The United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Land Administration to Nurture Development (LAND) project in Ethiopia is a five-year intervention designed to build upon the success of its two previous land tenure and property rights (LTPR) interventions. Project activities are implemented with and through Land Administration and Use Directorate under the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LAUD/MoANR) at the national level and the regional land administration bureaus of Amhara, Oromia, SNNP and Tigray in the country’s highlands and the predominantly pastoral regions of Afar and Somali.
LAND has been advocating for an overarching and comprehensive national land utilization policy that provides a framework for a holistic, regulated, and integrated use of land to advance social and economic development of the country. The policy development process reached another milestone during the reporting period, as the Prime Minister officially announced the country’s decision to develop a comprehensive national land use policy that provides a framework for a holistic and sustainable use of land to achieve social and economic development. The Prime Minister made the announcement at a high-level meeting held in his office on June 9, 2016.
The Prime Minister, who also chaired the meeting, said, “Land use policy is at the heart of all development endeavors that aim to bring about economic transformation. Our success in achieving the transformation depends on the effective use of our land according to its potential.” Accordingly, he officially ordered the development of a comprehensive national land use policy immediately and a national land use plan within the coming three years. He also urged all federal and regional government officials to ensure that the country’s land and natural resources are put to their best use until the policy comes into effect and the national land use plan is implemented. More than 250 participants including ministers, regional presidents, the Prime Minister’s senior advisors and leaders of renowned academic institutions in the country attended the high-level event.
Two committees in charge of the policy development were set up. The first is a technical committee which is composed of all ministries and government agencies that have a mandate on using or regulating the use of land and natural resources.
LAND has engaged an Ethiopian consultant to provide the EMA with technical assistance to rehabilitate and make it’s continuously operating reference stations (CORS) fully operational. The consultant assisted EMA to resolve telecommunication and power supply issues that have hampered proper functioning of its CORS. LAND is procuring a server, power backups and associated equipment to ensure the sustainable operation of EMA’s four CORS stations that were thus rehabilitated. The consultant has submitted the draft proposal on the expansion of
The consultant has submitted the draft proposal on the expansion of geodetic network of the country based on CORS Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) on short-, medium- and long-term plans. The draft document was submitted to EMA with an official letter requesting their comments, and it was also circulated among LAND staffs. After reviewing the proposal, EMA expressed its satisfaction on the document in an official letter sent to LAND. The consultant is working to incorporate minor comments provided to him by LAND & EMA. The consultant is also writing a progress report on capacity building program supported by LAND. Upon receiving the final document, LAND will organize a one-day stakeholders workshop.
Concurrent with the development of the project proposal which aims to sustainably operate the rehabilitated CORS stations, LAND has initiated procurement of items recommended by the consultant. Accordingly, LAND has bought 8 selected car batteries (60Amp), and the purchase of a server and its accessories and power backups is in the pipeline.
Many professional staff in regional LALU agencies do not have formal training in land administration and land use planning. In FY 2014, LAND subcontracted ILA/BDU to develop and deliver summer courses to upgrade skills of existing federal and regional staff at M.Sc. levels. To meet M.Sc. requirements, the program includes classroom instruction over the course of two summers, one take home assignment, and delivery of a research thesis.
Originally, the plan was to train 84 candidates in two rounds but in the course of 2015 one candidate from each group had dropped out as reported in the last quarter but then the one from the second group was readmitted. Forty-one trainees from the first group are conducting research for their respective thesis and are expected to graduate by September/October 2016. The second group of 42 students has completed their first session at the ILA/BDU. The students were tasked to complete take-home assignments in parallel with their official duties in their respective land administration bureaus. They have completed their assignment and reported to ILA and attended tutorial sessions as planned in April 2016 at ILA/BDU.
The Afar Regional Pastoral Advisory Committee (APAC) was established and an orientation on its roles and functions was provided. The rationale for the Afar regional and woreda APACs is that there is little national and international experience in pastoral land registration, demarcation, and certification. The establishment of APAC can also provide the opportunity to test and refine public information and awareness messages. This will help ensure clear messages appropriate to local customs are conveyed to members of the community. Eleven relevant sector offices, NGOs, projects, and research institutes were suggested for membership in the APAC and endorsed by the inaugural meeting. These include: Head of the Afar Environmental Protection, Rural Land Administration and Use Agency (EPLAUA) or his designee (Chairperson); Director of the Land Administration and Use Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture or his designee; Chairperson of the Afar Pastoral Council; the USAID supervisors of the LAND and PRIME projects; GIZ Representative; LAND Chief of Party (COP), the LAND project serves as the secretariat of APAC; the Afar NRS President’s Office Representative; Pastoral Affairs Committee Chairperson; Pastoralist and Agro-pastoralist Research Institute ; Water Resource Development Bureau; and Watershed Management and Resettlement Coordination Office.
The woreda APACs were also formed in the two pilot woredas, Chifra and Amibara early June. Both the regional and woreda APACs will meet quarterly (on a regular basis). LAND will serve as the regional APAC Secretariat.