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Land Tenure Center At UW-Madison To Begin Projects In Africa, Caribbean

The Land Tenure Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been awarded $2.5 million for research and technical assistance in two regions of the world. The LTC, a global resource institution promoting equitable access to land, begins its advisory work on new projects in Zimbabwe, in southern Africa, and in Trinidad and Tobago, in the Caribbean. Each project builds on the Center”s extensive experience with land reform and land administration in these regions.

In Zimbabwe, the goal of the Land Reform and Resettlement Program is to advance economic growth and reduce poverty. The program is a collaborative effort to find policies that improve land markets, land rights, and land security. The $1.5 million project over three years will assist the government of Zimbabwe with a broad range of issues and will be under the direction of LTC staff members John W. Bruce and Michael J. Roth.

The rationale for this program of assistance was established in 1998 at an International Donors Conference, where participants unanimously endorsed the need for land reform and resettlement in Zimbabwe for the purposes of poverty reduction, economic growth, and stability.

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As with all its projects, LTC is building partnerships with local experts and governmental bodies. The Zimbabwe program follows a three-pronged model of collaboration: LTC will work with governmental sub-cabinet agencies to define priorities and ensure internal coordination, with the Department of Lands and Ministry of Lands and Agriculture on matters of general policy and technical assistance, and with non-governmental organizations to provide research and policy development advice and to build direct linkages with groups that will benefit from the project. One component of the project will provide workshops for interaction between land recipients and land stakeholders.

The Zimbabwe program is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development Regional Center for Southern Africa. The U.S. Agency for International Development administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.

In Trinidad and Tobago, LTC is also working in collaboration on a land use and policy administration project. The Trinidad project is a $1 million, two-year, team effort with the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, Ordnance Survey International in Great Britain, Associates for Caribbean Transformation in Trinidad and Tobago, and Terra Institute in Wisconsin. Collaborators in Trinidad and Tobago are the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources, as well as other government institutions and organizations involved in land management and land policy. The project will be under the direction of LTC staff member J. David Stanfield.

The project focuses on a reorganization of Trinidad and Tobago”s land administration framework, with the goal of establishing a single agency responsible for land management, implementing a new planning and development law, and drafting technical regulations for local surveying professionals. Based on a prior project undertaken by LTC in 1992 for the government of Trinidad and Tobago, LTC goes into this project with substantial understanding of the land administration and survey system in the country.

Since 1962, the Land Tenure Center has served as a global resource institution on issues relating to land ownership, land rights, land access, and land use. The Center”s mission is to foster widespread and equitable access to land with the understanding that this foundation is basic to viable economic, social, political, and environmental systems.