice in the Mekong Region.

The previous granting of large-scale and long-term economic land concessions of agricultural and forest land to investors has significantly reduced the area available for family agriculture and community forestry. The practice has also reduced access to natural resources which previously contributed to food security. The loss of land tenure and use rights, environmental degradation, resettlement and limited prospects regarding alternative employment have made the situation for family farmers quite difficult.

The MRLG Project will provide a wide range of stakeholders in the land, natural resource and investment sectors with capacity building, learning, networking and regional cooperation opportunities. It aims to improve policies and policy dialogue, institutional strength and practical models that support family farmers, long term rural development and food security in the Mekong region countries of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV).

The MRLG Project is planned to run for eight years. The first phase (four years) has a total budget of USD9.25m.

To view a recent article on this project in the Vientiane Times (“Switzerland, Germany pledge US$12m for land governance”), see: www.vientianetimes.org.la/FreeContent/FreeConten_Switzerland.htm

For more information on SDC, see: https://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home.html

For more information on LEI and the MRLG Project, see: www.landequity.com.au/projects/mrlg/ and www.mrlg.org/

For more information on Gret, see: www.gret.org

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Message from Tony Burns, Managing Director
29th January 2015

I would like to wish all LEI associates a Happy New Year. As indicated in the Newsletter, the LEI projects in Vanuatu and Mekong are doing some interesting work. Kate Fairlie is working on piloting the CoFLAS tool that we developed for GLTN in Tanzania and Lesotho. In addition we have short term assignments in Pakistan, Romania and Tanzania and a number of opportunities that we are following up. I am about to head off for a 7 week trip and we have some exciting changes to the office arrangements in Wollongong.

In October last year Kylie Anthony informed me that she wanted a change in career that would enable her to spend more time with her young family. Kylie left LEI late in December and I wish her and her family all the best for the future in their new life on the Central Coast. Kylie indicated the desire to maintain a link to LEI and an interest in short-term assignments and I know that I and a number of staff have already been talking to her. Kylie has been a key staff member for LEI and has been with us almost since LEI was set up. Kylie’s new direction leaves us with a big gap in the organisation but we have a strategy in place. Nicole Nicholson will take over some of Kylie’s responsibilities, particularly in support of the ongoing projects. We advertised for a new senior business development staff member in December and after interviews earlier this month we have made an offer to Fiona Harmsworth that has been accepted. Fiona will start with LEI in early March and we will introduce Fiona when she starts work. I am sure that Fiona will settle in well and that she will enjoy support from our wider network of associates.

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Vanuatu Land Program Update
29th January 2015

The collection of land rent represents an important source of revenue for the Government of Vanuatu (GoV). The Vanuatu Land program is assisting the GoV with this task through the creation of valuation rolls for properties in the country’s two urban centres, Port Vila and Luganville.

A small team of field officers was recently contracted in Luganville, tasked with collecting information on every property in the Luganville municipality. The work commenced in late 2014, and it is expected that the valuation roll and zone map for Luganville municipality will be completed by mid-2015. The Port Vila valuation roll and valuation zone map were created at the end of 2013.

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CoFLAS presented at the 2014 Inaugural Conference on Land Policy in Africa
29th January 2015

Following its validation at an Expert Group Meeting in Bangkok in October, the Global Land Tool Network Costing and Financing of Land Administration Services (CoFLAS) Tool for Developing Countries was presented at the 2014 Inaugural Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA). Held from 11th – 14th November in Addis Ababa, the CLPA provided an opportunity to promote CoFLAS more widely and to commence discussions on the two proposed CoFLAS pilots in Lesotho and Tanzania.

CoFLAS is a tool developed to assist policy makers and practitioners to identify and adopt appropriate tools and methodologies promoting efficient, cost-effective and inclusive land services. It was developed by LEI for GLTN in collaboration with the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), Lantmateriet (the Swedish Mapping, Cadastre and Land Registration Authority), Kadaster International (the Netherlands) and other key partners and stakeholders.

After the CLPA, LEI staff member Kate Fairlie visited Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to establish key relationships for the first pilot. Preliminary results from the pilot will guide the development of an Implementation Manual for CoFLAS to be published by GLTN. A paper on CoFLAS, including these learnings, will be presented at the World Bank Annual Conference on Land & Poverty in Washington D.C., USA, March 2015. 

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Pathways for collaboration on land governance in the Mekong
29th January 2015

The Mekong Region Land Governance Project, funded by SDC and implemented by LEI and Gret, is in full swing heading into the last quarter of the Inception Phase (Year 1). During the past 9 months our team across the four countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam) has been working strategically to bring reform actors from civil society, private sector, government and academia into discussions on developing effective pathways for collaboration on land governance. We are currently reviewing learning and advocacy initiatives that have been developed by multi-stakeholder focus groups in support of the promotion of improve tenure security for small holder farmer, fisheries and forestry. The topics where the demand for support has been most readily requested across the 4 countries include: land dispute mechanisms, private sector engagement, customary and communal rights and recognition, and evidence based research for policy dialogue.

For the first year of implementation, we are identifying initiatives for the project to add value in capacity building, providing opportunities for cross border exchange, and building a knowledge base that is essential to supporting the emergence of more favorable enabling environment in land governance. Our workshop series during the inception phase will conclude with our Regional Stakeholder Workshop on 4-6th March in Bangkok. This will be the final contribution towards activity designs to be rolled out during 2015. We expect also to launch the first call for Innovation Fund proposals and share preliminary results from a Political Economy and Research Mapping study land governance in the Mekong Region.  We are also supporting field activities in Xiengkhouang (Laos) through one of the project funding windows – Quick Disbursement Fund. This activity supports civil society and government partners to develop and pilot a replicable training module and materials in tenure related laws and policies to support family farmers to protect their land rights and negotiate more favorable outcomes in natural resource development activities.

For further enquiries, please contact Kate Rickersey, Team Leader for MLRG Project. krickersey@landequity.com.au 

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Meet us at the World Bank Land and Poverty Conference 2015, Washington DC
29th January 2015

Tony Burns, Kate Fairlie and Brian Garcia (Mekong Region Land Governance project) will all be at this year’s World Bank Land and Poverty Conference from 23rd – 27th March.

We will be presenting the following papers:

-       Costing and Financing of Land Administration Services – The Pilot Phase

-       Promoting Youth Responsive Land Policies – An Action Oriented Research and Intervention

-       Mekong Region Land Governance Project: Innovative Solutions?

We look forward to seeing you there!  

http://www.worldbank.org/en/events/2014/08/06/landconference2015

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