EAST TIMOR: LAND LAW PROGRAM TWO (LLP2)
September 2004–March 2006
Indonesia’s withdrawal from East Timor in 1999 set the stage for reconciling conflicting land tenure and property rights established during different government regimes, often overlaid on customary rights or in direct contradiction to rights granted by other regimes. Initializing a formal system for reconciling conflicting claims and legally recognizing clear rights to property is both a challenge and a cornerstone for stability, security, and equitable economic growth.
Land is inherent in almost all economic development issues in East Timor. Lack of possible ownership or leasing options deters foreign and domestic investment: banks do not want to provide loans without immovable property collateral, and farmers do not want to invest their money or “sweat equity” without having legally protected rights to the land. Land issues are also important to conflict mitigation, anti-corruption, democracy, governance, and the rule of law.
In May 2003, USAID contracted ARD, under the BASIS IQC, to initiate and administer the Land Law Project (LLP) with the Ministry of Justice and the National University. LLP was designed to provide informed policy recommendations and support the development and implementation of transparent and representative land laws. In September 2004, USAID contracted ARD under the RAISE IQC to extend LLP for additional land research and support to related legislative development, while strengthening institutional capacity for land law implementation and administration.
The ARD team provided technical assistance and training to the University while conducting relevant academic research related to land tenure and property rights. The research results provided important findings to engage both public and private sector stakeholders in dialogue through a public information and education campaign, and to guide the land legislation agenda. In parallel, the ARD team provided technical assistance and training to the Ministry of Justice National Directorate of Land and Property responsible for implementation and administration of land legislation.
ARD supported the crafting of draft land laws and regulations including:
* Juridical Regime of Immovable Property;
* Decree-law to establish a committee on illegal constructions and informal settlements; and
* Ministerial decrees on the Organic Law of the National Directorate of Land and Property (DNTP), the Lease Adjudication Process, DNTP Administrative Fees, the Standardization of State Property Leases, and State Property Allocation to other Government Agencies.
The ARD team facilitated the debate and actual promulgation of key legislation on Leasing and Allocation of State Property of Private Domain (December 2004) and Leasing between Private Individuals (May 2005).
The ARD team’s research reports included:
Non-customary Primary Industrial Land Survey: Landholdings and Management Considerations
Land Administration in East Timor–Functions and Responsibilities: Lessons Learned from Albania, Mozambique, and Thailand
When the Ancestors Need Help: Renewable Natural Resources and Institutional Design in Contemporary East Timor
2005 Dili Rental and Valuation Report
Land Valuation and Taxation Policy for Timor-Leste
Land Expropriation Policy Suitable for Timor-Leste: Economic Considerations
Considerations for Economic Zones and the Case of Timor-Leste
ARD developed, designed, and documented with DNTP counterparts a National Land Registration and Titling Plan and Land Registration Manual. ARD specialists mentored local staff and institutionalized procedures to administer leases of government residential properties. Leases of a nominal $10 a month generated about $10,000 in new income per month while legitimizing occupancy.
ARD developed and delivered training to over 50 university faculty and students to analyze the economic feasibility of agricultural projects, and on land taxation, expropriation policy, and industrial zoning. The Field Research Skills training course for 12 faculty, 21 students, and 2 DNTP personnel covered research methods, research ethics, interview techniques, simulated interview exercises, GPS applications, and first aid (research teams traveled to remote, isolated, and hazardous areas). ARD provided database design and development training to university and DNTP personnel, preparing several specific applications to support research and establish an electronic library on land tenure and property rights at the university.
ARD developed quadri-lingual glossaries (in English, Tetun, Portuguese, and Indonesian) on legal terminology regarding land, economics, and agriculture.
For more information, click here to access the project brochure in PDF format.