Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
11-11: Formalizing Indigenous Rights in Developed Economies
Thursday, 23/Mar/2017:
1:00pm - 2:30pm

Session Chair: Luis Felipe Duchicela, World Bank, United States of America
Location: MC 8-100

ID: 180 / 11-11: 1
Individual Papers
Oral Presentation
Topics: Securing land rights for equity, sustainability and resilience
Keywords: Management of Indigenous land, Corporate institutions, Governance, Unified approaches

Management of Native Title - Australia's Next "Wicked" Problem

Raelene Webb

National Native Title Tribunal, Australia

The legal recognition of Indigenous rights in land and waters in Australia came late. Since 1992 there has been extensive debate around the attainment of native title, focussing largely on proving the existence of native title under processes set up by the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth). More than two decades on, Australia is now faced with an entirely different problem; the management of native title and responsible governance of the corporate institutions entrusted with that task by statute.

This new Indigenous corporate sector is underwritten by traditional laws and customs, but operates in a network of Anglo-Australian rules and regulations, Indigenous perspectives and internal and external stakeholder expectations. In addressing this complex and "wicked" problem, Australia would be well served by looking to the evidence based approaches to responsible land governance developed over several decades in the world of international aid and banking, and the developing world.

Drawing on these international learnings suggests that the way forward for Australia in managing native title to its fullest potential is to develop a unified framework which is both integrated and interactive, embodying partnerships between governments at all levels, native title holders, industry and the Australian community.


ID: 372 / 11-11: 2
Individual Papers
Oral Presentation
Topics: Securing land rights for equity, sustainability and resilience
Keywords: customary tenure, economic development, leasing, conservation

The Australian Northern Territory Land Rights Act – a model for the legal recognition of customary tenure, which provides a certain and fungible legal framework, facilitates economic development and local decision-making and establishes appropriate governance institutions.

Michael O'Donnell

Northern Land Council, Australia

This paper will examine the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976.

It establishes a unique form of property interest coupled with a range of institutions designed to recognize and protect Indigenous customary tenure in Australian law. It bridges the gap between customary tenure and the western tenure system.

Significantly it does this in a manner that recognizes customary tenure through the grant and registration under the Torrens system of an inalienable freehold title and provides for the grant of subsidiary interests such as leases.

This engages a long-standing international discourse concerning the role of land tenure and security of title in the relief of poverty.

The tenure has formed the basis for the creation of large protected areas (IUCN Category VI) known as Indigenous Protected Areas in Australia. This is consistent with multiple economic uses.

This paper will explore how a range of public and private indigenous controlled institutions or corporate entities have emerged to manage the traditional customary estate and will cover recent developments in national government policy concerning township leasing on Aboriginal land, the Intervention and the White Paper on Developing the North released in 2015.


ID: 765 / 11-11: 3
Individual Papers
Oral Presentation
Topics: Securing land rights for equity, sustainability and resilience
Keywords: Equity, Indigenous land rights, reconciliation, Honour of Crown

Reconciling Indigenous Lands With The Honour Of The Crown: Evidence Of Boundary Certainty & Parcel Security

Erin Tompkins, Brian Ballantyne

Surveyor General Branch, Natural Resources Canada, Canada

Circumstances are coalescing in Canada to reconcile Indigenous peoples and the Crown. The courts have set out that Indigenous lands can only be minimally impaired; that Indigenous peoples must be consulted over resource projects on abutting Crown lands; that the Honour of the Crown pervades all dealings with Indigenous lands. This is reflected in the resolution of specific land claims regarding the spatial extent, location and boundaries of parcels of Indigenous lands. Three case studies of First Nation Reserves (Mississauga First Nation, Kitselas First Nation, and Williams Lake First Nation) are evidence of successful institutional resolution - of incorrect boundaries; of incorrect location; of unauthorized encroachment. Resolution by way of acknowledgement of past grievances and recognition of land rights, as illustrated in the case studies is necessary to create equality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.


ID: 443 / 11-11: 4
Individual Papers
Oral Presentation
Topics: Academic research on land governance / rigorous impact evaluations
Keywords: Informality, Indigenous lands, socio-economic outcomes, community well-being

Measuring Informality & Its Socio-Economic Outcomes: First Nation Reserves in Canada

Ceilidh Ballantyne2, Heather MacDonald2, Brian Ballantyne1

1Surveyor General Branch, Natural Resources Canada, Canada; 2Kitsilano Institute for Informality Metrics

Informality and its socio-economic outcomes were measured on Indigenous lands in Canada (169 First Nation Reserves). Some 55% of 23,614 houses are informal. Informality has a significant negative effect on community well-being in general (t = -3.7); and on income and labour force activity in particular.