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USING THIS LAND SECTOR REVIEW
Read the whole review or jump to any section using the main headings below and the sidebar on the left. Or you can download a complete copy of this sector review as a pdf document to read separately.
Land Sector review as at 7-10-2018
Land is consistently ranked among the sectors where people most often report having to pay bribes to access services, according to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer. The Land Portal has summarised the latest available (dated 2013) global data here, which shows that the incidence of bribes paid for land services can be over 50% in countries such as Cambodia, India and Pakistan.
Tackling corruption in the administration and processes for land management is a critical area for reform because of its broad impact on socioeconomic development. The Food and Agricultural Organisation (2009) summarises the consequences of not addressing this problem and why it matters: ‘Weak (land) governance has adverse consequences for society…. Weak governance in land tenure tends to flourish where the law is complex, inconsistent or obsolete, where people who work in land agencies lack motivation and are poorly trained and paid, or where decision-making processes are opaque and civil society is weak. Left unaddressed, land-related grievances can degenerate into violence and conflict’
At the same time, implementing reforms in land management is one of the most challenging areas for a country or organisation’s anti-corruption programmes. The problem of corruption in the sector illustrates well the political challenges associated with bringing about change to strongly rooted societal structures as well the technical capacity needed to deliver reforms. Unambiguous political support and technical capability are often precisely the things that are lacking in the societies worst affected by this problem.
The review primarily looks at the land sector in developing countries, where the problems tend to be most severe and the most guidance on curbing corruption issues is available. Corruption in the land sector is equally a problem in developed countries; it simply takes a less visible form. Developed countries can also provide some excellent examples of reforms implemented in practice. You will therefore find reform examples throughout the review covering both developed and developing countries.
AUTHORS AND CONTRIBUTORS
The originating author of this review is Tom Shipley, who is one of the editors of CurbingCorruption and is currently a PhD candidate at the Sussex Centre for the Study of Corruption. Additional contributions have been made by Mark Pyman.
FOCUS on the specific corruption issues - Guidance summary
The corruption challenge needs first to be focused – disaggregated – into specific issues. Our experience is that there are 20-40 different issues in each sector, recognisable to those working in it. They can then be organised into an easily comprehensible format – a typology. The reforming group uses the one-page typology as the starting point for discussion and for analysing them: their scale, importance, context, avoidability and solubility. You can use this as the basis for building a shared understanding of the impact of the corruption.
Start by disaggregating the different corruption types that you are faced with. You can do this in the following way:
You can read more guidance on FOCUS here.
The Foreign Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and Transparency International (2011) have together produced the most comprehensive typology of corruption issues in land systems available currently. The diagram below is based on the DFID (2016) paper, which in turn is based on the 2011 FAO/TI typology, listing the specific forms of corruption in land governance.
And here is the tabular version of the typology
2. Bribery of judicial authorities
3. Favouritism and nepotism by land in decision-making by land administration officials
4. Elite capture and preferential access to land titling schemes
5. Manipulation and interference of land records, land adjudication
and dispute resolution in favour of influential people and investors
6. Manipulation of land valuation to secure higher prices and/or reduce compensation payable
7. Fraud and production of false land claim documentation, certificates and titles
8. Embezzlement of public finance for land administration and land revenues by public officials and politicians
9. Use of public institutions as a platform for private practice (e.g. by surveyors and planners)
10. Manipulation in public procurement of land administration services by officials and politicians to win private contracts
12. Accumulation of control over land revenues by chiefs and influential people
13. Multiple allocations of the same plots customary authorities land
14. Conversion of customary and rural land for urban development as a means of revenue generation: rent-seeking by officials as gatekeepers for conversion and exploitation of price premia and differentials between customary/titled land in land disposals by chiefs and influential people
15. Reluctance of officials to provide land services to the customary sector, owing to limited willingness to pay
16. National institutions and business interests override local land rights
18. Manipulation of compulsory land acquisition and compensation processes by government officials and investors
19. Inadequate legal framework for conversion of customary to public to private land
20. Irregular conversion of property and land classification status by government officials
22. Abuse of government officials’ discretionary power to propose real estate and land developments that increase the value of their personal property
23. Acquisition of land through state capture and/or by investors and developers having received insider information from government officials
24. Bribery of government officials by investors and/or developers
26. Payments of bribes and kickbacks to officials involved in approving land allocations
27. Circumvention of agreed and legally binding consultation procedures
28. Political interference in land acquisition and allocation
In collaboration with Transparency International, the Centre for Rural Development (CRE 2017) has developed a handbook on how to identify and map corruption risks in the land sector. This handbook is a useful resource.
As shown in the table below, the authors propose a nine-step methodology, based around workshops which should bring together a diverse group of individuals with a stake in addressing the corruption issues.
In the same handbook, the CRE apply this methodology to four cases in Kenya. An output from one of these case studies is shown below.
One of the most visible ways in which political corruption in the land sector can manifest itself is in large-scale land acquisitions, often labelled ‘land grabs’, whether undertaken by domestic or external actors. This is a form of corruption in the sector which has received increased attention from campaigning and civil society groups and can also be thought of as a specific category of corruption risk.
Data on large-scale land acquisitions can be found in the Land Matrix Global Observatory database (follow this link). One group of academics (Bujiko et al., 2016) have pulled together cross-country data on large-scale land acquisitions and shown there is a correlation between where these deals take place and countries with weak legal and institutional frameworks. The work suggests some investors target countries which are more vulnerable to improper forms of influence, but that this can be countered by institutional development.
A 2017 report by Global Witness summarises well the main themes and types of corruption in the category of large-scale acquisitions. The report identifies six interconnected phases where corruption can play a role in land leasing and acquisition:
The risks around each of these phases are discussed in detail. The forms of corruption might entail bribery by an investor, collusion between officials and investors or outright expropriation of land, commonly to the detriment of less powerful groups. Here on the right is a brief country case study taken from the report. The report includes recommendations to address this specific category of risk, which in the case of external investment involves coordination of domestic and international measures. We include these recommendations in our section below on interventions.
There are multiple drivers of corruption in land administrative systems. These include unclear or contradictory legal frameworks; complex and lengthy bureaucratic processes for basic services involving multiple agencies in government; inadequately resourced agencies and poorly paid staff; a lack of transparency around citizen rights; and, shaping all these factors, political interests which work against an overhaul of the system (U4, 2016).
A sound analysis of the political economy of a land sector provides a strong grounding to understanding the types of corruption issues present. Political economy analysis is: ‘concerned with the interaction of political and economic processes in a society: the distribution of power and wealth between different groups and individuals, and the processes that create, sustain and transform these relationships over time’ (OECD-DAC definition quoted in DFID, 2009).
This form of analysis is especially valuable in seeking to understand corruption in the land sector because of the way in which land arrangements reflect power structures in a society. Land is universally a valuable commodity. Usually, it is the most powerful individuals who have access to and ownership over land and who might seek to abuse that status to increase their wealth. Individuals who lack influence are those most likely to suffer from corruption impeding access to basic state services for land. A recent report by Transparency International (2018, b.) highlights in particular how women are most at risk and vulnerable to the forms of corruption in the sector. The 2016 analytical paper published by the DFID programme LEGEND (Land: Enhancing Governance for Economic Development) is a good starting point for understanding how to apply political economy analysis in the land sector. The paper presents four dimensions through which corruption in land should be assessed:
What this comes down to is building a picture of the forces at work which are likely to help or stand in the way of measures to address corruption. These are also critical points to consider in developing an overarching strategy for reform in the sector.
The political economy drivers for each of the corruption types is reproduced below (extracted from DFID 2016):
Maintenance of colonial principles and practice in design and management of post-colonial institutions
Under-resourcing of land administration in developing countries
Social and economic inequality and exclusion; illiteracy and asymmetric access to information
Vested interests of politicians, land of cials and land professionals in the maintenance of discretionary authority, opaque systems, and traditional manual technologies
Inadequate incorporation and failures of integration of customary principles and values within modern state institutions; vested interest of customary authorities in politics and business
Rising land values in peri-urban and high value agricultural areas under customary control
Land as one of the only sources of accumulation available to households and business people in rural areas
Interests of national institutions and business people override those of customary landholders and users in national legislation
Asymmetries/ inequalities in access to information, legal awareness, resources and social influence between officials/ traditional leaders/ business people and customary land users
Centralisation of authority over public land
Discretionary authority of public officials over land at multiple levels
Vested interests of national elites in urban development projects
Vested interest of rural community leaders in land development
Encouragement and promotion of private sector investment in development policy
Vested interests of politicians in investment projects
Lack of accountability and responsiveness towards citizens
Inadequate policy and regulatory framework for large-scale agricultural investments in host countries
In its broader work on land governance, the FAO has also advocated political economy analysis as a useful tool for analysing the challenges of reform in the sector. In a 2009 publication the organisation breaks down the key concepts into practical questions which can frame your analysis:
As an example, the FAO looks at the benefits of analysing formal and informal land markets from a political economy perspective. It looks at what you can learn about how markets function (and how they don’t) by understanding the range of land rights that exist and the types of people involved in acquisitions and sales processes: ‘by tracing the flow of payments for different services and by examining how these are factored into prices, formal – and in particular informal – markets can say a lot about power relationships and the political economy of land’.
The same publication includes a template for capturing points from the analysis which could be adapted for your purposes.
The key point is that politics shapes the forms of corruption you will encounter and how amenable these issues are to reform. This may be most visible at the administrative level if land systems have been designed as a means of illicitly capturing rents by political elites. As an illustration of this point, we would recommend a 2017 paper by Paul and Matthew Caruana-Galizia on political corruption in Malta. They argue that political actors have created ‘institutions as rent-collection instruments – not to correct market failures, but to create opportunities for corruption’. In a small country where land is at a premium, they show that restrictive zoning laws and a de jure independent regulator have ‘created opportunities for extensive and endemic corruption in the granting of land development permits in zones that are outside development’.
Specific Reform Measures - guidance summary
Reform measures will always be specific to the particular circumstances. Nonetheless, in order to get ideas and insights, it helps to learn about reforms employed elsewhere and to have a mental model of the type of what sorts of reforms are possible. We recommend you consider each of these eight categories of specific reform approaches:
Talking through with colleagues and stakeholders how each of them might work in your environment enables you to ‘circle around’ the problem, looking at different ways and combinations to tackle it. One feasible option might, for example, consist of some institutional improvement projects, plus strengthening integrity among staff, plus strengthened sanctions and discipline.
You can read more guidance on Specific Reform Measures here.
Your analysis may lead you to conclude that what is needed are changes to the legal and policy framework in the sector. Clarity in land policy and regulation provides a strong basis to other reforms. It may be that establishing or amending the framework is not absolutely focussed on rules around corruption – although it certainly can and should be explicit about the issue – but seeks to improve governance in the sector more generally. The benefits for tackling corruption are that by minimising any ambiguity around rules and rights, there is less opportunity for these to be exploited by corrupt actors.
The World Bank’s (2012) Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF) provides an internationally-recognised set of standards against which policy and regulatory reform can be structured. The legal and institutional framework is one of five core areas covered in the LGAF. This section is divided into six indicators:
Detailed implementation guidance along with country examples can be found at the World Bank’s land governance site.
Guidance: FAO on how to organise a review of land governance policy
The text box below from the FAO (2009) gives some additional guidance on how to organise a review of land policy:
What we have not come across in the work for this review (corrections and suggestions welcome) was particular guidance on how legal and institutional provisions on corruption can be incorporated into the framework for land. This is important to consider, give the role corruption can have in undermining such a framework. Here are some initial questions to consider:
Opportunities for corruption arise around the processes of planning how land will be distributed and developed. This is an important aspect on which to focus reform as the value of land can be dramatically altered by the decisions taken by a limited number of state officials, creating the potential for corrupt interference. For instance, in many cities globally, the conversion of land from agriculture to industrial use, where more limited space is available for the latter, adds significantly to the monetary value of the land, creating an incentive for corrupt behaviour.
Chiodelli & Moroni (2015) have looked at this issue specifically and consider a number of techniques for addressing the problem which could entail varying levels of reform. They discuss the following measures
Examples of the application of these measures in different countries and further debates on their pros and cons are included in the article.
Country assessment reports published under the World Bank Land Governance Framework (available here) are a rich source of information for how different countries have gone about reforms. You might look for useful examples from countries in your immediate region or alternatively pick a particular indicator and make a cross-selection of countries to see how they manage this issue.
We provide here a couple of examples below taken from Peru, as analysed by the World Bank (2012) in their own study of good practice. These are relevant to two key areas of corruption issues: the management of state-owned land and the organisation of public land registries. Again, the examples show that problems still remain, but some positive steps have been made.
Example: Peru - Management of state-owned land
Proinversión will initiate a process of regularization of any land rights to determine the nature of pre-existing claims that may need to be respected or cleared, and the type of land rights that can be granted to the private investor. If illegitimate claims existed, they are cleared. If legitimate pre-existing claims existed, they are treated following the rules for expropriation and compensation. The technical defects of the title are also cleaned (for instance if a track of public land is dispersed in several records with poor descriptions, rectifications in the property registry will be made). The intention of divesting the land is then published in the official gazette, local and international newspapers and a government website.
The terms of bidding (i.e. minimum investment required and minimum bid price for the land) are published for a minimum of 90 days (longer if the project is more complex). Before accepting any bids, bidders must prequalify by proving liquid assets to cover at least 60% of the minimum bid price and intended amount of investment on the land. For prequalified bidders, bids are assessed and ranked by offered price and the amount of projected investment. Monetary offers are then presented, and a winner is declared. Before the signature of the contract, the land has to be paid and a letter of credit covering the amount of the proposed investment is deposited with the Government.
If projects involving the divestiture of public land are at the initiative of private investors, a similar process is followed. In this case, the potential investor has to present a detailed business plan that details the amount of proposed investment and price for the land before a board composed of public and private sector specialists, including the responsible line ministries, especially the Ministry of Agriculture if irrigation is involved. If the proposed project is considered viable and not in conflict with existing regulations, the proposal is published for a minimum of 90 days to allow other potential investors to offer to carry out the project. If any investor comes forward, a public bidding process as described above will be initiated. If, during the 90-day publication period nobody has shown interest in the project, the investor is allowed to proceed as originally proposed’.
Example: Peru - Property register
The system provides for the protection of registrars from political pressure by granting them autonomy in their decisions. However, the application of this principle along with the lack of standardized requirements results in discretionary interpretation of laws. It is exacerbated by understaffing of city registration offices and the complexity of regulations governing transactions that are dispersed among the Civil Code and other non-standardized and frequently changing laws, decrees and regulations. Coordination with other institutions remains weak and no standardized cadastral information is shared with other institutions.
Land agencies are at the centre of management of the sector and are often a focus of anti-corruption reforms. Development of a well-functioning land agency can have multiplying effects in terms of better governance of the sector as whole. In their ideal form land agencies should provide ‘efficient and accessible land registration services, transparent land information, and clear ownership records to prevent disputes’, ensuring an accurate record of property rights (Innovations for Successful Societies, 2018). Like many public bodies, however, the process of reform can be challenging when there is a long history of mismanagement and poor practice is deeply rooted in an agency.
The Innovations for Successful Societies programme (2018) has reviewed five examples of transformation of land agencies. Their study provides valuable indicators for how an agency can make a critical break from a state where corruption is highly prevalent. One of the main lessons from the review is the benefits which stem from establishing largely autonomous, self-sustaining agencies. In some of the examples discussed, such as in Rwanda (see the country section for more detail), the agencies succeeded in generating the own revenue streams from service provision. This loosened their operational dependence on other government ministries or departments and ‘freed managers from the need to negotiate with senior officials in other ministries for a share of any resources that remained’. Critically, (and bearing in the mind the political economic dimensions to reform), this is a measure which didn’t meet with large opposition from within government due to the fact that it no longer had to provide resources to the agency.
The key points from this review of agency reforms related to:
As the new agency’s CEO, Elizabeth Stair led a team of managers that had to oversee the consolidation, design systems to prevent fraud, improve performance, and implement new procedures and technologies to increase speed and transparency. The CEO signed a performance contract with the minister and had to provide quarterly and annual progress reports, and if the agency failed to meet its targets, the CEO could be dismissed. Although the NLA did not directly manage Jamaica’s land titling program until 2017, it collaborated on information sessions and mobile one-stop shops for registration. During its first decade and a half of operation, the National Land Agency significantly reduced processing times and won acclaim for its customer service and innovative use of technology.
Despite these successes, there was still room to improve land tenure security. Stiff documentation requirements, high costs, and limited awareness of the process meant that registration and related services remained out of reach for many Jamaicans’.
Example: Western Australia
Land is a sector where technology is often held out as having a major role to play in addressing corruption issues. The rationale is that automation in processes can have a twofold effect of reducing discretion in decision-making, and therefore susceptibility to corruption, and improving the accuracy and reliability of records, again closing down space for discretion and conflict. There are two main areas in which countries have applied technology to assist in improving land governance where there is also potential for an associated impact of reducing corruption:
Two examples from Nigeria and Rwanda on the application of technology are included in the country reform section, see below.
Example: Abuja, Nigeria
In terms of the practical challenges of implementing such a large-scale project, there was an initial lack of public awareness and understanding around the titling system, which meant that by 2012 only one in eight individuals had picked up their official titles. This led the land authorities to simplify the procedures and registration forms while undertaking a national awareness campaign, increasing the figure for collection of titles to 7 million people.
The case study does not explicitly discuss the impact of the project in terms of reducing corruption but is nevertheless valuable in outlining how the authorities adapted to the practical challenges of the programme and ultimately improved service provision to citizens.
There is reason for caution, however, in viewing technology as an all-encompassing solution to the problem of corruption in the land sector. Many of these measures entail a high degree of finance and resource, which requires judgement to determine if this is the most effective means of achieving the goals of the reform programme (insert link to strategy section). Furthermore, the introduction of technology does not make the political aspects around management of the sector redundant nor does it mean that processes can’t be subverted. It does though make this significantly more difficult which is why agencies commonly opt to pursue this type of reform.
The International Federation of Surveyors and World Bank (2014) warn against ‘blindly complying with top-end technological solutions and rigid regulations’. They instead advocate an approach which among other principles is based around flexibility, affordability and reliability. They list four main points which are useful to consider when assessing technology options:
Example: Karnataka, India
After the project, records could be obtained online at a cost of $0.32 at 177 land record kiosks throughout the state. Requests are provided on a first-come, first-served basis, reducing discretion and favouritism, with officials also held accountable for their actions through an electronic log of transactions. An evaluation by the Public Affairs Council in Bangalore in July 2002 found that e-government had a significant impact in terms of efficiency and reducing corruption. 66% of citizens reported having to pay a bribe when the manual system was in a use. This figure was reduced to 3% after the introduction of e-government. Other benefits of the project included reduction in the complexity of procedures: 79% of users were now able to complete a basic land transactional process by meeting only one staff member at the counter whereas in the previous system 61% of users had to meet up to four users. There was further a significant reduction in the errors made with records.
Implementing such a large-scale project was not without its challenges. The article discusses problems in implementation associated with, among other things, having to put in place kiosks in remote rural areas, illiterate farmers struggled in completing forms and the poor-quality crop survey data. This was also a project which consumed a significant amount of resources and cost. The project evaluators consider however that the advantages in terms of the efficiency of the service and the improved responsiveness for citizens justified these costs.
While technology is becoming increasing important, management of the sector is still ultimately about people. Focussing on building staff integrity in key agencies involved in land transactions is another important area for reform. Codes of conduct and professional ethics are common in many sectors and can equally have value in the land sector. There is a gradual move away from codes which are largely rule-based to creating an environment in institutions where officials can exercise judgement within certain ethical parameters. Positive incentives are more likely to lead to a more sustained change in behaviour than discipline-focussed measures (for general background on codes of conduct and ethics see U4, 2009). At the same time, there need to be clear disciplinary penalties for officials who cross ethical lines and knowledge that there will be repercussions for involvement in corruption.
Citizens need an outlet to raise concerns around abuses in the sector and to enable the authorities to identify and respond to allegations of corruption. There seem to be two main paths which reformers could take in establishing such a mechanism: 1) relying on existing state institutions, such as the office of ombudsman or the judicial system, to hear complaints 2) establishing a specific committee or unit within the land administration authority.
Both options have their pros and cons. In the former, there is a degree of separation from the land administrative authorities which might improve the independence of the mechanism. Nevertheless, in many countries where corruption is pervasive, the integrity of the court system and its capacity to respond in a timely manner to complaints cannot be assured. In the second option, there is the advantage that a specific sector unit is more likely to have the expertise to appropriately adjudicate complaints and there is more freedom for reformers to devote the resources needed for it to be effective. On the other hand, the degree of direct control from a land ministry or similar body may compromise the work of the mechanism and lead to distrust among citizens. The best solution will depend on the circumstances of your sector and the strength of the existing mechanism and capabilities available. The key point is that a grievance procedure is perceived as legitimate and is accessible to all citizens.
Transparency International (2018) provides the following additional recommendations regarding the accessibility of such a mechanism: ‘Independently of their form and channels for handling complaints, these mechanisms should be transparent, independent, accountable, accessible, safe and easy to use. It is also important to make them accessible to marginalised populations, for example, by adapting to the local context, considering cultural norms and values, level of literacy, phone coverage and social patterns, among other aspects. To elaborate appropriate culturally sensitive and context-specific responses, beneficiaries should be consulted in the design of the complaints mechanism’.
Example: Grievance mechanism in Lahore, Pakistan
Sometimes major change in a sector can only begin when the scale of the problem or the most egregious abuses are laid bare to the public. A well-researched investigative story can mobilise and bring together supporters for reform. The land sector in particular can benefit from investigative journalism as many of the abuses may be out of the public eye and affect vulnerable communities which do not have the means to make their voices heard.
For those working in this area, we would recommend a training manual for journalists prepared by Transparency International (2017) which focuses specifically on investigations in the land sector. The manual covers methodologies for investigation, case studies and different resources for research, structured over a three-day training course. The manual primarily speaks to the problem in sub-Saharan Africa, but the principles behind the investigative methodology presented could be applied elsewhere.
Some further tips and examples can be found in Transparency International’s resource book of women, corruption and land (2018, b.). The publication points to different forms of media, such as digital platforms for reporting corruption, participatory video and community radio, which can serve to highlight the harmful consequences of corruption in the land sector for women’s livelihoods. Examples of investigations and projects undertaken by women are available throughout this resource book.
As the discussion so far has shown, companies are one of the key actors involved in the corruption issues present in the land sector. We see there being three main groups of actions which responsible companies can take:
More detailed information on compliance programmes can be found in our review of the private sector (click here). In some jurisdictions it has become mandatory for some or all companies to have a compliance programme. This could be something to consider for companies involved in certain types of transactions in the land sector.
Bringing together many of the anti-corruption interventions described so far in this review are the particular corruption issues stemming from large-scale land acquisitions, sometimes called ‘land grabbing’. As large-scale acquisitions often involve external companies and investors, anti-corruption measures need to have sufficient reach to be able to influence corporate behaviour. This may therefore entail a combination of domestic measures as well as supervision in the home countries of companies and/or their investors. The emphasis should be on encouraging responsible investment through appropriate due diligence and transparency around investments made with clear penalties for non-compliance. Countries have sometimes found it effective to work with other governments and regulators if their domestic enforcement mechanisms are weaker.
The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable and Global Witness report (2016) previously cited, Tainted Lands, presents a number of recommendations which cover the different actors involved in these processes. These recommendations are grouped according to their different target audiences and are summarised below for reference.
Corporate Accountability Roundtable and Global Witness report (2016) Tainted Lands
Two research papers published by the Transparency International U4 Helpdesk (U4, 2013, 2016) focus specifically on the role that donors can have in supporting anti-corruption measures in the land sector. Clearly donors can provide financial support to reform programmes and the examples in practice section (click here) includes donor-backed projects in Karnataka, India and Rwanda. U4 additionally identifies the following areas where donors can focus their attention:
The possibility of an international land transparency initiative, similar in scope to existing industry initiatives such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST) or the Making the Forest Sector Transparent (MFST) programme, has been previously considered for the land sector but to date has not been launched.
These initiatives work on the basis of voluntary participation by countries who commit to ensuring certain standards of transparency of data relating to the governance and management of the sector. Existing initiatives have been praised for promoting and consolidating norms of transparency in sectors often thought resistant to open practices. However, it is important to acknowledge their limits in the sense that transparency does not guarantee better practice in the absence of good quality information and the capability to scrutinise it. Whether these initiatives can drive actual changes in behaviour and lower corruption is a matter which is more open to debate.
The Overseas Development Institute (2013) considered the possible shape of a land transparency initiative, drawing lessons from existing initiatives. They see three main ways in which such an initiative can contribute to change in the sector: providing information, strengthening civil society engagement and building an institutional framework for better governance. They take five main lessons from the existing industry initiatives cited:
Discussion on an international measure appears to have stalled. It is certainly a measure which merits further debate and there is a potential coordinating role here for donors concerned about these issues.
Political & Tactical Approaches - Guidance summary
This is the political, judgemental, tactical part of the strategy formulation exercise. It starts with how to shape the overall approach. Would it be most effective to mainstream the anti-corruption improvements within a larger improvement initiative? Or to adopt an incremental approach, keeping the anti-corruption measures below the political radar? Or tackle just one vital aspect of the corruption problem so as to concentrate effort and have a visible result? Would the organisation’s output be better if the overall anti-corruption approach was framed as integrity-building, as confidence-building, or directly as confronting corruption? The actionable reform approach will be more political, more contextual and more time-bound than individual measures; how to build support, how to spread the benefits, how to bring opponents on board or how to outflank them.
We suggest that you – in collaboration with those who might also own the reforms with you – start out by examining these eight possible approaches: Broad approach; Narrow approach; Low-profile approach; Rapid & radical approach; Signature-issue approach; Bundling approach; Keeping-up-hope approach.
Issues to consider include:
You can read more guidance on Political & Tactical Approaches here.
However, other than the reform examples quoted above and the case below, we have not been able to find any examples of sector-wide strategies for land reform.
Transnational initiatives - Guidance summary
Review what international sector efforts are active in tackling corruption in your sector. They may be sources of knowledge, ideas, support and assistance in the development of your initiative. Sector-specific organisations include:
Non-sector-specific organisations also have sector knowledge. These include:
Responsible land management is a topic that has received a substantial amount of recent attention and is high on the international development agenda. Sometimes the guidance available has an explicit focus on targeting corruption and at other times it is part of a broader set of recommendations concerning land governance. The most prominent transnational organisations which have released relevant guidance for this review are:
And there are two established international frameworks:
The Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security. Adopted in 2012, this is the most recognised international standard on land governance. The guidelines cover the full spectrum of governance issues in the sector, from legal recognition and allocation of tenure rights to administration of tenure and responses to climate change and emergencies.
There also a number of direct references to countering corruption, chiefly article 6.9 which notes that: ‘States and non-state actors should endeavour to prevent corruption with regard to tenure rights. States should do so particularly through consultation and participation, rule of law, transparency and accountability. States should adopt and enforce anti-corruption measures including applying checks and balances, limiting the arbitrary use of power, addressing conflicts of interest and adopting clear rules and regulations. States should provide for the administrative and/or judicial review of decisions of implementing agencies. Staff working on the administration of tenure should be held accountable for their actions. They should be provided with the means of conducting their duties effectively. They should be protected against interference in their duties and from retaliation for reporting acts of corruption’.
The World Bank Land Governance Assessment Framework similarly provides a broad set of standards against which to assess governance of a land sector. It is constructed around nine categories of indicators which are scored by assessors and can be used to identify gaps in a country’s land governance framework. Scorecards are available here.
Contacting others really helps because corruption is a tough problem, with no ‘manual’ of how to go about tackling it. It is not just a ‘nice thing’ to do.
We find that others working in their sector round the world – whether it be a very public sector like health or a more private sector one like telecommunications – are open to being contacted and happy to respond. People everywhere really hate corruption, and this is why you’ll find lots of support for your reform ideas.
Professionals in each sector know that much of the corruption reform available guidance is generic, in reports or in the form of technical advice from institutions. They’ll be happy to get down to sector level actions, where the real impact of corruption issues is usually seen.
Here’s what we suggest:
Contacting others also has a second benefit. Most of us who are involved in efforts against corruption, whatever their country or sector, are nervous of whether our anti-corruption ideas are plausible. Officials are aware they have no deep knowledge of how to tackle corruption and have less time to spend on this than they would like; so they are lacking in confidence. The best way to gain confidence is to talk with other people who also understand the problems in your sector.
If you are new to this topic, we recommend that after reading this review you read the following publications:
Links to these publications and all other sources cited in the review can be found in the bibliography.
The websites below also contain some useful research tools and guidance documents which could help your work:
Land review: Full bibliography
Akingbade A, Navarra D, Georgiadou Y and Zevenbergen A (2012) A case study of geo-ICT for e-government in Nigeria: does computerisation reduce corruption in the provision of land administration services?, Survey Review, 44: 327
Bhatnaga S and Chawla R (2004) Online delivery of land titles to rural farmers in Karnataka, India. Available here: http://web.worldbank.org/archive/website00819C/WEB/PDF/INDIA_BH.PDF
Bujko M, Fischer C, Krieger T and Meierrieks D (2016) How institutions shape land deals: the role of corruption, Homo Oeconomicus, Vol. 33, Issue 3
Caruana-Galizia and Caruana-Galizia, M (2017) Political land corruption: evidence from Malta – the European Union’s smallest member state, Journal of Public Policy
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