7 Feb 2007

Pilot project to register customary land in Solomon Islands could be extended

4:39 pm on 7 February 2007

A pilot project to register customary land in Solomon Islands will be extended to other areas if the initial plans are successful.

The Permanent Secretary of Lands, Charles Viva, says the surveying of customary land in Auluta, East Malaita will begin mid-month.

He says 23 tribal groups have reached a consensus on the boundaries marking their land and once it is registered, it can be acquired by the Lands Commissioner for development.

Mr Viva says the acquisition is necessary until the Tribal and Customary Land Titles Act is passed by parliament.

The permanent secretary says up to then, a deed will be signed so landowners can reclaim their land.

"In fact, this legislation is put in place to ensure security of customary land so there is no anticipation of further alienating land from the landowners. It's actually trying to empower them so that they will become registered owner of their own land."

Mr Viva says if this pilot project is successful, they may look to other areas in Western Province and Choiseul to survey and register.