FOR the first time the iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB) made a presentation at the World Bank 17th Annual Conference on Land and Poverty, Washington DC, on Tuesday 15th March 2016.
Representing TLTB was the Deputy General Manager Operations, Research & Development (DGMORD) Mr Solo Nata with academia and practitioners from a wide range of professions including land management, economic, science, policy makers, professors, environmentalist, geospatial, IT, planners, engineers, project developers, nutritionist, surveyors, valuers and lobbyist.
Mr Nata said it was quite an experience to present to the representatives of 123 countries and was a special moment for TLTB being a newcomer on the stage. He thanked TLTB for the opportunity that has paved the way for others within the Board to attend.
The statement by the chief guest speaker, Paul Romer, Professor of Economics, New York University, ‘let them come and they will built it’ in reference to the inception of New York City in the 18th century generated a lot of discussion.
Climate change was the main topic in the agenda where it was projected that crop production globally will drop by 50% by 2030 if global temperature continues to rise; albeit the 20 Celsius bar committed by the COP 21 in Paris. It was also projected that an estimated 0.5 million newborn every day.
Mr Nata said that Fiji was quite fortunate compared to third-world countries and credits goes to the early colonial governors in recognising customary land ownership (formation of the then Native land Trust Board).
His presentation generated a lot of questions on TLTB as “a model for land management services in a customary land ownership system”. Special attention was also given to the new online lease application and payment system.
Like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank is known for its position in calling for more access to land and viewed customary ownership as an impediment to socio-economic growth and prosperity.
Mr Nata said the presentation was a bold challenge to the world that customary land ownership system provides security and prosperity in Fiji and “the TLTB model” was a success.