Message from Tony Burns, Managing Director

Posted on 05/05/2017 by

During the last few months, there has been a flurry of activity – touched with much sadness and joy. In December, we said goodbye to a long-term friend and colleague – Chris Grant – who passed away suddenly. Chris was one of the four LEI founders. He was a former senior land administration executive (Surveyor General and Chair Land Surveyors Licensing Board) in the public sector and had over 40 years’ experience in his field. He worked at BHP Engineering and Hatch Associates with me prior to LEI commencing operations. Chris had significant experience in designing, implementing and directing large-scale land titling/land administration projects involving multi-disciplinary teams of national and international specialists in numerous developing countries. He was conversant with the political, social and economic impact of land administration reform programs in developing and post-conflict countries. And, he was acutely aware of the cultural sensitivities surrounding land tenure and the challenge of balancing development agendas with the recognition and preservation of customary rights to land. His well-developed team building, coordination and liaison skills enabled him to successfully deliver outcomes in donor-funded land administration projects in many tough locations. Chris was highly-regarded in the field, and an all-round authentic nice person. He will be greatly missed.

We are excited to report that LEI currently has three projects running in Indonesia – funded by the World Bank and Millennium Challenge Account-Indonesia (MCA-I). Key personnel have provided an update on these projects.

LEI was awarded the 12-month One Map Technical Assistance (TA) project, which commenced in early February with Neil Pullar as Team Leader. After having wrapped up the MCA-I-funded Participatory Mapping and Planning Sub-Activity Project No. 2 (PMaP2) at the end of February, LEI has since been awarded the PMaP7 contract. PMaP7 is a similar style of project to PMaP2 and PMaP3, but located in Riau Province. Most PMaP2 staff have now joined PMaP7 which commenced in April with Paul Harris as Team Leader. PMaP3 continues to make progress.  

Our Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) project has also been doing great things. It recently supported a thematic study that was presented at a workshop for indigenous youth in Cambodia. Young people came together to build knowledge of key issues and share experiences which will benefit them later on should they find themselves working with key land stakeholders. Our MRLG Team Leader for that project, Kate Rickersey, has just returned to Australia temporarily to welcome her new baby into the world. John Meadows has taken over the Team Leader role while Kate in on leave.

Kate Fairlie and I have now completed our latest work in Ethiopia with the World Bank. This culminated in a presentation at the Land and Poverty Conference 2017 in Washington. John Meadows presented on the Vanuatu Land Program and representatives from the MRLG project also attended and presented on key areas of interest.