Article of the Month - September 2021

FIG e-Working Week 2021 Keynote: Making the land and property sector sustainable and resilient: Ensuring Diversity and Inclusion

Narelle Underwood, Chitra Weddikkara, Paul Olomolaiye, Victoria Stanley and Chair FIG Vice President Diane A Dumashie
Instead of a paper we would like to share with you a series of video recordings from the keynote sessions of FIG e-Working Week 2021.

In this recording that is offered to you in this "Video of the Month Series"  Narelle Underwood, Chitra Weddikkara, Paul Olomolaiye and Victoria Stanley talk with FIG Vice President Diane A Dumashie about what FIG Member Associations can do to boost equality and ensure the land and property sector is sustainable and resilient.

On Wednesday 23 June 2021, at the FIG Working Week in Amsterdam, Netherlands, a panel of land and property leaders came together to open the conversation on equality Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) They considered the opportunity that land professionals could make to improve D&I in our survey profession (land, property and natural resources) and to inspire the FIG community.

There are increasing calls to recognize and actively implement D&I.  Above all it is an imperative to attract new young professionals into our profession; to attract the best people we need to demonstrate that our sector and practices are truly diverse and we operate in inclusive business environments that respect all human differences in the widest sense.  A key part of this D& I conversation is to do more to increase the number of women in our professional world.

Objective of the session
By bringing together a panel of active industry professionals and thought leaders in D&I, they explained why we need to do more to increase the number of women in our professional world of survey and provided insightful ideas as how this may be achieved.   To listen to their experiences, vision and hear their discussions on what we can all do now to achieve better outcomes go to:

Research clearly shows that high performing organizations are diverse and inclusive (D&I).  In any work place it is important to understand and recognize the benefits that having a diverse and inclusive workforce provides. D&I is integral to developing people within organisations’, to serving clients in the best possible way, as well as to playing a leadership role in communities.

Essentially it is about valuing everyone in the organization as an individual and enabling them to be themselves and performing at their best and is defined as:

  • Diversity is about differences and individuality.  To recognize that each of us is different and that it is important to value and respect individual differences such as gender, ethnicity, nationality, age, background, education, working and thinking styles, as well as religious background, sexual orientation, ability and technical skills.
  • Inclusion is about creating an environment where differences are embraced and where all people feel, and are valued- where they can bring their differences to work each day, and where they can contribute their personal best in every encounter (Diversity in real estate- Clack & Gabler)

A resilient and high performing profession needs to attract and recruit the best people with the best talent.   This talent, has so many options to choose which profession they enter, so the Survey profession (land, property and natural resources) needs to demonstrate a truly equal D&I profession and working environment that respects all human differences. Attracting this talent will significantly contribute to the resilience of the profession and each professional’s contribution to society.

Moreover although D&I in its broadest sense is key, a large part of the resilience of our profession  needs action to improve gender balance as a key element to tackling the need for the very best talent. The closing output is an action orientated statement for FIG members to improve D& I in our professional working practices and organisations.

Diane Dumashie Vice President of FIG states:

" It was a real pleasure to host the working week plenary. This action statement aims to capture the key messages that you spoke about and to inspire FIG members in this important topic.  The conversation was a great start to the D&I conversation in the FIG network; and drafting an action orientated statement such as this may plant the seed for further discussion and connections in the upcoming and near future."

Watch and be inspired by the keynote session here:

Statement in.pdf-format (4 pages)

FIG Statement Diversity and Inclusion
Making the Survey Profession Sustainable and Resilient:
Ensuring Diversity and Inclusion
June 2021

Moving from the talk to implementation in Diversity and Inclusion practices we brought together a panel of leaders to listen to their views, experience and we gained pointers to embed D&I into our profession. These are the key message highlights

Above all to implement Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) will need purposeful planning to ensure D& I is measurably advanced in our professional practices and organisational leadership. In addition to voluntary commitments we all have an individual duty to transform our profession by our focused and widespread participation.

To build resilience into our professions;  collectively, across our unique contexts and areas of expertise, we commit to working together to

  • Center Stage the need for D& I policies in member organsiations;
  • Promote D&I by transferring the effective tools, practices and gender responsive policies;
  • Mobilize our members and partners to accelerate progress for D&I;
  • Foster and expand Women’s leadership in governance and public decision making.

This means ACTING TO

1. Promote D&I in the culture of our organisations


  • Applaud the younger generation of CEO’s coming through who are seriously looking and acting on gender and social mobility
  • Grasp the new frontiers and be bold in our actions henceforth.
  • In the context of D&I policy, there is a slow start in gender equity with the issues of pay gap. Introducing transparency to promotion, pay and reward progression is a good start to implementing change
  • Respect that there are increasingly four generations in the work place and that we will be inclusive and positively learn from each other
  • Acknowledge that there are positive discussions; but that we need to recognize this is not always so for many people. This requires us to be attentive to our employees needs
  • Observe that there has been generations of bias; but we can change this with purposeful and focussed actions

Action to:

  •  When inappropriate language/ behaviors are being used it is important for others to step in and call out the behavior.  This helps behaviors to change and must be done in the moment. The power this brings to a minority voice is considerable.
  • At last the language of equality, diversity and inclusion is being used openly, it is important to be aware that the responsibility lies with all to  ensure that our own cultures adapt
  • Take a long hard look in the mirror and ask are we diverse?   Our profession is not alone in needing to increase D&I; we can be the trailblazer leader for the professions

Key action:

  • Appoint within each organisation a dedicated person to hold the role for equality, diversity and inclusion.
  • Evidenced Paul Olomolaiye,  Pro-Vice Chancellor for Equality and Civic Engagement, University of West England a thought leader in championing D&I.

2. Pipeline of Talent

  • Acknowledge there is a continuing need to get the talent pipeline fit for the future.   The future and resilience of our profession requires much more technical diversity to adapt and lead in the ongoing development in Ai, Big Data and IoT applications
  • Consider it an imperative to outreach to primary and secondary school as a key element in the supply chain
  • Encourage employers to support entry of employees to further their university/ professional education

Action to:

  • Proactively increase diversity within the profession by opting to choose from a bigger talent pool, and
  • Develop a strategy to change the image of non-traditional education routes into the profession

Key action:

  • Develop and implement an outreach to the young in our communities
  • Evidence: Narelle Underwood Surveyor-General of NSW, Australia and ambassador for evidenced by ‘Get Kids in Surveying’

3. Promote D& I policy and professional Culture


  • Present and implement D& I gender responsive policies in the work place
  • Support the need to centre stage D& I policies in FIG member organsiations.
  • Encourage and facilitate D&I policies that are well-planned to ensure they promote positive and active change in our organisations. This can be achieved by transferring the range of effective tools and practices already available
  • Accept that cultural norms do influence how we work; but we are certain that change can happen slowly and gradually, this increases the importance of role models in all cultures/ societies.


  • Identify and support our role models drawn from diverse backgrounds; men and women, young and old, and to support them to tell their story to facilitate change
  • Start the change from our own homes, in our own communities and countries

Key action:

  • Think ‘out of the box’ to make change in our profession
  • Evidence: Chitra Weddikkara, Chartered Architect, Chartered Quantity Surveyor , pioneered a program for Women skills in construction trades in Sri Lanka

4. Place and society


  • Actively support FIG partnerships with donor agencies that relate to gender equality and societal indications such as networks and programs with GLTN, World Bank, FAO etc
  • Welcome and applaud the efforts of FIG professional standards WG 1.2 women in surveying (
  • Recognise that SDG’s really plays out across our lives; where we work, live and socialise.  Professioanally we can take Leadership on the key trends in Environment, Climate Change & Resilience
  • Foster Women- gender equlity in the land sector in particular tenure equlity


Take leadership in the

  • Land, built environment and natural resource sector by aligned with relevant SDG’s; and
  • SDG 5 that envisages achieve gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls in cities and human settlements; and
  • Especially working toward helping women secure access to and control over land, property and housing

Key Action:

  • If surveyors are enaged in any type of project it is important to recognise that there is a social obligation to ensure that the work we do in our contries is inclusive.  This obliges professionals to educate communites on land law and inform and align with SDG’s
  • Evidence: Victoria Stanley, Senior Land Administrator World Bank, USA, Steering committee partner for ‘Stand for her land’.   A program of key thematic areas critical to improving the political, social, and economic well being of women and to ensuring gender responsive urban development

What can we immediately do about this?

5. Participatory opportunities for FIG members:

Our members can:

  • Mobilize and partner to accelerate progress for D&I to build and achieve a resilient profession
  • Develop a ‘new social contract’ with our employees that fosters D& I in our organsiation
  • Build an equal, diverse and inclusive working culture
  • Focus on a well-planned approach to promote positive and active change in our organisations and leave no one behind in this thinking.

“Diversity makes sense: it is in the DNA of humanity which we can take into our organizations;
It is morally right to do so and leads to sustainable organizations.”
“D&I is the responsibility of ALL; not just the minority”


  • Chair, Diane Dumashie, FIG Vice President, Dumashie Ltd, UK/Ghana

  • Narelle Underwood, Surveyor-General of NSW, Australia

  • Chitra Weddikkara, Emeritus Professor, Chartered Architect, Chartered Quantity Surveyor, Sri Lanka

  • Paul Olomolaiye, Professor Construction Engineering and management, Vice- Chancellor for Equalities and Civic Engagement, University West England, UK

  • Victoria Stanley, Senior Land Administrator World Bank, USA

About the keynote speakers

Narelle Underwood, Surveyor-General of NSW, Australia

Narelle Underwood was appointed the 25th Surveyor-General of NSW in 2016 - the youngest person in over 200 years and the first female to hold the position.

A major role within State Government she is responsible for the leadership and regulation of the land and mining surveying profession and plays a key advocacy role in the geospatial industry. Leading a team of 70 she is responsible for delivering technical projects, policy and legislation and digital transformation. She is the president of the Board of Surveying and Spatial Information (BOSSI), Chair of the Geographical Names Board (GNB), and the NSW Surveying Taskforce Working in a profession where the average age is 52 and women account for only 3%,

Narelle is passionate about women in leadership and improving the diversity of her profession and other STEM based careers. As a Superstar of STEM and brand ambassador for the Get Kids into Survey program, she is working to increase the public visibility of women in STEM to encourage the next generation, including the promotion of surveying in schools. She is also an energetic mentor for young professionals.

Chitra Weddikkara, Dean, Colombo School of Construction Technology Colombo Srilanka

As Managing Director of Q Serve Pte Ltd .Professor Chitra Weddikkara’ contribution to the construction sector is remarkable and counts well over 40 years of experience in the design and the construction industry both in Sri Lanka and abroad.

Her professional experience encompasses fields of Architecture, Quantity Surveying, International construction Management Dispute resolution, Construction auditing, Loop hole Engineering, Risk management, value Management, Project management and Claims preparation. She also works as an Arbitrator, Adjudicator and is a member of number of Government advisory bodies in Srilanka She was also a member of National Procurement Commission.

Currently she is the Dean of the Colombo School of Construction Technology (CSCT) During her services as the Dean of the Faculty of Architecture in the University of Moratuwa she successfully established a unique identity for the Department of Building Economics of the University. Her academic direction helped earning accreditation among reputable professional bodies such as RICS, PAQS, and AIQS etc. Being widely traveled in the Europe, Americas, Australasia and the Middle Eastern countries, she is a frequent guest speaker at construction related professional venues. She has received many awards in the construction industry for her contribution in her professional services to the country & abroad. Her contribution as a woman to construction industry is worth recognizing.

Apart from the academic & professional expertise, Prof. Weddikkara is the President of Women In-Construction Forum Sri Lanka which was established as an idea of her, in order to network and discuss issues relating to the women in construction sector in Sri Lanka. The main objective is to empower women in construction of all classes from professional, trade and skilled, giving them education in such areas and to provide with opportunities for professional development, education, networking, leadership training, public service and more for the women involved in the field from skilled to unskilled.

The WIC-Forum SL, in collaboration with the Ceylon Institute of Builders and Community Concerns an NGO conducted training program in skill training to empower suburban and rural women.

Paul Olomolaiye, Pro Vice-Chancellor - Equalities and Civic Engagement at Univercity of the West of England

“I am a Professor of Construction Engineering and Management and currently  Pro Vice-Chancellor for Equalities and Civic Engagement at UWE Bristol. I Chair the Cabot Learning Federation - a Multi-Academy Trust of 21 Schools in and around Bristol, and a Non-Executive Director of Avon and Wiltshire NHS Mental Health Trust. I hold a PhD from Loughborough University in Civil Engineering and widely published with over 200 journal and conference publications and authorship of 2 major books on Construction Productivity and Stakeholder Management. I am passionate about the experiences of the more than 3000 staff and 30000 students at UWE-Bristol and our collective responsibility as a Civic University in our region and beyond. I am happily married with 3 grown-up children and active in the community in various charitable activities and organisations.”

Victoria Stanley, Senior Land Administration Specialist at World Bank

Ms. Stanley is a Senior Land Administration Specialist at the World Bank. She has worked in more than 20 countries across Africa, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Latin America. She has worked across a wide range of land issues including land reform, administration, governance and policy. She also has experience in the areas of rural and municipal development, gender analysis and inclusion, information technology, public service delivery, institutional reform, and strategic planning and budgeting.

Prior to joining the World Bank Ms. Stanley worked for several NGOs on research and development issues, and for the US Department of the Interior in administration and budgeting. Ms. Stanley has a Master of Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School for Public and International Affairs and a Bachelor of Arts from Cornell University.

Chair: Diane A Dumashie, FIG Vice President; Director Dumashie Ltd; Trustee Lionheart Benevolent Fund.

Dumashie Ltd was established to support public sector client organisations in the UK, Africa and Caribbean in complex projects involving land management, spatial planning and economic development.   Helping clients to frame those difficult conversations, Diane coordinates and delivers strategic projects that have a clear social, economic livelihood agenda linked to land. Accredited to CEDR, Diane also mediates public and privates sector disputes

UK projects involve managing land and infrastructure regeneration schemes.  Internationally Diane is an independent and innovative country project leader increasingly oriented to institutional development and training, she has undertaken consultancies for UN Habitat, World Bank, the Commonwealth Secretariat, and partnered with FAO.  An expert in the areas of African land issues her work has seen her involved with Ministries in Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania/Zanzibar and Kenya and establishing and operating a pan- African FIG Regional Capacity Development Network, working with land professionals across fourteen African countries.

A passionate ambassador of societal equitable access to land and resources, Diane has led on gender equality initiatives and land tools.  In 2012 Diane established ‘Leadership 4 Change’ dedicated to designing and facilitating participatory knowledge transfer programs to assist African professionals.

She holds a Doctorate in Land Policy Planning & Integrated Coastal Area Management; bringing together the needs of coastal communities, economic and industry users and physical dimensions