Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Building land tenure systems: The political, legal, and institutional struggles of Timor-Leste

Bernardo Almeida will give a webinar on Building land tenure systems in Timor-Leste on February 18, 2021, from 15.30 - 17.00. This webinar is organised by the KITLV.

Photograph taken by Bernardo Almeida

Land tenure issues in Timor-Leste are complex and deeply shaped by the nation’s history. In this presentation Bernardo Almeida will summarize the main findings of his PhD thesis where he, taking an insider’s perspective, studies the development of the Timorese formal land tenure system from independence in 2002 to 2018. Bernardo will show how political, legal, and administrative decisions on land administration are made, what and who influences them, which problems and dilemmas politicians and state officials face, and how the formal land tenure system works in practice. This findings are based on the investigation of five analytical themes: political environment, lawmaking, legal framework, institutional framework, and social relationships and practices. The result is a portrait of a young nation grappling with the enormous task of creating a land tenure system that can address the needs of its citizens in the wake of centuries of socio-political tumult and huge fluctuations in resources, while seeking to find its place on the world stage as a new nation.


Bernardo Almeida is a post-doctoral researcher and lecturer at the Van Vollenhoven Institute, Leiden University, who focuses on land, law, lawmaking and development. Bernardo has a background in law, and started his professional career as a lawyer in Portugal. He then moved to Timor-Leste in 2009, first as a property rights lecturer at the National University, and later as a Ministry of Justice legal advisor for the land sector, responsible for legal drafting and analysis (2010-2014). Between 2015 and 2020 Bernardo wrote his PhD thesis at the Van Vollenhoven Institute, while working as an academic researcher, lecturer, consultant and trainer on projects in Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, Mozambique, Angola, and Laos.


Ward Berenschot (KITLV)
Santy Kouwagam (VVI, Leiden University)


This webinar is organised by the KITLV (Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies). 

Registration is required. Please register if you wish to join this webinar by sending an email to: kitlv@kitlv.nl. You will receive an invitation to participate in a Zoom meeting by email.

More information

This website uses cookies.  More information.