February 03, 2016

In 2002 the RGC put in place the 15-year Land Administration, Management and Distribution Program (LAMPD), consisting of a comprehensive set of proposed reforms in land policy, systematic land registration, management of State lands, grants of social concessions to the landless, reform of land taxation,  land use planning procedures, the identification of economic zones and housing and resettlement policy. CIDA responded with a major initiative to assist Cambodia with this effort, designing its program to be aligned with the Land Management and Administration Project (LMAP), a coordinated effort involving Canada, Finland, Sweden, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.  

With its partner, McElhanney Consulting Services of Vancouver,  Canada GeoSpatial International, of Burlington, Canada, has created “The Canadian Partnership”.  With the support of a financial contribution of CDN$ 1.135M by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Partnership will complete a demonstration project (Land Administration in Mine Affected Areas or LAMAA), in Banteay Mean Chey Province, to complete systematic registration of lands in areas affected by land mines/UXO’s and promote productive use of previously contaminated lands as they are cleared of Mines/UXO’s. The LAMAA Project will focus on land in the Districts of Thmar Pouk and Svay Chek in Banteay Mean Chey Province. Actual number of 3575 titles registered and distributed to the people since 2004. 

Implementation of LMAP-Canada began in 2007. As the project transitioned from “LMAP” to “LASSP”, the Canadian project contribution also transitioned to become “CLASP”, the Cambodia Land Administration Support Project.  CLASP has supported LASSP in achieving its goals through capacity development and financial assistance while directly supporting Systematic Land Registration in five Provinces (Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat and Kampot). 

The CLASP project was designed to provide Canadian Government funds of $10 million over five years through the Canadian International Development Agency to land administration in Cambodia. Targeted of 202,850 titles registered at end of 2011 and since early 2008, CLASP has provided capacity development and provision of resources to land policy and the corresponding regulatory framework, to institutional development of the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction (MLMUPC), to land valuation and land market development, as well as to the national land titling program and development of a modern land registration system. 

A CLASP project extension from January 1, 2012 to June 28, 2013 allocated an additional amount of $1,500,000 for Indigenous Collective Land Registration (ICLR) in Mondulkiri Province  (Ou Chra, Gati, Srelovi, Ou Rona, and Sre Khatum  Communities),  in order  to ensure the sustainability of previous project activities.

The project has been on track in achieving its results. At the immediate outcome level, CLASP contributed to the land aw, policies and related regulations (Component One) by providing technical assistance for development of the gender strategy within the White Paper on Land as well as technical assistance for the first draft of the land valuation policy, and supported the Ministry’s Land Valuation office in drafting of revisions to the immovable properties valuation policy. CLASP contributed significantly to the availability of quicker, more affordable, and higher quality land administration services in a larger part of the country (Component Two) through  support to systematic land registration (SLR).

The CLASP provinces provided examples of best practice, as staff were paid in a timely and transparent manner, which contributed to strong motivation to complete the titling process.  

The project exceeded its objectives for Component Three through direct support to the distribution of nearly 236,000 titles, with a further 19,700 titles registered.  The five CLASP provinces contributed 12.8% of the total amount of funding to SLR, KHR 1,383,966,223 or USD 346,000.  As of the end of June 2013, CLASP had supported 9.4% of titles registered under SLR.   The project was able to complete indigenous collective land registration (ICLR) for five indigenous communities in Keo Seima District, Mondulkiri Province. As SLR proceeds rapidly within LASSP, ensuring the sustainability of land registration is the next step, through establishing a viable system of subsequent registration.  By April 2012, the accumulated number of subsequent registrations was just under 20,000 parcels.  However, the number of subsequent land transactions is unclear as a great many transactions take place informally. 

CLASP achievements in Land Valuation (Component Five) include capacity building within MLMUPC to undertake mass appraisal and apply international land valuation systems and standards.  CLASP handed over the Land Valuation component of the project to Finnmap in June 2012. Finnish technical assistance is working with the Ministry to develop a simple, comprehensive land valuation system relevant to Cambodia’s needs, based on the policy foundation laid by CLASP and the CLASP contributions to capacity of Ministry staff. CLASP’s survey industry and quality assurance expert has mapped out the necessary steps for the development of a private survey industry. 

There have been a number of issues external to CLASP that have had an impact on the project, including the withdrawal of the World Bank from the Cambodian LMAP activities in 2009, and ongoing human rights issues connected to land disputes and forced evictions. Perhaps the most pressing concern was the implementation of the Cambodian Prime Minister’s Directive One, in June 2012.  Under the motto “old policies - new action”, the Prime Minister initiated a massive land registration campaign on untitled former State forest land. 

The campaign was implemented to provide property titles to unauthorized settlers and other long-term users of these lands, including those inside economic land concessions, who had been considered illegal before. Overall, CLASP staff considered the effort to legitimize occupation of State land by poor households as a benefit, while recognizing that there have been mistakes made in the process, but the initiative slowed the implementation of SLR considerably, as human resources and equipment were diverted to the PM’s campaign.

There were a number of lessons learned during the project: (1) Political will from the highest levels is essential in order to implement a national land registration project and achieve the target number of titles.  (2) A  land administration project requires a strong human rights approach to land titling, so that all potential beneficiaries have legally supported recourse when they feel their rights are not being recognized. (3) Ongoing dialogue with, and training of, participants and stakeholders such as the media and NGOs is essential to project sustainability to explain basic concepts, objectives and practices of titling projects, including realistic expectations of outcomes. (4) Learning and knowledge transfer are critical to effectiveness in projects such as CLASP.  For example, documentation and monitoring of the ICLR process in Mondulkiri provided valuable information about gaps in stakeholder 3 awareness of the registration process. (5) The time and effort required to implement a land valuation system cannot be underestimated, as land valuation will usually require an agreement on the mandated responsibility of multiple Ministries.  (6) Use of local staff and knowledge contributed to efficiency in SLR, while flexible funding arrangements contributed to project effectiveness.  The project has documented a number of best practices, which include the CLASP model in implementing ICLR, implementation of mass appraisal within a land valuation system, and promotion of leadership for women.

CLASP has been active in promoting gender mainstreaming in the land sector, through a bottom-up and top-down approach that involved integration of gender concerns into the SLR and ICLR processes, building capacity in gender analysis and mainstreaming amongst technical and managerial staff of MLMUPC at both the central and provincial levels, and promoting gender equality with senior managers and leaders in the Ministry.  CLASP has provided technical assistance to the Gender Mainstreaming Action Group in the Ministry, and has supported the objectives of successive Gender Mainstreaming Action Plans.  Throughout the project, CLASP integrated environmental activities and analyzed impacts on the project of systematic land registration procedures and indigenous community-based processes for collecting and documenting land use and collective land titling information. CLASP also applied a Strategic Environmental Assessment that identified key environmental aspects to be addressed in land management and administration as well as in land distribution.

The governance model of the project has worked relatively well for CLASP.  Following the departure of the World Bank from the original LMAP-Cambodia project, the establishment of a partnership coalition with the governments of Canada, Finland, Germany, Cambodia and their respective executing/implementing agencies (McElhanney/SALASAN, Finnmap, GIZ and MLMUPC) led to a smoother working relationship with the Ministry under the establishment of LASSP. The CLASP Mid-Term Project  Evaluation  commented that “The strength of the partnership (i.e. the development partners with MLMUPC) allowed the Government partner to make its own decisions, exercising its 'right to error' as it learned by doing.  This is the paramount achievement of the partners in LASSP/CLASP, the basis on which everything else could be built.”

Contribution of CLASP Activities to  LASSP’s  Output:  CLASP supported systematic land registration in three provinces, starting in January, 2008 and added two more provinces at the end of 2010.  SLR activities were completed by CLASP in December 2011.  The following table provides information to June 2013 by province, as provided by the Provincial Directors:

Last but not least, Canada also played a key role in TWG Land as DPs Co-Lead Facilitator along with Germany to coordinate sector-wide approach on cross-cutting issues and program-based approach on land. Canada contributed part of its financial resources to support the functioning of TWG Land since 2009 until 2012 by providing nation expert and office equipment to sustain TWG Land operations in the long run.

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