Land Administration and Information, Strengthening Property Rights in Timor Leste (SPRTL)
As the people of Timor Leste begin to build an independent future, they are moving forward with two critical aspects—reducing conflict and clarifying land rights—to help restore buildings, commerce, infrastructure, and livelihoods lost in the conflict. The project is part of a five year project to clearly articulate a land policy, legal framework, and administrative structure to secure the rights of all East Timorese to land, property, and natural resources. The project support formed the basis of the Strengthening Property Rights in Timor-Leste (SPRTL) Project that is working with the GoTL to establish a mechanism for strengthening property rights, informing people of these rights through public information campaigns, collecting claims to land rights, and supporting the mediated settlement of land-related disputes.
This project comprises five tasks to advance the above objectives: 1) Public Information Awareness/Increased Transparency; 2) Land Policy Laws and Implementing Regulations; 3) Support to a National Land Commission (NLC); 4) Land Administration (Cadastral, Registration, and Land Titling System); and 5) Dispute Resolution, Mediation, and Processes for Competing Claims to Land. The project just completed its first full year of operation in October 2008.
LEI are responsible for Task 4: Land Administration and Information – Land Cadastral Registration and Titling System. This involves designing a land/claims registration and survey system for Timor Leste.
In year one, the team undertook training and set up the technology tools, procedures, and systems for claims registration and dispute mediation. Pilot operation began in November 2008 to collect land claims in two districts, and with urging of the GoTL, the project is being requested to expand this work to a nationwide program. Reports from the field clearly demonstrate that public information campaigns are energizing government and people, land collection is engaging individuals and communicates in establishing their property claims, and USAID programs are accelerating and smoothing the transition from conflict to peace.
In the second year, beginning in late 2008, the project began claims recording in two pilots, emphasizing transparency, consistency with the law, continued PIA activities, and the application of dispute resolution resources. In years three and four, the project will begin nationwide claims processing, maintaining those claims as they may change naturally from transactions, inheritance, and dispute resolution, and converting those claims to registered titles according to Timorese law. These years will also be spent building administrative capacity within the Government of Timor-Leste (GOTL) institutions responsible for administration of property rights according to law with a five year goal of registering and titling (if law allows) at least 50,000 claims/properties.
LEI are responsible for the project management of Task 4. We are providing technical assistance, liaising with the government and client, and ensuring the quality control of outputs. Specific tasks include:
- Developing a methodology for registering land claims in a post conflict environment when the land laws are still incomplete and have not been promulgated.
- Identifying the technical requirements necessary to establish a land/claims registration system.
- Designing the technical configuration and specifying the system elements required for the collection and transmission of land and claims data by mobile offices.
- Designing the technical configuration and specify the system for the SPRTL central office database and information retrieval system.
- Enabling the system of land/claims registration to record changes in rights and to be tied to a land title cadastre.