The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Ethiopia Feed the Future Ethiopia Land Governance Activity is a five-year, $10.9 million Task Order under the Strengthening Tenure and Resource Rights II (STARR II) Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Contract implemented by Tetra Tech. This first Annual Report summarizes progress made to implement the Activity and the results achieved during the Fiscal Year 2020 (October 1, 2019 – September 30, 2020). The Activity’s purpose is to provide support to the Government of Ethiopia (GoE), its regions, and citizens to strengthen land governance, increase incomes, reduce conflict, and support well- planned urbanization, thereby contributing to the country’s socio-economic development plans.
In March 2020, the GoE declared a state of emergency, restricted domestic travel, issued a national work-at-home order, and banned large congregations to mitigate the spread of Novel Coronavirus of 2019 (COVID-19). Based on these events, the Activity developed and implemented contingency planning to (1) protect the health, safety, and well-being of Activity staff and (2) ensure continuity of operations. These actions enabled the Activity to continue to implement and achieve results.
Important achievements during the first year of implementation include supporting the GoE reform federal and regional legislation governing both rural and urban land rights. The reforms will regulate the payment of fair and adequate compensation and resettlement assistance for government expropriation of land, introduce land tenure forms most suitable for agricultural development, and regularize informal rights in urban and peri-urban areas to strengthen Ethiopia’s land governance system.
The Activity assisted the GoE to enact and implement provisions of the Expropriation, Valuation, Compensation, and Resettlement Proclamation No.1161/2019 (developed with assistance from the predecessor USAID Land Administration to Nurture Development (LAND) Project) and to draft a regulation for land valuation. The Activity then provided training to a total of 39 federal and regional land administration officials to strengthen their capacity to implement the provisions of the new legislation. The Activity analyzed the rural land administration proclamations and regulations of the Amhara; Oromia; Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples (SNNP); and Tigray National Regional States (NRSs) to identify amendments that will be required to bring their legislation into conformity with the federal land administration proclamation once it is passed. The Activity has also assessed the urban legal framework to inform its support to develop a draft Urban Lands Registration Proclamation and a regulation to formalize rights in urban and peri-urban areas. Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture invited the Activity’s Chief of Party (COP) to serve on its Advisory Panel to guide substantive revisions to Ethiopia’s rural land policies and legislation.
Through its LAND intervention, USAID assisted the Oromia NRS Land Bureau to develop innovative legislation and participatory approaches to successfully pilot, for the first time in Ethiopia, demarcation, and registration of pastoral communities’ communal land rights. The Activity is replicating and scaling the piloted approaches. While COVID-19 work-at-home orders were in effect, the Activity agreed the modalities to remotely support the Land Bureau to carry out field work to demarcate the Gomolle dheeda (grazing unit). Building on the methodologies and capacities developed under the predecessor USAID Land Administration to Nurture Development (LAND) Project, the Activity helped guide Oromia officials to establish regional and zonal pastoral advisory committees and initiate creation awareness campaigns. Following social distancing protocols, the Activity supported a two-day orientation workshop to Oromia Land Bureau heads and senior management; and a seven-day practical, hands-on refresher course for Land Bureau surveyors originally trained by LAND to carry out field work independently with the Activity providing only advice and guidance. It is expected the field work will begin in November 2020.
Through the Activity, USAID is assisting the GoE to pilot methodologies to improve efficiency and reduce the costs of systematic urban land adjudication and registration (ULAR) using appropriate “fit for purpose” technologies. The Activity provided the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction (MoUDC) with analysis of ULAR processes and workflows to identify where new technologies and tools could be introduced to help make ULAR more efficient and participatory. The Activity is collaborating with the MoUDC to finalize a decision-making framework incorporating a vendor-neutral, technology agnostic approach and objective evaluation criteria to assess available technologies’ total costs and potential for sustainability and scalability to inform MoUDC’s selection of the appropriate technologies. After the technology is selected, the Activity will support a pilot to test its performance and improved workflows in Dukem town, Oromia NRS in the coming year.
The Activity successfully engaged federal and regional Women’s Land Task Forces (WLTF) established under LAND to strengthen provisions in new legislation to promote gender equity and youth’s access to land. WLTF members actively participated in legislative drafting committees the Activity supported and provided analysis and technical inputs to help shape legislation. The Activity also engaged WLTF representatives and gender advisors in land bureaus to identify and mitigate potential risks that women and youth could be excluded from participating and benefiting from ULAR processes; assess the performance of pastoral Community Land Governance Entities (CLGEs) established under LAND to help strengthen procedures to strengthen women and youth access to rangeland resources in the pastoral landholdings the Activity will help demarcate and register, and to develop baseline data collection tools to inform development of legislation in new regions to strengthen pastoral communities’ land rights.
Although the Activity assisted the GoE to achieve important results under extraordinarily difficult conditions, it fell short on a number of first-year performance indicator targets and did not complete its baseline data collection processes. It is noted, however, that the overwhelming majority (over 80%) of indicators whose actuals deviated from targets related to demarcation and registration of pastoral landholdings and urban parcels. Registration activities are led by government implementing partners. A combination of GoE imposed work-at-home orders and travel restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as emergencies in addition to the pandemic that required immediate response of government staff prevented them from conducting the field work and delayed implementation of these activities over the course of the year.