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Timor-Leste

Timor-Leste

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Most of the population in Timor-Leste lives in rural areas, 86% of which is poor. More than 50% of land is forested, and mineral resources, in particular hydrocarbons, are the primary source of income in Timor-Leste, while agriculture accounts for about 32% of the total GDP.

The Constitution of Timor-Leste recognizes equal rights between men and women, the right to private property for national citizens and the right to just compensation in case of expropriation by the government. It also recognizes customary rights, as long as they do not contradict the constitution or formal laws. Ministerial Regulation No.229/2008 sets the basis for land claims data collection and is considered the first step for the development of a comprehensive land law and policy.

The primary reasons for land disputes in Timor-Leste are represented by intra-family or inheritance disputes, expropriation of land by government, claims for land use and conflicting interest for the same parcel of land. Customary authorities generally deal with land disputes, although the lack of a formal procedures for resolving conflicts remain an open issue. 

Source of the narrative

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Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF)

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    Legend
    • Very Good Practice
    • Good Practice
    • Weak Practice
    • Very Weak Practice
    • Missing Value

    Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure

    Legend: National laws adoption of the VGGT principle
    • Fully adopt
    • Partially adopt
    • Not adopted
    • Missing Value

    Note: The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (The VGGTs) were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in 2012.

    The "VGGT indicators" dataset has been created by Nicholas K. Tagliarino, PhD Candidate at the University of Groningen. The indicators of this dataset assess national laws against Section 16 of the VGGT standards on expropriation, compensation, and resettlement.

    Each indicator relates to a principle established in the VGGTs.

    Answering the questions posed by these indicators entails analyzing a broad range of national-level laws, including national constitutions, land acquisition acts, land acts, community land acts, agricultural land acts, land use regulations, and some court decisions.

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    Property Rights and Resource Governance Country Profile: Timor-Leste

    This resource is a USAID land tenure country profile that provides information on fundamental land tenure issues, including tenure types, legal frameworks, and land administration and institutions. This country profile is divided into the following sections: Summary/overview, Land, Freshwater, Trees and Forests, Minerals, and Data Sources.

    Resource information

    December 2012