Vanuatu Land Program

Improved decision making, transparency in land transactions and land management procedures and practices.
Project narrative

A Government of Vanuatu (GoV) Land Sector Framework (LSF) provides the foundation for a strategic plan to implement land sector reforms in Vanuatu. It is intended to guide government, the private sector and civil society in the use and management of Vanuatu’s land resources. The LSF is based on a Vision and a set of strategic objectives or themes. It outlines implementation priorities for a LSF policy and activity agenda over a ten year period and builds upon 2006 National Land Summit (NLS) resolutions and donor initiatives in the sector.

Four principles guided stakeholders and policy makers to ensure that the land sector activities within the LSF were aligned with the GoV development agenda:

  1. Management of land resources must comply with social and economic objectives.
  2. Stewardship of land resources must guarantee environmental sustainability.
  3. Land agencies must be relevant, cost-effective, efficient, and sustainable.
  4. Planning, implementation, decision making and monitoring of activities must be participatory, transparent and accountable to protect the interests and rights of all stakeholders.

The Vanuatu Land Program was a long-term commitment by the GoV in land sector reform initiatives that aimed to support the LSF through improved decision making, improved transparency in land transactions, and improved land management procedures and practices. It also intended to minimise the potential for conflict over land matters.

Capacity development was undertaken with the following key bodies:

  • Vanuatu Land Governance Committee and the Land Sector Coordination Committee
  • Malvatumauri National Council of Chiefs
  • Customary Land Tribunal Office, and
  • Land Registry and Information Service in the Department of Lands.
Description of key services provided

The program was designed to provide a facilitative and supporting role, rather than a directive role. As such, LEI facilitated and supported the following program objectives:

Informed collective decisions by customary landholders through the following mechanisms:

  • Improved the customary governance of land by the Malvatumauri, and
  • Improved stakeholder and public understanding and awareness of customary land practices (including gender and familial land interests). This included three elements:
  1. A Customary Land Study and Research Grant Fund
  2. A Public Awareness and Information Program, and
  3. Gender mainstreaming within the Malvatumauri and other customary groups. It also improved decision making by customary landholders.

Participatory land governance through the following mechanisms:

  • Supported the effective and participatory sector wide governance of land. The program supported the GoV to manage and monitor the national LSF. The program supported the establishment, strengthening and operation of the multi-stakeholder Vanuatu Land Governance Committee (VLGC)
  • Established and/or improved participatory, sustainable mechanisms that facilitate regional and local governance of land, and
  • Improved the participatory mechanisms that facilitate formal dealings in land.

Effective and enabling services through the following mechanisms:

  • Sustained achievements and broadened engagement in customary land, participatory governance and enabling services
  • Began a process of legislative reform
  • Undertook more fundamental institutional reform within the Department of Lands, and
  • Improved service delivery in other areas of the Department of Lands (eg revenue generation).

A strengthened Customary Lands Tribunal consistent with the GoV’s national plans through the following mechanisms:

  • Legislative review
  • Mediation support services
  • Public awareness and training, and
  • Capacity development of Customary Land Tribunal Office.

A Land Information Management System (LMIS) that meets current and future needs and supports economic development through the following mechanisms:

  • IT strategy
  • Land survey records
  • Mapping and imagery, and
  • Valuation services.

Implementation of effective management and governance systems through:

  • Effective consultation and coordination between stakeholders of the Vanuatu Land Program
  • Effective and efficient management of all resources provided to deliver services including personnel, funds, services and equipment
  • Effective and efficient reporting and monitoring and evaluation of program activities and deliverables, and
  • Identification and management of risks to the program to minimise impacts on achieving Program Goals and Objectives.