Strengthening Property Rights
Strengthening property rights is fundamental to improving development prospects. Improvements in land tenure security can deliver important benefits to landowners, land users, investors, government and society as a whole. These include fewer disputes over land, access to finance for new businesses or housing, and greater investment by government in public services and infrastructure, such as roads, schools, hospitals, water and sanitation.
In Asia, Australia has had considerable success in this area through land titling programs. In Pacific, the problem is more difficult to address. This is because widespread customary land ownership is inherently complex and also fundamental to the cultural identity of many Pacific island people.
There is, however, an emerging recognition from a number of countries and communities in the Pacific region that their present and future prospects depend on sensible and sustainable development of traditional lands. Land is crucial for food production, shelter, community development and economic wealth. For customary landowners and for countries as a whole, the potential social and economic benefits of making more land available for development are enormous.
Australia is implementing a Pacific Land Program which is providing assistance to countries interested in reforming their land systems.
Pacific Land Program
The Pacific Land Program (PLP) is being implemented in two phases.
Started in 2006 and involved documenting innovative practices and problems in land tenure in the region. The results of this process are contained in a report called
Making Land Work that was launched at a conference in Vanuatu (12–13 June 2008).
Started in 2008 and involved the investment of $54 million over four years to assist countries who wish to strengthen their land tenure systems. Work has already commenced with four countries: Papua New Guinea; Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Timor-Leste. Australia will also implement two regional activities under the program which include education and training for land professionals and support for activities to better manage urbanisation. The
Making Land Work publication will be used as a guide for the implementation of Phase II of the PLP.
Last reviewed: 1 November, 2013