Ethiopia Land Administration to Nurture Development (LAND) UPDATE: April 2015

The “LAND UPDATE” is an electronic newsletter produced by the Ethiopia Land Administration to Nurture Development (LAND) project. The LAND project works at the national and regional levels of government to further improve the legal and regulatory framework related to land tenure and property rights and thereby support the Government of Ethiopia’s and USAID’s goal of increasing economic growth, particularly agricultural sector growth, improving rural resiliency, and improving governance. LAND uses a variety of activities to strengthen capacity of land administration and land use institutions. In addition, LAND supports activities focusing on securing rights to community lands, strengthening capacity of community members to manage their natural resource assets.

Strengthening the Capacity of Ethiopian Mapping Agency

LAND is supporting the Ethiopian Mapping Agency (EMA) to operate its continuously operating reference stations (CORS) to service the growing demands for geospatial information such as maps, satellite images and geodata sets for land surveying and GIS applications in Ethiopia. EMA has been providing geospatial information and managing the country’s fundamental geo-information data sets. It has a plan to expand the existing geodetic network in order to respond to the pressing needs of private and public sectors for accurate and real time multi-purpose spatial data, using CORS, and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).

For instance, the Land Administration and Use Directorate (LAUD) of MOA is overseeing the surveying and registration of 50 million rural parcels in the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II). Applying such effective technology is essential to conduct accurate parcel boundary, demarcation, surveying and registration of rural land, which enhances land use rights security, and generate rural land information that will be used for multiple development purposes in both rural and urban areas.

The use of CORS enables increasing the level of accuracy of data obtained by various GPS technologies. Previously, EMA had established four CORS with assistance of USAID and made data from these stations available to the public through the national geodetic survey (NGS) website. However, not all the CORS were fully operational due to internet problem and limited capacity of EMA to manage them. LAND provided technical assistance by a local consultant to rehabilitate the CORS. The four existing CORS in Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Jimma and Gondar have now become fully operational and begun streaming raw data continuously into the server located at EMA.

In addition, the consultant was tasked to build the capacity of EMA staff and support preparation of a project proposal for CORS geodetic network development in Ethiopia. Accordingly, the CORS training was jointly organized by LAND, EMA and MoA, for 20 staff to build their capacity in establishing, maintaining, troubleshooting and operating CORS infrastructure and providing online positioning user service. The training was given at the Institute of Geophysics, Space Sciences and Astronomy (IGSSA) of Addis Ababa University (AAU), from 1st December 2014 to 6th January 2015.

The CORS training also included a practical exercise of setting up CORS which increased the number of CORS stations in the country by two. Setting up the CORS on the roof of IGSSA building was successfully completed during the training and had started streaming data. His Excellency Ato Selishi Getahun, State Minister, Ministry of Agriculture gave the CORS trainees a certificate of participation at a graduation ceremony held on 8 January 2015. The ceremony was also attended by Mr. Cullen Hughes, Deputy Director of Economic Growth & Transformation Office at USAID/ Ethiopia, Ato Sultan Mohammed, Director of EMA, Ato Tigistu G/Meskel, Director of MoA Land Administration and Land Use Directorate and Dr. Solomon Bekure, LAND COP.

EMA plans to establish 30 Zero-order, 75 first order, and about 10,000 second and third order geodetic control points and 12 COR stations. Moreover, it needs to coordinate outputs from CORS operated by other institutions such as universities and development projects. Currently there are 30 CORS operated by Addis Ababa University and one CORS by Bahir Dar University, which were established for teaching, learning and research purposes. The trained staff will enable EMA operate its CORS and provide services.

Yared Agidew was among the trainees. After receiving advanced diploma in surveying, he has been working as a surveyor for the last six years. Currently he is a team leader and is often assigned to manage projects at the various government ministries. He said “I received a number of trainings before but this one excels as it covers everything from the scratch. I learnt how control stations are coordinated and work together in harmony. It advanced my knowledge of surveying and answers the questions I have had for long. For instance we use 10 degree as GPS elevation mask and I have been doing that for six years, but it is only now that I understand why.”

He said he would apply the knowledge from the training and brief his team and other colleagues on CORS. Like other trainees, Yared expressed his appreciation for the trainer, Dr. Elias Lewi, for his excellent and comprehensive delivery. He added, “Learning from an Ethiopian trainer helped me have practical and contextual knowledge as he drew concrete and relatable examples and experiences.”

LAND will continue to support EMA with a refresher course for staff and providing technical assistance in preparing a long-term project proposal for densification of the CORS network in Ethiopia so that EMA will be able to provide countrywide coverage of online positioning user services (OPUS).

Formation of a National Taskforce on Women’s Land Rights

Although the 1994 Ethiopian Federal Constitution ensures that Ethiopian women have equal rights as those of their male counterparts, women in Ethiopia still face obstacles to secure their land rights due to limited awareness of women’s land rights and inadequate participation of women in land related processes in many parts of the country. And yet, there is no women’s group working on policy issues related to women’s land rights. LAND supported the establishment of a task force on women’s Land Right to bridge this gap.

The objective of the Taskforce is to deliberate on women’s land rights issues in order to inform formulation and implementation of land policy and legislation in Ethiopia. It will identify customary, legal and regulatory constraints affecting women’s rights to access and use land and make recommendations to policy makers and legislators on how they could be addressed. As a voice for women’s inheritance and land rights, the Taskforce will review and comment on forthcoming laws and regulations and make recommendations to ensure that the laws are in place and implemented to promote the realization of women’s land rights.

The Taskforce has 20 members representing various sectors including the Ministries of Agriculture, Justice, Women, Children and Youth Affairs, Federal Supreme Court, Oromia Pastoral Development Commission, USAID/Ethiopia, UN/WOMEN, LIFT and PRIME projects and civil society groups such as the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association. In addition, it has professionals with land administration and legal background as members.

The Taskforce took its first step with an inception workshop that was held on 5 -6 February, 2015 in Bishoftu town in which 19 people (7 of whom were men) participated. Women’s Affairs Directorate of Ministry of Agriculture was selected as the Chair of the taskforce and Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs as Vice Chair. The draft memorandum of understanding and a work plan were discussed.

In addition, the Taskforce established a “Women Land Desk” within the Ministry of Agriculture, Women’s Affairs Directorate to serve as a technical resource for both the ministry and the Taskforce. Institutionalizing the desk within the Ministry of Agriculture, is believed to sustain the work and the impact of the taskforce in the future.

In addition, participants were briefed on the context of their engagement in the land policy and legislation reform process, and provided with an overview on some of the most critical issues of women and other vulnerable groups in exercising their land rights. Experiences of similar task forces in Rwanda and Liberia were also presented.

Workshop on Land Expropriation, Valuation and Compensation Practices

Land Administration and Use Directorate of Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and the LAND project jointly organized a workshop on land expropriation, valuation and compensation practices in Ethiopia on the 12 – 13 of March 2015 in Adama town. The main purpose of the workshop was to discuss the experiences of the regional states and city administrations and make recommendations to improve the policy implementation frameworks. In 2005, the Federal Government of Ethiopia issued

Expropriation of Lands for Public Purposes and Payment of Compensation Proclamation No. 455 to harmonize the different methods and practices of regional states in land taking, valuation of property and payment of compensation. The Government issued implementing regulation No. 135 in 2007 and the regional states were given the power to issue their own guidelines to implement these laws. However, only Amhara and Tigray regional states have issued their guidelines and there has been variation in implementation of the law not only from region to region, but also within the region across different land takings.

Ato Tigistu Gebremeskel, Land Administration and Use Directorate, MoA, stated that the workshop is organized to share regions’ experiences in implementing the law and discuss issues such as reasons behind the variation in the implementation of the law and what issues that were not anticipated cropped up.

The two-day workshop drew 58 participants (six female) from federal ministries (Agriculture, Urban Development and Construction, Federal Affairs, Justice and Women, Children and Youth Affairs), regional states (Amhara, Beneshangul-Gumuz, Gambela, Oromia, SNNP, Somali, Tigray, and Harrari) and Dire Dawa City Administration, and representatives of academia and research organizations (Bahir Dar, Haramaya, Mekelle and Hawassa universities, and Ethiopian Agricultural Research Institute) and other stakeholders. Most of the participants had been involved in implementing the regulations on land administration and practicing valuation and compensation in different parts of the country. Ato Tigistu remarked that “the key outcome of the workshop is providing evidence-based policy recommendations.”

Appreciating the representation of the various relevant stakeholders, Dr. Zemen Haddis, from USAID, said, “The land expropriation, valuation and compensation workshop can be seen as a good example of LAND’s joint work with practitioners, policy makers and academic institutions. Bringing all stakeholders to this workshop is a good start and USAID will strengthen its support for such joint discussions.”

Dr. Solomon Bekure, stated that the workshop was timely and provided a rare opportunity of discussing the experience gained in implementing the regulations and providing suggestions for improvement. He shared the international experiences on land expropriation valuation and compensation in his presentation.

He emphasized that the international best practice principle is that the compensation and assistance given to displaced people by expropriation should restore their standard of living to what it was before expropriation. Whenever possible, their wellbeing should be better off than it was before expropriation. Prior to the workshop, regional states and the city administration of Dire Dawa conducted assessment on the implementation of proclamation No. 455 in their respective jurisdictions and they presented the outcome of their assessment

at the workshop. Dr. Daniel Ambaye of the Institute of Land Administration, Bahir Dar University, presented a synthesis of the experiences of the regions outlining their similarities, differences and gaps. The presentations were followed by group and plenary discussions. Reccomendation were made to amend the expropriation laws; improve the expropriation, valuation and compensation procedures; improve modes of compensation; ensure proper rehabilitation of affected people; establish appropriate institutions for validation and compensation; and conduct training and capacity building of implementation agencies.