Colombia: Land and Rural Development Program

Active Project
Project Countries: Colombia
Thematic Issues: Conflict, Economic Growth, Women's Empowerment
Project Duration: 2013 to 2018
Approximate Funding: $67,500,000

The Land and Rural Development Program began in July 2013 and is a five-year task order under the Strengthening Tenure and Resource Rights Indefinite Quantity Contract. The program helps the Government of Colombia improve its ability to resolve the many complicated land issues that have plagued the country for years and that must be resolved to achieve a lasting peace.

Objectives

  1. Improved capacity of the GOC at the regional and national levels to restitute lands to victims of conflict (Restitution Component);
  2. Improved capacity of regional and national GOC institutions to formalize rural property rights and to allocate public lands (baldíos) (Formalization Component);
  3. Improved capacity of regional and national government entities to mobilize and execute public resources for rural public goods (Rural Development Component); and
  4. Improved information available and efficiently used to deliver land rights services (Information Sharing and Management Component).

After four years of intense negotiations in Havana, Cuba, between the GOC and the FARC, both parties signed a peace accord in the final months of 2016 with the intent of ending more than 50 years of civil war. Although several controversies swirled around the final terms of the agreement, they did not center on the agreement’s commitments to strengthen land tenure security and rural livelihoods, giving the program significant latitude to continue collaborating with the GOC to facilitate land restitution, strengthen smallholder land rights, and mobilize the provision of public goods and services in historically neglected rural areas—and thereby create the conditions for sustaining peace.

Expected Outcomes

  • Adapting to an ever-changing sociopolitical environment to effectively engage new government institutions and new local government authorities.
  • Defining and promoting the adoption of international best practices for implementing quick, efficient, scalable land formalization activities to ensure that citizens have secure land tenure on paper and in practice.
  • Developing methods for protecting land from being irregularly acquired and for identifying abandoned, illegally adjudicated, or stolen land, so as to create a reserve of land that can be provided to victims of conflict.
  • Accelerating the processing of restitution claims, ensuring that the interests of good-faith secondary occupants are protected, and ensuring that local governments are equipped to comply with restitution rulings.
  • Identifying and tackling constraints to efficiently move national-level government funding into rural areas to increase access of rural communities to public goods, services, and markets.
  • Identifying and proposing solutions to specific land tenure access problems faced by women and ethnic minorities.
  • Partnering across government institutions in the design, establishment, and maintenance of land-related knowledge management systems that will allow all public agencies to share information in real time, reducing the time associated with land-related transactions.
  • Strengthening coordination among USAID implementing partners in the regions where we work to maximize efficiencies and reduce the duplication of efforts.

The program works at the national level and in 57 municipalities from five focus regions: Cauca, Cesar, Meta, Montes de María, and Tolima.

For more information about the Land and Rural Development Program, visit http://ColombiaLRDP.org

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