Governance, Policy & Institutional Strengthening

Land governance is an inherently complex and 'wicked' problem. LEI's approach improves certainty and confidence in the land administration system, improving the delivery of public services and ensuring particular attention to marginal urban and rural areas where the most vulnerable people often live.

Dynamically evolving land uses make defining and enforcing a broad-based security of tenure difficult, particularly in light of diverse socio-cultural values. The complexity of the land sector, particularly in cases of poor governance, only increases susceptibility to corruption and rent-seeking.

“Various global studies of perception of corruption highlight corruption in the land sector.” 

Unequal power relations within the land sector are a major contributor. As noted by Chong & Calderón, 2000; Klitgaard, 1991

“Biased institutions can enable a small elite to secure the most gains from economic growth by manipulating contract enforcements and property rights, as well as through discrimination.” 

LEI has considerable experience in this niche sector, identifying improvements to the quality of institutions that reduce the power of special interest groups. We do this by supporting efficient land administration systems that are underpinned by comprehensive legal systems that identify and protect all land rights. These measures importantly reduce uncertainty and improve the delivery of public services and ensure the inclusion of, and particular attention to, marginal urban and rural areas, where poor people usually live.

We apply a flexible approach to developing legislation and policies, ensuring accountability to civil society and consistency with government policy, while remaining practical for managers and implementers. Understanding policy constraints and consensus building are critical. 

LEI has significant experience introducing land titling systems which provide indefeasibility of title and state guarantee. While we are great supporters of the Torrens style system and the benefits this system provides to land users, we realise that often the most practical approach is to build tenure security within existing legal and administrative structures. Simple measures to map and define user rights can offer immediate and cost effective benefits in the short to medium term. We work within countries’ historical, political and cultural settings to determine the most appropriate approach to land policy.

An enabling, legislative and institutional framework is fundamental to the efficient and effective operation of any property rights system. LEI has significant experience working with partner agencies to support institutional strengthening. Our experts work with key stakeholders to build local capacity, improve coordination within and between agencies, and introduce common standards across government departments. We also work closely with legislators, government representatives, the private sector and community representatives to develop and introduce legal reforms which provide for equitable, efficient and accountable land rights recording and transferral. 

LEI is experienced in: 

  • Legislative review and drafting – examining land laws and regulations, identifying inconsistencies and bottlenecks, advising on improvements and drafting new laws and regulations 
  • Institutional review – examining institutional responsibilities, and streamlining functions within and between land agencies to deliver international leading practice 
  • Change management – re-engineering business systems and processes to improve land administration efficiency, transparency and customer service, 
  • Strategic planning – providing forward planning assistance based on clear and strategic business models. 

Clients can expect the following when working with LEI: 

  • Good governance principles form the foundation for legislative and/or institutional development – ensuring efficiency, transparency and equity. 
  • Country-specific laws and regulations are developed and tailored to local conditions and needs. 
  • Where LEI works directly with legislators, governments, the private sector and community, this typically results in institutional frameworks being robust and relevant. 
  • A continuous improvement approach to land office procedures – drawing on leading international practice and involving regular interaction with customers/clients – ensuring tailored and current customer/client-focused outcomes. 
  • Hands-on training, knowledge sharing and shared decision-making opportunities between international experts and local counterparts increase local capacity and facilitate sustainability.

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