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ISSUE#6 |2013

Rural Cadastral Index Map from High Resolution Satellite Images. ©UN-Habitat/Solomon Haile

Surveying at the core of securing land and property for all- Teo One key function of the surveyor is the mapping and representation of the people to land relationship It’s not every day you come across organisations that live to be 100 years old. Fédération Internationale des Géomètres (FIG) or International Federation of Surveyors, is one of those exceptions. The organisation has been around for 135 of those -then again, surveyors have been dealing with boundaries, sizes and areas, rights, tenures and properties over the ages. Today, their goal remains the same: to represent the interest of surveyors worldwide and that, they do with diligence. It could be said that one of secrets to FIG’s graceful ageing is its relevance. Their Working Week held in Abuja, Nigeria in early May took on the theme Environment for Sustainability; an agenda that can hardly be ignored. From their standpoint, when surveyors contribute and operate in synergy with and within this environment, they can then have the significance and the sustainability any profession desires for itself. “The Profession recognises that we are operating within a changing, complex but connected environment, with multiple stakes, interests and realities. We have to engage and understand the societal, environmental, economic and political

demands and realities as the Profession seeks to extend the use and usefulness of surveying towards the betterment of humanity.” The surveying profession, as President Teo CheeHai explains, is multi-disciplinary with a series of specialisations seeking to contribute and collaborate for the efficient planning, administration and management of land, seas and any structures there on. “One key function of the surveyor is the mapping and representation of the people to land relationship that contribute towards better knowledge and understanding in support of various initiatives, efforts and programs to secure land and property rights for all.” That said, it is clear to see how FIG fits perfectly with the GLTN vision. FIG has been a part of the Network since its inception and finds that the platform allows the profession to demonstrate its utility, relevance and provide an opportunity to consider alternative and innovative approaches to address identified challenges. FIG remains relevant across generations. Through the FIG’s Young Surveyors Network, the organisation has embraced GLTN’s Youth and Land agenda which Continued on page 3

INSIDE Arab State Land Actors meet in Cairo

page 2 TOOL TALK

The Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM)

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Liberia’s new Land Policy to address conflicts - Sirleaf

back page Facilitated by

EVENTS July 07 - July 10, 2013 Management of Land and Sea Resources Glasgow University, Scotland June17-15, 2013 Phase2 STDM implementation Kampala ,Uganda July 15-19, 2013 STDM Training Kampala, Uganda October 21, 2013 Assemblee generale de la Federation des Geometres Francophones (FGF) et 2e Universite de Perfectionnement November 4-8, 2013 AfricaGIS 2013 Conference and the GSDI 14 World Conference Addis Ababa, Ethiopia November11-15, 2013 GLTN Partners Meeting

Arab States change agents meet on land and tenure security, make action plans Cairo, Egypt The Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) partners, UN-Habitat, the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) and the University of East London (UEL) recently held a learning event on land and tenure security in the Muslim World in Cairo, Egypt. The event brought together 25 change agents drawn from different background, organisations and countries in the Arab states to focus on Islamic land framework, law and methodologies, Islamic human rights and land tenures, waqf, inheritance laws and systems as well as women access to land, property and micro-finance. Through interactive presentations, lively group work and discussions on case studies developed by presenters and participants, the group developed its capacity to use Islamic principles to increase access to land and property rights for all. “Different country experiences presented enriched my knowledge on tenure and compatibility of the Islamic rules with women rights” noted Razan Abdulwahab, an architect from Syria with expertise in informal settlements. Training materials developed by the Global Land Tool Network formed the basis of the discussion. Practical experiences and approaches, particularly on how to develop and implement pro poor and gender responsive land policies enriched the learning exchange. According to Syria’s Zouka Karzon, the event highlighted the importance of evaluation of core strengths, building on them and doing away with any weaknesses attached to it through time.

At the end of the learning event, participants developed individual plans of action with deliberate efforts towards the most vulnerable in their own contexts. “It was a great opportunity and a wonderful occasion to exchange ideas and lessons from across a range of Arab and Muslim World. There are lots of lessons and ideas to apply in our respective countries” commented Yousif Ahmed, UNDP representative from Sudan. With renewed vaitality, additional champions, and a focus on emerging land priorities for the Muslim world, the Global Land Tool Network of partners will continue working on this important area of work to secure land and property rights for all.


Young land surveyors doing a role playing exercise during the training. Abuja, Nigeria 2013 © UN-Habitat /Danilo Antonio

Surveyors get hands on training on land information management tool Seventeen young land surveyors recently gained hands-on experience in the use and application of Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM), a land information management tool, in Abuja, Nigeria, 4-6 May 2013. Directly preceding the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG) Working Week conference, the Training of Trainers (TOTs) was organised by the Global Land Tool Network Secretariat which is hosted by UN-Habitat, International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), FIG Foundation and Young Surveyors Network (YSN). “The key lesson was that STDM is not just a software but a concept and a way of thinking,” a remark from a participant from Nigeria. The training first allowed participants to appreciate concepts behind STDM, its contribution in addressing key land issues, partnerships behind its development and how land surveyors could work together with the poor. Further, trainers engaged participants as they broke down the element of database management and the software itself- among

other facets, how to enter, manipulate and analyse data. Participants took the opportunity to give their view of the STDM concepts and its accompanying information system and shared how STDM could fit in their own work and country context. “I will try to contact the Slum Dweller Association to see how my students can contribute to STDM work and participate in enumeration activities,” said a participant currently working with a University in Uganda. In the end, the participants were challenged to redefine their land surveying profession to meet the challenging needs of communities both now and in the future. Organisers expressed confidence in the new breed of STDM champions and future trainers STDM. “I have a gratifying sense that that these young participants were not merely equipped with this tool but that they sense they are part of something bigger and they have the possibility to contribute,” remarked FIG President Teo CheeHai in an interview with GLTN.

About STDM Recognising the diversity of land rights is a critical step towards finding ways to adequately record and capture the commonly neglected forms of tenure. The Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM), a product of GLTN/UN Habitat, therefore is a concept developed as a tool for pro-poor land administration. Built on free and open source software packages, STDM propagates the GLTN principles to secure land and property rights for all. As an information management tool, it provides capacity to integrate formal, informal and customary land rights— reflecting the realities on the grounds. The tool endeavors to facilitate transparency and gender equality in the application context particularly in the new thinking of pro-poor land administration as stipulated in the Land Administration Domain Model. The tool was successfully piloted in Mbale, Uganda. To learn more about the potential of STDM go to

FIG’s Young Surveyors to demonstrate usefulness of their profession ‘barefoot’

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seeks to break the perception that land is an ‘adult-only’ conversation. “The youth of today is the adult of tomorrow! If we can more effectively addresse the issues, concerns and aspirations of the youth today, we could perhaps have are more dynamic and productive tomorrow,” says Teo with great conviction. The Young Surveyors Network is visible and active at UN-Habitat and GLTN’s initiatives. Most recently, and in a show of commitment

to the agenda, they co-organised a Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) Training of Trainers Workshop that equipped 17 participants with skills on the pro-poor land information management tool. There is even talk about young surveyors spending their annual holiday volunteering their “barefoot” surveying knowledge and practices at the local or community level on land sector related programs and projects, Teo tell us. All these in a bid to actively advocate the

relationship youth has with land, encourage active contribution to related initiatives and energetically demonstrate the usefulness of profession in this agenda. And as FIG continues to partner with GLTN, Teo can only hope that it easy for everyone to conclude that the role and contribution of the surveying profession in securing land and property rights for all, “is very much at the core.”


Liberia’s first land rights policy presented to the government

Land Law and Islam (Arabic)

Liberian President, Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf accepts the Nation’s new Land Policy. Monrovia, Liberia

UN-Habitat Global Activities Report 2013: Our presence and Partnerships

Global Land Tool Network Publications Catalogue

partner publication

From marginalisation to empowerment by ActionAid

The Land Commission of Liberia has completed the nation’s first land rights policy, after consultation with and endorsement by all Liberian constituencies. Consequently, the policy was presented to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, at the conclusion of a two-day National Validation Conference convened by the Land Commission of Liberia in the capital, Monrovia, on 21 May 2013. UN-Habitat has supported the work of the Land Commission since its inception in 2009. At the Conference, President Sirleaf said the policy is a major milestone in creating a more inclusive country where all Liberians are assured of their rights to own and enjoy the benefits of land. By clearly defining the various categories of land (Public Land, Government Land, Customary Land and Private Land) and accompanying rights and responsibilities, the Policy will assist in the development of appropriate legal mechanisms and procedures for the resolution of the numerous contentious land disputes, the Liberian leader emphasized. She stated that the recognition and granting of ownership rights to rural communities created enormous potential for economic empowerment of local communities, and reminded Liberians that with every right come responsibilities. She noted the new category of Customary Land where rural communities and their leaders must ensure that all members of their communities enjoy the benefits of the natural resources and their land. Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Land Commission, Dr. Cecil Othello Brandy, thanked the president for government’s support and that of UN-Habitat and other international partners. Before presenting the president with the policy-which he described as «historic»--Dr. Brandy said that t marks the beginning of a new effort to move forward, to unite all of our citizens – every single one of our citizens. As a result of the work we’ve done, everyone can now

have a share, a stake in this country as it has never happened before,he declared. Dr. Brandy emphasized that the document is an effort of over two years of work based on studies, wide-range broad-based consultations through the involvement of all of Liberians, stakeholders and international partners. He attributed the success of the drafting process to the commitment of his fellow Board of Commissioners and the support that all Liberians gave the Commission during the exercise. The two-day conference, held May 20-21 under the theme-Know Your Land Rights, brought together over 750 delegates, including superintendents, city mayors, township and district commissioners, traditional leaders, elders, women and youth groups, civil society organizations, resident land surveyors, among others, from all 15 Liberian counties. President Johnson reiterated that while this Land Policy addresses inequities of the past, it also provides a clear vision of where Liberians want to go with their land sector. She thanked the Land Commission for being resolute and getting the Liberian people involved in the drafting process, and hoped that citizens’ participation will be paramount at all times in addressing land conflicts or potential conflict situations. The Land Commission, an autonomous government agency, was established by an Act of the Legislature in August 2009, with a five-year life-span. Its mandate is to propose, advocate and coordinate reforms of land policy, laws and programs in Liberia. Its goal is to develop comprehensive national land tenure and land use system that will provide equitable access to land and security of tenure so as to facilitate inclusive and sustained growth and development, ensure peace and security, and provide sustainable management of the environment. UN-Habitat will continue to support the work of the Land Commission.

This newsletter is published by the Global Land Tool Network for its Partners. For more information, please contact: GLTN Secretariat, Facilitated by UN-Habitat P.O. Box 30030 Nairobi Kenya. Tel: +254 20 762 5199 Web: Email:

GLTN Newsletter Issue #6 (July - 2013)  

The 6th issue of the GLTN newsletter is now out. In this edition; - Surveying at the core of securing land and property for all- Teo - Ara...

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