U.S. Government takes Sri Lankan officials on
land study tour to Timor-Leste

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is taking 13 government officials from central and provincial ministries on a 7-day study tour to learn how land ownership issues are being resolved in Timor-Leste (also known as East Timor), a country recovering from conflict.

USAID, the development agency of the U.S. Embassy, supports efforts to address land ownership issues in areas of Sri Lanka affected by the conflict.  This study tour will focus on land tenure issues in a post-conflict environment and highlight issues of ownership security and occupation of land by non-original owners.  Sri Lankan officials will meet with Timorese government authorities, development workers and community leaders, and will participate in site visits to local areas to gain many perspectives on the issue.

Rebecca Cohn, USAID Mission Director, said, "USAID is sponsoring this study tour to introduce Sri Lankan officials to some of the issues they will face as they work to address land ownership and tenure in the North and the East.  Land ownership issues in areas affected by the conflict will be difficult to resolve, but stability and prosperity will depend on policies and practices that are fair and just.  We hope that Sri Lankan officials will come back with some new ideas and best practices that they can use to develop policies that meet the needs of all Sri Lankans."

USAID invited government entities involved with land ownership issues to select representatives to participate in the Land Study Tour.  Participants include land commissioners from the North and East, provincial council officials, justice sector representatives, and officials from the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Ministry of Nation Building & Estate Infrastructure Development.

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