Land Portal Foundation Newsletter: November 2016

Message from the Land Portal Coordinator

Over the past few months, the Land Portal Foundation has made significant progress towards becoming a leading online resource for information, data and knowledge exchange on land governance issues. We are systematically working towards creating an effective information ecosystem that serves the entire land governance community. The Land Portal team has worked tirelessly to create an impressive set of tools, to develop a global standard for land data and information and to build capacity among local and global partners.
With regard to tools, we launched the Land Book Dynamic Country Portfolios for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam in September. Our local partner, Open Development Mekong, enriched these portfolios with detailed narratives on land governance issues affecting each country. These portfolios provide unprecedented access to land-related information from global datasets. Recently, we launched three new Thematic Portfolios on Indigenous & Community Land Rights, Forest Tenure and Land & Gender. These Thematic Portfolios include narratives that were developed in partnership with the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), and the Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights respectively. These three Thematic Portfolios are the first in a series, and we plan to launch several new Thematic Portfolios in the near future.

Regarding the standardization of land data and information, we made significant progress towards developing a standardized vocabulary on land governance called LandVoc - the Linked Land Governance Thesaurus. We believe LandVoc is crucial for the interoperability of land-related websites and databases and providing the basis for shifting the paradigm of the land governance community towards open data. To further investigate the connections between open data and land governance, we held a very successful online discussion in September on open data and land governance in partnership with the Cadasta Foundation.
In terms of partnerships for information sharing, we built upon our successful experience in the Mekong region to establish local partnerships in Latin America, including with Habitat for Humanity International’s Latin American division, Sula Batsu, an organization focused on gender issues, and IPDRS, an institute focused on rural development in South America. We now have our sights set on establishing partnerships in Africa and other regions to broaden our impact and expand the information ecosystem. At the FAO Committee on Food Security (CFS) in October, we organized an official side event, showcasing the full range of our partnerships, from farmers’ organizations to global networks.

At the Habitat III Conference in Quito in October, we held an international training on linked open data together with Habitat for Humanity, which is the first in a series of open data trainings we plan to organize in the future. This workshop was part of the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) Action program the Land Portal is part of. 

We are also partnering with many organizations on a global level - for data, for information exchange, and likewise for capacity building. With the Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG), we are building the M-LIKE:  Mekong – Land Information, Knowledge and Engagement Platform as a sub-site on the Land Portal, organizing online discussions and collaborating on the organization of a linked open data training early next year in Myanmar.
Land Portal has also become a useful media service for several organizations. This year alone we have served as a media partner for the World Forum on Access to Land in April, the First Mekong Region Land Forum in June, and the GODAN Summit in September. Through using the Land Portal and social media, we are significantly increasing the global visibility of these events.
Since 2012, we have organized our work around our three core products – the Land Book, the Land Debate, and the Land Library. As we move towards a new strategy, we are developing core “pillars” to provide the best services possible to the land governance community, including an improved land data ecosystem that tracks the progress of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGTs).

Now that the Land Portal Foundation has successfully transitioned into an independent entity, we are looking to enhance our current Board with three additional committed and motivated individuals. We hope these individuals will have experience and interest in working on land-related issues, open data and knowledge platforms, and information and communication technologies (ICT) for development. We strongly encourage qualified candidates to apply.
All of these developments would not be possible without the financial support of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) as part of the Land: Enhancing Governance for Economic Development (LEGEND) program. We are grateful for the generosity of the British people.
On behalf of the Land Portal team, I would like to offer a special thanks to all supporters and users of the Land Portal from around the world. We know from our analytics that more than 40% of you are from the Global South. Your engagement is the very foundation of our existence. We hope to continue serving your needs and engaging you in the future.
Laura Meggiolaro
Coordinator, Land Portal Foundation

The Rethinking Expropriation Law initiative is hosting a conference on land valuation and fair compensation in Cape Town, South Africa from December 7-9, 2016 with the goal of developing a protocol on fair compensation in cases of legitimate land tenure changes. The protocol on fair compensation would provide objective guidance or “best practices” for valuing land and compensating landholders affected by expropriations and other legitimate land tenure changes. 

In connection with this conference and in collaboration with the Rethinking Expropriation Law initiative, the Land Portal is holding a Debate on land valuation and fair compensation from November 28 - December 16, 2016. For more information on this debate and the protocol on fair compensation, visit:
Land Portal CFS Side Event: Increasing Food Security Through Transparency in Land Governance

At the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation’s annual Committee on Food Security (CFS), the Land Portal held an official side event on Wednesday, October 19th, with an excellent lineup of speakers, including Laura Meggiolaro, Land Portal Coordinator, a video message by Jun Virola, Asian Farmers Association (AFA), Oumar Sylla, Unit Leader of the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN), Frits van der Wal, Senior Policy Advisor –, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Julian Quan, Team Leader for the DFID - LEGEND Land Support Team, Astrid Zweynert, Head of Digital News/at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Auxtin Ortiz Etxeberria, Director of the World Rural Forum (WRF) and Ana Barbosa, Executive Secretary of the CPLP. Demonstrating a great diversity of intitiatives and experiences, the speakers showed how open data, improved accountability in large scale land transactions and secure land tenure and property rights are a necessary conditions for achieving food security and better nutrition.

Land Portal’s New Thematic Portfolios are a “Go-To” Destination for Information on Land

By Nicholas Tagliarino, Research Analyst, Land Portal Foundation

Looking for easy access to online information, data, news, and other materials on land? Want to learn more about indigenous and community land rights, women’s land rights, and forest tenure? Tired of information on land being inaccessible or scattered across various websites and databases? Land Portal now serves your needs.

The Land Portal launched three new Land Book thematic portfolios: Indigenous & Community Land Rights, Forest Tenure, and Land & Gender. These portfolios enable users to easily access and utilize a broad range of relevant data, primary and secondary literature, news articles, online discussions, and events. These portfolios provide users with a better alternative to sifting through countless search results on Google, many of which may be unrelated to the topic of interest. By linking and categorizing a wealth of land-related information, Land Portal’s new thematic portfolios are a “one-stop shop” for researchers, activists, journalists, civil societies, and other stakeholders engaged in land governance issues.

Read the full blog.

International Training on Open and Collaborative Platforms for Responsible Land Governance at Habitat III

Leon Verstappen, Chair of the Land Portal, Lisette Meij, our Administrative Officer and Librarian and Carlos Tejo Alonso, Data Officer, represented the Land Portal at Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador, from October 16-21 to promote the role of open data and transparent land governance in poverty alleviation, food security, environmental sustainability and advancing women’s empowerment worldwide. 

The Land Portal Foundation and Habitat for Humanity International, in partnership with the Global Land Tool Network and the Cadasta Foundation, organized an International Training on Open and Collaborative Platforms for Responsible Land Governance during Habitat III on 16 October in the context of GODAN Action in a joint effort to facilitate access to open knowledge and information on land governance and land use.

This training brought together policy makers, researchers, development professionals, as well as representatives from grassroots organizations and civil society, to introduce of the concepts of open data,  metadata and controlled vocabularies, and explore the diverse opportunities created by taking an open approach.

Call for Board Members

The Land Portal is looking to complement its current board with three additional members. We are looking for expressions of interest from committed and motivated individuals with experience and interest in land issues, open data and open knowledge, ICT for Development. Those with a diverse background, expertise and a disposition towards innovation and social change are encouraged to apply.
Board members are responsible for supporting the ongoing development and innovation of the Land Portal, as well as to network and promote the Land Portal within existing land, open knowledge and grassroots ICTD communities, and also to link the Land Portal with potential donors and to build the long-term financial sustainability of the Foundation.

Visit the Land Portal for complete details.

The deadline for applications is December 20, 2016.

Media Partnership for the  First Mekong Region Land Forum

Building upon the success of the World Forum on Access to Land, the Land Portal served as a media partner for the First Mekong Region Land Forum for Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG).The Land Portal promoted the event widely, and keynote speakers Philip Hirsch, Professor of Human Geography in the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney wrote the blog 'Is land governance a regional issue?' for the Land Portal, while Duncan Pruett, Program Policy Advisor for Oxfam in Myanmar, wrote 'How far have we got since the great land rights debates five years ago?'. Numerous participants were interviewed, with the videos on ​Youtube ​, created many ‘sharegraphics’ of speakers with quotes along with the Land Portal and MRLG logos, and posted information on Facebook and Twitter throughout the event, using photos we took. Additionally,​ Storify​ stories consolidated the social media efforts made by the Land Portal team. Complete coverage of the event is available on the​ ​Land Portal​. 

The Land Portal as Media Partner for the GODAN Summit

The Land Portal acted as a media partner for GODAN Summit, which took place in New York from  September 15-16. Neil Sorensen and Lisette Meij represented the Land Portal, promoting the conference extensively via social media with share graphics and video interviews on YouTube.  Interviews include a range of key stakeholders, including Mark Holderness, Executive Secretary of the Global Forum on Agriculture Research (GFAR), Jeni Tennison, the CEO of the Open Data Intsitute, Willy Bett, the Kenyan Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, among others. The Land Portal also had the opportunity to have a booth and demonstrate the Land Book Country Portfolios

New Member of the Land Portal Foundation Team

Nicholas Tagliarino, Research Analyst
Nicholas joined the Land Portal in September 2016 as a Research Analyst. Previously, he worked at the World Resources Institute (WRI), an environmental think tank in Washington D.C. At WRI, he assessed the land tenure security of indigenous and community lands for LandMark, a global platform of community lands. He also examined and wrote about expropriation laws and practices as well as environmental regulatory frameworks for WRI's The Access Initiative. In 2012-2013, Nicholas worked for the Law Reform Commission of Liberia in Monrovia and Oxfam India in New Delhi, where he conducted legal research related to land tenure, local governance, and other issues. He has a Economics and Political Studies from Pitzer College and Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) from Indiana University Maurer School of Law. Currently, he is pursuing at PhD at the University of Groningen Faculty of Law. His dissertation will focus on whether national expropriation, compensation, and resettlement laws in developing countries are adopting international standards designed to secure tenure rights and ensure responsible land governance.
Tutorial for using Land Portal Country Portfolios 
Discover the New Land Portal Thematic Portfolios 
The Land Portal is supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) as part of the Land: Enhancing Governance for Economic Development (LEGEND) program, which is a DFID global program designed to mobilize knowledge and capacity for design and delivery of new country programs, improve land governance as an essential and inclusive basis for economic development, and strengthen land and property rights at scale.
Copyright © 2016 Land Portal Foundation, All rights reserved.

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