In a USAID IMPACTblog post last week, Bureau of Economic Growth, Education and Environment Assistant Administrator Eric Postel shared his observations from a recent trip to South America. While in Cartegena, he heard about the Government of Colombia’s efforts – with the support of USAID’s technical assistance programs – to restitute land, formalize property and implement rural development as the country emerges from a long-running internal conflict. The Government of Colombia intends to resolve 360,000 land restitution cases in the next ten years, which would restore rightful ownership of land to many of Colombia’s 3.9 million officially-registered Internally Displaced Persons. In addition to its land restitution efforts, the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is implementing an ambitious project to strengthen the land rights of smallholder farmers, indigenous, and Afro-Colombian communities by issuing formal titles guaranteeing individual and collective rights.
Postel concluded that “even modest amounts of assistance from the U.S. to the Colombian Government to support of land tenure programs help build peace and security in the country.”