The Bolivia Land Titling Program (BLTP) helped Bolivia’s National Agrarian Reform Institute and its Property Registry System to develop a low-cost model to title and register more than 470,000 hectares containing more than 25,000 properties. The activity improved security of property rights and to expanded individual access to land markets and the full benefits of land assets. The project developed and validated a massive low-cost titling process — the results of which are accessible on the Internet — that can be applied throughout the country. Land titling fostered by the project helps farmers receive loans and encourages them to abandon illicit crops, while strengthening government institutions at all levels.
THIRD QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
OWNERSHIP VERIFICATION AND TITLING
During the reporting period BLTP achieved several significant advances. First, President Evo Morales Ayma signed 3,088 titles of agrarian property that had completed the regularization process with BLTP support. The owners received the titles symbolically in an act that took place on August 2, 2007, Agrarian Reform Day. These titles were then registered in the office of Derechos Reales. 1,185 additional property titles will be registered and will be presented to their owners in the next quarter.
The Bolivian Government completed work on the regulations governing the new Agrarian Reform Law ( Law3545 Reconducción Comunitaria de la Reforma Agraria). The regulations shortens the time and cost of processing a land title in the entire country. The regulations incorporate three key methodologies and processes developed by BLTP in the Tropics of Cochabamba:
- “Saneamiento interno” whereby the community comes to an agreement of property boundaries both of individual land owners and of the community itself before INRA starts the task of delimiting and measuring each property
- Use of the “Without More Paperwork” (“Sin más trámite”) ownership verification procedures, which reduces the steps and processing time
- Elimination of dispute time frames when property owners agree on the ownership of a particular property. This avoids several unnecessary legal steps.
Another noteworthy change in the regularization process is the transfer of the valuation of property function, which applies to small properties and is pre-established in the Law, from the Agrarian Superintendent to INRA. This change further accelerates the process and lowers the cost of regularization by eliminating a step that could take weeks to complete.
During the reporting period BLTP also promoted several activities to counter the impact of delays in the titling process caused by bottlenecks in the President’s Office. These activities included:
- Contracting three additional judicial staff at the office of Derechos Reales in Sacaba in anticipation of the increase in registration activities during the present and upcoming periods
- Reorganizing the INRA field teams to increase efficiency and maximize resources
- Maintaining an ongoing outreach campaign to inform the communities of the status of the regularization process, to emphasize the importance of having a legally registered title, and to highlight the installation of the first integrated municipal cadastre in Villa Tunari
- Maintaining the outreach window in the INRA office in Villa Tunari that offers information in Quechua and Spanish about the process and status of each title. This is a small but strategic activity for the project.
In response to the new legislation and in order to speed up its implementation, BLTP supported INRA in the development of new instruments for ownership verification and titling to be used in field and office activities.
The products developed as a result of this collaboration include:
- Technical and juridical forms designed to gather information from the field and a manual for filling in the forms.
- A system for calculating the value of rural properties
- Templates for the production of the ownership verification final resolutions and for the adaptation of the Sistema Integrado de Saneamiento y Titulación (SIST) to the new Regulation
After these instruments were developed, BLTP supported the training of 150 INRA staff on the contents of the new law and its regulations and the use of the forms for gathering technical and juridical data. Also all the staff received copies of the new regulations.
Using these new formats, INRA personnel re-processed 150 final resolutions of ownership verification at the end of September, which should be signed by the President in the next quarter.
The project also identified coordination and relationship problems among the INRA personnel. In order to address these issues, BLTP organized a teamwork and motivation workshop (Taller de Motivación, Integración y Trabajo en Equipo) with the INRA staff, led by Vicente Delle Piane, an
experienced human resources facilitator.
Amendment Six to the contract between Chemonics International and USAID re-introduced into the contract the task of installing a municipal cadastre. Third quarter BLTP activities related to the installation of the first integrated municipal cadastre (urban – rural) in the country included:
- Supporting a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional technical team with personnel from INRA Nacional and the Viceministry of Housing and Urban Development (Viceministerio de Vivienda y Urbanismo), and the Municipality of Villa Tunari charged with developing the regulations and procedures for the transfer of information needed to develop the municipal cadastre from INRA to a municipal government
- Modifying the existing FARA with the municipality to include the incorporation of rural property information (provided by INRA) into the urban cadastre and the regularization of urban property in ten small urban centers. Training municipal and INRA personnel in the Cadastre software and management of land measuring equipment.
- Updating and improving existing geographical information. BLTP signed an agreement with F57, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, in order to obtain satellite images (IKONOS) of all of the Tropic of Cochabamba from previous years and aerial photos from September 2007 which are to be shared with the municipality and INRA.
- Organizing the Seminar on the Integrated Municipal Cadastre (Seminario sobre Catastro Integrado) in La Paz, with the participation of INRA, the Ministry of Public Works, the Ministry of Development Planning, the Vice Ministry of Land, the municipal government of Villa Tunari, the National Institute of Statistics, the Prefect of La Paz, the Agrarian Superintendent, the College of Geographic Engineers and others interested in learning about the on-going cadastre installation in Villa Tunari.
It is important to note that among the outcomes of the Seminar are an operational interinstitutional agreement between the municipality, the Vice Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, and INRA to develop and implement an information transfer system among institutions for the formation of the Cadastre, and the procedures for delimiting the urban radius of population centers. This is an agreement that transcends the municipality and has national impact.
The seminar also served to rekindle the idea of formulating a new Cadastre Law. Supporting the development of the first integrated municipal cadastre is not accidental but proposed as part of a strategy, formulated after the exhaustive study BLTP carried out in 2005 to assess the adequacy of the current legal and institutional frameworks that govern the current cadastre system in Bolivia. The basic conclusion and recommendation was that a new law should be developed from the bottom up, that is, start at the municipal level and use that experience to catalyze the revision of the current legislation.