Each month, Innovations for Successful Societies publishes an email newsletter, highlighting recently-published case studies and related interviews. To learn more about how local leaders around the globe are generating and implementing effective reforms, sign up to receive our newsletter.


March 2017

Mozambique Puts Rural Communities on the Map

Without any official recognition of their property rights many of Mozambique's rural communities risked losing access to their lands. To address the problem, a group of donors established the Community Land Initiative (iniciativa para Terras Comunitárias, or iTC), a program to help communities register parcels in the government cadastre and negotiate with potential investors. Working alongside national and local governments as well as nongovernmental organizations, the iTC mapped communal lands, educated people about their land rights, resolved boundary disputes, and created producer associations to support budding commercial farmers. The iTC further worked with provincial cadastral offices to issue certificates that specified property boundaries. By mid 2016, the program had registered 655 communities---nearly four times the estimated 171 community registrations carried out before the iTC was established.

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Community gathering to mark DUAT certification. Photo by Xavier Lucas.

Cementing the Right of Ownership in Kyrgyzstan

In 1999, eight years after emerging from decades of Soviet domination, Kyrgyzstan launched an ambitious effort to officially recognize property ownership throughout the country and lay the groundwork for a vibrant real estate market. The government established a new land agency, known as Gosregister, to register and document property rights. Set-up as a self-supportingagency, Gosregister hired and trained staff in completely new responsibilities, established performance management structures, introduced new technologies to improve efficiency, and instituted procedures to ensure that staff did not engage in corruption. Despite political upheaval---including the overthrow of two governments in the space of five years---Gosregister steadily built its capacity and evolved into an effective land registry. By 2012, the agency had registered 92% of the country's privately held parcels, and in 2017, the World Bank's Doing Business rankings recognized its services as among the best in the world.

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Houses in the Monwabisi Park settlement outside Cape Town, South Africa.

Photo courtesy of the Cape Town Project Center at Worcester Polytechnic Institute(link is external)

Incremental Tenure in Cape Town, South Africa

Slum upgrading is a challenge for many cities in the rapidly urbanizing global south. In 2009 South Africa's second-biggest metropolis, Cape Town, partnered with a program called Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading to pilot an in situ settlement upgrade that allowed people to remain in their homes. Through an incremental tenure approach, the municipal government issued occupancy certificates that recognized residents' rights to remain on the land, protected against arbitrary eviction, and laid the groundwork for eventual access to the services enjoyed by citizens in legal housing. The pilot focused on Monwabisi Park, a community of about 25,000. After a full enumeration of land, structures, and occupants, the project helped construct a community register, issue occupancy certificates, and extend electric power throughout the area. By November 2016, the first phase of the project was complete and hundreds of residents visited the community registration office every month to update their details. With their new city-issued occupancy certificates, Monwabisi Park residents could purchase cell phone plans, register their children in schools, and receive health services. Despite continued obstacles to rezoning and extension of water and sewerage infrastructure, Monwabisi Park offered important lessons on how to improve living conditions for the very poorest citizens.

ISS Featured Interview

In April, ISS will release a series of case studies on the public management challenges associated with the 2014 West Africa Ebola Outbreak. Sadly, Hans Rosling, whose interview contributed to this series, passed away recently. During a career of public service worldwide, Rosling helped improve the lives of people affected by nutrition-linked diseases and contain infectious disease outbreaks.Together with his son, Rosling, an advocate for evidence-based policy, developed Gapminder, an online tool for visualizing policy data.

Upcoming Event: Innovations in Property Rights and Land Administration (link is external)

May 31-June 1, 2017
Washington, D.C.
Marking the launch of our new series of case studies about innovative practices and technologies in the land sector, we're hosting a two-day workshop to highlight key lessons and provoke thinking about implications for tenure security around the world. Co-sponsored by the Omidyar Network and New America Foundation, the event will feature insights from reform leaders, critical discussion with experts, and sessions focused on property rights case development and teaching. Sign up here to receive more details.

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Innovations for Successful Societies (ISS) is a joint program of Princeton University's
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs 
and the Bobst Center for Peace & Justice.

ISS Monthly Newsletter Archive

February 2017: Brazil Anti Corruption

January 2017: Property Rights & Land Administration

December 2016: Reconciling the Impossible: South Africa's Government of Unity

November 2016: The Ongoing Drive for Sustainable Cattle Ranching in Brazil

October 2016: Managing Tense Elections

September 2016: Indonesia's 2014 Presidential Transition

August 2016: Reforming Brazil's Military

July 2016: Graduates to Government: The President's Young Professionals Program In Liberia

June 2016: Delivering on Presidential Goals in the Dominican Republic

May 2016: Pockets of Effectiveness in Senegal and Indonesia

April 2016: Evaluation in Benin & Croatia Defense Reform

March 2016: Powersharing in Tunisia and Kenya

February 2016: Morocco Water, Tunisia Microfinance

January 2016: Mexico Veracruz and Ghana Presidential Transition

December 2015: Peru and Kenya Judiciaries

November 2015: Protecting Forests, Mitigating Climate Change

October 2015: Open Government Partnership

September 2015: Mexico's Presidential Transition

August 2015 Indonesia Military

July 2015: Kenya 2030 Strategy

June 2015: Calderon's Prexidency in Mexico, Anti Corruption in Luthuania

 May 2015: Bihar India Modernizing Systems to Improve Service Delivery

 April 2015: Two New Case Studies on the Philippines

 March 2015: Monitoring Kosovo's Courts 

 February 2015: Pakistan's Citizen Feedback Monitoring Program

 January 2015: ISS Announces a New Online Course

 January 2015: Reducing Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon 

December 2014: Lagos State and Vietnam: Promoting Reform at the Local Level 

November 2014: Political Transitions in Chile

October 2014: Tunisian Elections

 September 2014: Strategy Development in Serbia and Estonia

 August 2014: Strategy Development in Malayasia

 July 2014: Effective Reforms in Brazil

June 2014: Public Sector Innovation in Mexico

May 2014: Short-Route Accountability in Afghanistan

April 2014: Elections in India

March 2014: Transforming Citizen Services

February 2014: Short-Route Accountability in Indonesia & the Philippines

January 2014: Anti-Corruption Agencies

December 2013: South Africa's Transition to a Non-Racial Democracy

November 2013: Reform Leaders on Effective and Accountable Civil Service

October 2013: Improving Policy Management and Service Delivery

September 2013: Combatting Corruption and Mediating Election Conflict

 August 2013: Improving Service Delivery and Reducing Election Violence 

July 2013: Increasing Accountability and Efficiency in Civil Service

June 2013: Government Delivery Units

May 2013: Anti-Corruption Commissions

April 2013: Election Reforms in Zambia and other Countries

March 2013: Civil Service Reforms in Brazil

February 2013: Infrastructure Projects, Government Investments and Obstacles

 January 2013: Anti-Corruption Efforts in the Baltics and Nigerian Elections

December 2012: Reforming City Management in Palmero and Johannesburg

November 2012: ISS Marks 100 Case Studies

October 2012: Kenya Open Data and the Rapid Results Approach

September 2012: Cabinet Reform and Anti-Corruption Agencies

August 2012: City Management in Bangalore and Rapid Results in Madagascar

July 2012: Indonesian and Georgian Reforms

June 2012: Revenue Collection in Liberia

May 2012: Center of Government in the Batics

April 2012: Indonesian Accountability and Nigerian Electoral Reform

March 2012: Improving Government Accountability, Leading Reform

Spring 2012 Newsletter

Summer 2012 Newsletter